2020 NBA Title Odds: Celtics', Lakers' Chances Jump Amid Anthony Davis Rumors

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) after an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, March 31, 2019. The Lakers won 130-102. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

Anthony Davis is such a talented player that even the mere mention of his name in trade rumors is enough to shift championship odds for the 2019-20 NBA season.

According to Caesars Palace, the Los Angeles Lakers have the second-best odds to take home the 2020 Larry O'Brien Trophy at 5-1. What's more, the Boston Celtics' odds have moved from 16-1 to 10-1:

The line changes come as rumors about Davis' future swirl.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted sources have told him and colleagues Zach Lowe, Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst that both the Lakers and Celtics are talking a potential Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

What's more, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the Lakers are willing to offer Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the No. 4 pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA draft in the trade discussions.

Wojnarowski further explained the Lakers and Pelicans have used the Purple and Gold's No. 4 overall pick as a potential lure for a third team in trade talks. However, the Celtics would not be that third team and are instead negotiating a competing package to one from their longtime rivals.

Kyrie Irving, who has a player option for the 2019-20 campaign and can leave the Celtics this offseason, is a part of Boston's motivation in the pursuit of Davis. Wojnarowski noted the team hopes to land Davis and use him to convince Irving to stay, especially now that Kevin Durant suffered a ruptured right Achilles and may not play next season.

The report cited sources who said Irving had discussed potentially playing for the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets with Durant prior to the injury.

Between Boston and Los Angeles, the Lakers appear to have much more leverage in talks with the Pelicans.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday the Lakers and Knicks were Davis' "two desired long-term destinations" with a player option for 2020-21 on his contract that would allow him to leave whatever team trades for him after a season. That means Boston would risk forfeiting significant assets to get him with the chance he could quickly leave.

What's more, Davis' agent, Rich Paul, told S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated his client would leave Boston after just one season.

"They can trade for him, but it'll be for one year," Paul said. "I mean: If the Celtics traded for Anthony Davis, we would go there and we would abide by our contractual [obligations] and we would go into free agency in 2020. I've stated that to them. But in the event that he decides to walk away and you give away assets? Don't blame Rich Paul."

It should be noted Paul is also LeBron James' agent, adding another layer to the talks between the Pelicans and Lakers.

Davis is a three-time All-NBA selection, three-time block champion, three-time All-Defensive selection and six-time All-Star. He is the type of player who can rightfully shift the championship odds, especially with the uncertainty across the league.

Durant may not play in 2019-20 and could leave the Golden State Warriors. Kawhi Leonard could leave the Toronto Raptors as well. Suddenly, the idea of betting on a James-Davis pairing in Los Angeles or a Boston team that sends out some combination of Davis, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and perhaps even Irving seems intriguing.

Even at lower odds.

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