Cavaliers, Celtics, Thunder trailing Warriors on NBA championship odds
The Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder have all made significant offseason moves in an effort to keep the Golden State Warriors from winning their third NBA championship in four seasons.
However, the odds still favor the Warriors taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the second year in a row as large -160 favorites, with a few contenders expected to challenge them.
The Cavaliers are the +450 second choice as the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs. Cleveland has lost to Golden State twice in the championship round but may have its deepest team ever with the additions of Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green and most recently Dwyane Wade. Gone is All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, but Rose and Thomas are more than capable of replacing him if they can just stay healthy.
Thomas was acquired from the Celtics for Irving, and he is not expected to return to the court until December due to a shoulder injury. Rose has not played more than 66 games since winning NBA MVP in 2011.
Boston is obviously hoping Irving will be extra motivated to knock out his former team, and the team added another offensive weapon in Gordon Hayward through free agency. Hayward became an All-Star for the first time last year for the Utah Jazz, but he departed to reunite with his college coach Brad Stevens from their days at Butler University.
The Celtics are the +800 third choice to win it all and viewed as the only legit threat to keep LeBron James from making his eighth straight NBA Finals appearance.
In the Western Conference, it is the Warriors and everyone else. But the man who put them over the top a year ago – Kevin Durant – also looks like he fueled his former team to be better than ever as well.
The Thunder have put together their own Big Three this offseason by adding Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to help out reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook through separate trades. Those moves have made Oklahoma City the +1200 co-fourth choice to win its first NBA title along with the San Antonio Spurs.