Busiest NBA Trade Deadline Ever Earns Shrug From Sportsbooks

Busiest NBA Trade Deadline Ever Earns Shrug From Sportsbooks

Make no mistake about it: Thursday’s NBA trade deadline was the most action-packed the league has ever seen.

And because pretty much every team made some sort of deal to improve (or in Brooklyn’s case, dismantle) its roster, there wasn’t a ton of movement on most mobile sportsbooks’ championship odds boards, save for Phoenix rising, the Nets tanking, and Russell Westbrook likely losing out on an individual award he was favored to win just last week.

Let’s start with Westbrook. On Jan. 31, he was a -125 favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year at Caesars Sportsbook, trailed by Boston guard Malcolm Brogdon (+175). A week later, this Tuesday, he was FanDuel’s second choice behind Brogdon (+160) at odds of +180, with sportsbooks responding to rumors that he’d be traded to Utah and then bought out.

Tuesday night, during a game in which LeBron James eclipsed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record, Westbrook engaged in a “heated verbal exchange” with Lakers coach Darvin Ham at halftime. The following evening, he was dealt to the Jazz in a three-team trade that sent Mike Conley to Minnesota and D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt to the Lakers.

With considerable uncertainty as to whose jersey Westbrook will wear next, his odds to win Sixth Man of the Year fattened to 16/1 at both FanDuel and Betfred on Thursday morning.

The Lakers were super busy around the deadline, also sending guard Patrick Beverley to Orlando for center Mo Bamba, among other moves, but sportsbooks were unimpressed. To wit, DraftKings had them priced at 35/1 to win the NBA title on both Jan. 31 and early this week. Right after the deadline, DraftKings moved them to 50/1.

Funds in the Suns

If you placed a futures wager on the Phoenix Suns to be the next NBA champion at DraftKings a few days ago at odds of 18/1, you’ve got to be feeling pretty great about yourself right now. Why? Because late Wednesday night, Brooklyn sent future Hall-of-Famer Kevin Durant and reserve forward T.J. Warren to the Suns in exchange for four unprotected first-round picks, as well as promising young forwards Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson. 

Jae Crowder was also included in the deal, but Brooklyn swiftly shipped him to Milwaukee for a cavalcade of second-rounders, which would become a recurring theme on Thursday.

Without doing any research, I’m going to confidently report that today has been a record breaking day in the NBA when it comes to second round picks traded in one day.

— Julian Edlow (@julianedlow) February 9, 2023

On news of the Durant trade, DraftKings shifted Phoenix’s price to win it all from 18/1 to +425, second only to the Boston Celtics (+350). As for Brooklyn, its odds to win it all went from 6/1 to 18/1 after trading Kyrie Irving to Dallas on Sunday, then climbed all the way to 80/1 after the Durant deal was announced.

This is just like that time in Muppets Take Manhattan when the Muppets, after unsuccessfully attempting to take Manhattan, split up and leave Manhattan.

— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) February 9, 2023

About that Irving deal, in which the Mavericks sent Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, a first-rounder, and two second-rounders to Brooklyn (Dallas also landed Markieff Morris): Sportsbooks shortened the Mavs’ title odds pretty dramatically afterward, but then seemed to differ a bit on how to price them after the Suns made their move.

Take Betfred, for instance. On Jan. 31, it gave Dallas 25/1 odds to win the NBA championship. On Monday, the morning after Irving became a Maverick, Dallas’ odds were dropped to 14/1. But after Durant was dealt to Phoenix, Betfred shifted Dallas’ odds right back to 25/1.

Other sportsbooks took a considerably rosier view of Dallas’ dealings, with PointsBet and FanDuel setting the Mavs’ title odds at 18/1 on Thursday and DraftKings and SuperBook Sports pricing them at 16/1.

In other moves…

Golden State and Portland were among the busier teams at the deadline, and one transaction involving both franchises was emblematic of the day’s dizzying transfer of low-level draft picks.

Golden State kicked things off by sending former No. 2 draft pick James Wiseman to Detroit, which sent Saddiq Bey to Atlanta and Kevin Knox to the Warriors — along with no less than five future second-round picks. But those picks quickly wound up in Portland, which acquired them by sending  defensive menace Gary Payton II — signed by the Blazers as a free agent this past offseason after he won a title in Golden State — back to the Warriors.

Portland also sent Josh Hart to the Knicks for Cam Reddish and a first-rounder, and it acquired Matisse Thybulle from the 76ers in a three-team deal involving Jalen McDaniels, Sri Mykhailiuk, and (you guessed it!) four second-round picks. Meanwhile, the conference-leading Celtics and Nuggets traded bench flotsam and still more draft picks to the Thunder and Lakers, respectively, for serviceable (and needed) backup centers in Mike Muscala and Thomas Bryant.

The Clippers were the most active team at the deadline (which is really saying something), pulling off a trio of deals that netted them backup point guard Bones Hyland (formerly of Denver), backup center Mason Plumlee (formerly of Charlotte), and sharpshooter Eric Gordon (formerly of Houston).

In exchange for Hyland, Denver got a pair of second-round picks (!!!) from the Clippers, while Luke Kennard got sent to Memphis, Reggie Jackson is headed to Charlotte, and Danny Green and John Wall are off to Houston. (Well, maybe not Wall, who’s now a strong buyout candidate after recently referring to his prior tenure with the Rockets as “trash.”)

And how did DraftKings react to this flurry of maneuvers? It didn’t, really. Portland is currently sitting at 150/1 odds to win it all, which is exactly where the Blazers were before the deadline, while the Clippers went from 8/1 to 9/1, the Warriors went from 12/1 to 15/1, and the Grizzlies went from 11/1 to 14/1.

At the end of the day, oddsmakers were simply so blinded by Phoenix’s all-in addition of Durant that they couldn’t see past the Suns.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Author: Ryan Gonzales