The Golden State Warriors are back atop the pinnacle of basketball after winning the NBA Championship this month, their fourth in the last eight years. If you didn’t think they were a dynasty before, well there’s no doubting it now.
With the 2021/22 season behind us, the oddsmakers are already looking toward next season, and odds on who will be lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2023 have already been made.
The Warriors will go into 2022/23 as the outright favorites, with oddsmakers offering 5/1 on them repeating next year. The Boston Celtics, who faced Golden State in the finals, are right behind at 6/1. Fans can grab odds of 13/2 on the Brooklyn Nets.
Sports gambling was legalized over there in 2018 so there are plenty of options to choose from on that front. NJ championed the battle to get betting legalized outside of Nevada and has since become one of the biggest betting locations in the US. The options continue to widen as companies keep rolling out apps therein, as well as making good offers and promotions available. Brooklyn’s position as it pertains to the odds ladder is somewhat surprising. The Nets have won just one playoff series since bringing in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Ben Simmons didn’t play last season either and is currently recovering from back surgery.
Irving’s future in Brooklyn, though, is still unclear, although the point guard is going to opt into his $37 million player option for next season.
“Irving is returning to Brooklyn, and should owner Joe Tsai and general manager Sean Marks decide to run back the big three of Durant, Irving, and Ben Simmons, the Nets will have an opportunity to compete for a championship”, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Tuesday. “However, ever since the season-ending sweep against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the playoffs without Simmons and Joe Harris and a hobbled Seth Curry, underlying issues have persisted throughout these Nets. That festered into the future of Irving and the contract discussions that ended in him deciding to return for next season, and most recently, whether Durant’s evaluation of the franchise could push him away.”
Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, and the Nets front office held extensive and productive extension discussions over the past six days, with sources on both sides describing good-faith negotiations to reach a new deal. The Nets and Shetellia Riley Irving worked through various proposals, including a two-year max extension that included incentives based on games played as well as a four-year max that included two years guaranteed and triggers for years three and four based on the games played in years one and two, sources said. Irving showed a willingness to accept an incentive-based deal before a final counter was made to the Nets, according to sources: a short-term contract extension protecting both sides with a player option. Brooklyn declined.”
It’s rumored that a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers is still possible in the wake of Irving opting in. If he stays put, the Nets will go into next season nearly on par with the Celtics on the betting front, and even ahead of them on some sportsbooks.
The Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, are at 15/2. The former defending champions would have probably won the Eastern Conference again had Khris Middleton been healthy but bowed out to the Celtics. The Miami Heat took the Celtics to seven games in the conference finals and it will be interesting to see how they retool for next season. They’re 14/1 for next year’s championship. The Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Clippers are also in the mix at the top. The Lakers, in case you’re wondering, are all the way down at 22/1, which is probably pretty generous.
The Lakers missed the playoffs altogether last season and are keeping Russell Westbrook as the guard has also opted into his $47 million player option. L.A. was unwilling to move other assets to get rid of Westbrook’s contract and have very little flexibility. However, oddsmakers can’t afford to count LeBron James, who has reached the finals on 10 occasions, out. Should he have a healthy season, another appearance is always a possibility.
There will be plenty that happens to shake the odds up before the end of the season, not least free agency, which could see some pretty significant moves.