Caesars Palace (h/t Patrick Everson of Covers) lists the Los Angeles Lakers as the title favorites at 7-2. The L.A. Clippers are right behind at 4-1, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks at 9-2. Houston is fourth on the championship odds ledger.
The Thunder have dropped to 150-1.
Houston figures to contend yet again with a dominant scoring duo of Westbrook and 2017-18 NBA MVP James Harden leading the way, and the team still has nightly double-double threat Clint Capela manning the post.
However, the Rockets will still be hard-pressed to emerge from the Western Conference. LeBron James and Anthony Davis' Lakers should be in the mix, and the 48-34 Clippers added two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and six-time All-Star Paul George.
The Western Conference finalist Portland Trail Blazers should make a postseason return, and the Utah Jazz reloaded in the offseason by adding point guard Mike Conley and wing Bojan Bogdanovic, among others.
Regardless, the move should make the Western Conference race far more competitive with numerous teams having the capability to reach and win the NBA Finals.