2021 NBA Championship Odds: Nets Betting Line Spikes After James Harden Trade

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2021

Houston Rockets' James Harden warms up prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Houston. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)
Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

The NBA landscape has shifted in a major way on Wednesday. As such, so have the betting futures. 

According to multiple reports, the Houston Rockets are trading James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a massive deal that will also send multiple first-round picks and Victor Oladipo to the Rockets, Caris LeVert to the Indiana Pacers and Jarrett Allen to the Cleveland Cavaliers, among other moving pieces:

That has shifted the Nets' title odds to +270 (bet $100 to win $270):

The rest of the NBA is still chasing LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. But the Nets definitely have some serious superstar power now. 

In Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets have a top three that has combined to win three titles, two MVPs, seven scoring titles and been named to 24 All-Star teams. Their career scoring averages add up to 74.7 points per game. Harden and Durant alone have combined to average 30 or more points in a season five times. 

That's the good news. These three players are good. Very, very good. But how will they actually play together? 

That's the complicated part. Harden famously loves to run isolation basketball, serving as a team's primary scorer and facilitator. Irving likes the ball in his hands, too, with unparalleled handles, impressive finishing around the basket and the ability to hit from range. One of these players is going to have to adjust to playing off the ball with more regularity. Which one will make the sacrifice, and will it be a willing sacrifice?

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And then there's Durant, he fit in pretty seamlessly with Golden State's team-based offense but also is one of the most dynamic one-on-one scorers in basketball. Durant worked so well in Golden State because players like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson didn't need to get their points in isolation, instead scoring easily within the offense. 

And then there's the culture fit aspect. Harden just forced his way out of Houston, throwing his teammates under the bus in the process. Irving has been out for several games for undisclosed reasons and has rubbed teammates the wrong way in the past. If the Nets don't fit together naturally, this situation could blow up.

But the Nets are all in. They are chasing titles. They have more talent than any other team in basketball now. Whether they can make it work will be among the most intriguing questions to be answered now that the deal is done. 


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