The latest look at the 2018-19 NBA championship odds, per OddsShark, reveals that the Golden State Warriors are massive -185 favorites (bet $185 to win $100) to win it all for the fourth time in five years. The Los Angeles Lakers are next on the odds ledger at +460.
Remarkably, the Warriors, Lakers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers are the only five teams with odds better than +5000 to win the NBA Finals, and only nine total teams are listed at better than +10000.
The top of the NBA landscape could dramatically change shape depending on where San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard ends up next season, but until then, various moves are still being made during the NBA free-agency moratorium period.
Here's a look at the latest on point guard Isaiah Thomas and where he may end up going, alongside some transactions the Washington Wizards are considering. You can also find some interesting news on where DeMarcus Cousins could have landed had he not chosen Golden State.
Unrestricted free-agent guard Isaiah Thomas is looking for a new home, and that might be in Orlando, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
The Magic are in the market for a point guard, especially with Elfrid Payton departing midseason via trade. The team picked up center Mohamed Bamba and guard Melvin Frazier in the draft, but they could use a another veteran floor general to lead the way.
Incumbent point guard D.J. Augustin, who filled in as the starter for Payton after the trade, still has two years left on his contract, but the team may be best suited with Thomas running the show and Augustin coming off the bench as he has done for most of his career.
After a breakout 2016-17 season with the Boston Celtics in which he averaged 28.9 points per game, Thomas struggled last year in large part due to a hip injury that forced him to miss more than half of the season.
IT2's tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers didn't work out, and he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline. Unfortunately, his shot was off all year, as he made just 38.3 percent of his field goals (Thomas is a career 43.9 percent shooter).
However, if the 29-year-old Thomas stays healthy through the offseason and gets off on the right foot with Orlando, he could enjoy a bounceback season for a team in need of more scoring punch.
All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins agreed to a one-year deal this offseason with the Golden State Warriors, but Marc Stein of The New York Times (h/t HoopsHype) noted that a few other teams also had opportunities to have Boogie on their roster for next year.
Per Stein, Cousins' 2017 and 2018 home (the New Orleans Pelicans) were one of those teams: "League sources say that Cousins rebuffed New Orleans' offer of a two-year contract extension in the $40 million range after the injury but before the season ended. When that offer was declined, sources say, New Orleans took it off the table."
Stein also added this note about the Lakers, who reportedly "had an opportunity to sign Cousins at a one-year price point similar to the one that landed him in Golden State. But I'm told the Lakers passed, clearing the way for the Warriors to infuriate the basketball public yet again."
The Pelicans instead went after former Los Angeles Lakers big man Julius Randle, who signed a two-year, $18 million contract. That could end up being the steal of the entire free-agency period (after Cousins, of course). Randle dominated the month of March, averaging 20.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
L.A. passed on Cousins, and they might have some issues finding someone to hold down the fort in the post. Right now, it looks like a combination of the newly acquired JaVale McGee, Ivaca Zubac and first-round draft pick Mo Wagner (as a small-ball five) will be working as centers.
McGee is super-efficient on the floor (per Basketball Reference, he has a 23.9 PER since 2016-17), but he hasn't averaged more than 20 minutes per game since 2012. Zubac barely saw the floor last year, averaging just 9.5 minutes per game and regressing in most statistical categories. Still, he's a 7'1", 21-year-old center with plenty of room (and time) to develop. The 6'11" Wagner is an intriguing prospect and a beast on the boards, but he could also need some time to acclimate to the NBA.
Ultimately, while Cousins has to work his way back from a torn Achilles suffered in January that prematurely ended his 2017-18 season, in a vacuum he was clearly the best bet to hold down the fort down low (he averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game last year prior to the injury).
Gortat was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for guard Austin Rivers, and the Wizards also picked up forward Jeff Green on a one-year contract, per David Aldridge of Turner Sports.
Per Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, the Wizards may not be done adding to their roster:
The Wizards are in an awkward spot in a league where it's better to be at the bottom than anywhere near the middle. Washington is a consistent playoff contender, but it hasn't been a serious threat to the conference title. The closest the Wizards have gotten to the conference finals was reaching the seventh game of the East semis in 2017.
On paper, the additions of Rivers and Green should help fortify a bench that has been inconsistent for the past few years, although players such as Kelly Oubre Jr., Mike Scott and Ian Mahinmi stepped up at various points last season.
The addition of the ageless Jamal Crawford would be intriguing, as he could offer a steady and mature veteran presence while also providing ball-handling and outside shooting help. However, the East still looks like a race between Boston and Philadelphia for the conference title.