The Cleveland Cavaliers have reached a deal with Boston that sends perennial all-star Kyrie Irving to the Celtics in exchange for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, and Brooklyn’s unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick.
While the trade will shake up the look of the Eastern Conference, Las Vegas oddsmakers had little reaction to the news.
Prior to Tuesday night’s deal, the Westgate SuperBook had the Cavs’ 2017-18 NBA title chances at 4-1. After the Kyrie trade, the line is still at 4-1. The same goes for the Celtics, which are stagnant at 10-1 to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy despite landing the four-time all-star and 2016 NBA champion.
What did move in Las Vegas was the MVP odds.
Without Kyrie taking his fair share of shots, LeBron James’ chances of winning his fifth MVP award went from 6-1 to 5-1. No longer playing in the shadow of The King, Irving’s odds were cut in half from 50-1 to 25-1. Meanwhile, Thomas’ odds lengthened considerably from 30-1 to 100-1.
Irving requested a trade last month after informing Cleveland’s front office that he no longer wished to play alongside James.
All-Stars Leaving Town
Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas’ departures mark a busy offseason for NBA franchises and superstar players. They are the fifth and sixth all-star players to find new homes for the 2017-18 season.
Jimmy Butler has left the Chicago Bulls for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Paul George skipped Indiana for Oklahoma City, Utah’s Gordon Hayward is joining Irving in Boston, and Paul Millsap departed Atlanta for Denver.
But while there’s been plenty of activity around the country, at the books in Las Vegas, it hasn’t impacted the fact that the Golden State Warriors are the heavy favorites to repeat and claim their third NBA title in four years.
The SuperBook has the Warriors at 5-11 to win the championship, which equates to implied odds of almost 69 percent. A $100 wager returns just $45.45 should Golden State’s season go as expected.
Cavs Protect Future
The Celtics got one of the best players in the league, but at a high price. They lose the face of their franchise in Thomas, a beloved player who’s physically short stature (5’9″) hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the league’s most dominant offensive weapons.
Perhaps just as important is that Cleveland landed Brooklyn’s 2018 unrestricted draft pick that Boston held from its mega 2013 trade of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Jason Terry.
The Nets were the worst team in the NBA last year, winning just 20 games. Should they find similar difficulty in 2017-18, they’ll be a favorite for the lottery in landing the draft’s top pick. That selection, however, will now go to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Should LeBron opt to leave Cleveland for a second time after next season, the draft pick could play a vital role in determining the future of the Cavs. Not unlike what Kyrie did when Cleveland took the Duke star at the #1 pick in 2011.