The basketball world was shaken at its foundation last night when news trickled down that 12-time All Star and two-time NBA champion, Kevin Durant, was being traded by the Brooklyn Nets to the Phoenix Suns.
An acquisition of this magnitude greatly affects the perception of the Suns organization, both from their ability to win basketball games to the impact a new owner, Mat Ishbia, has. He’s here to do business.
The other thing that is highly affected? The betting lines on DraftKings Sports Book.
"There was back and forth yesterday, and then tonight... Mat Ishbia wanted to come in and make a splash and he's done it."— ' (@_Talkin_NBA) February 9, 2023
Woj on the Nets trading Kevin Durant to the Suns came about#NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/SyGrvtys7r
The Phoenix Suns entered this season, not as title favorites, but title contenders. There were a team that won 64 games last season and made an NBA Finals appearance the year prior. They have talent, leadership, scoring, rebounding, and know how to win basketball games. They possess organic chemistry that is hard to replicate in the NBA.
Despite all of that, they entered the season as +1200 favorites to win a championship.
As time progressed, and injuries mounted for the team, that line dropped dramatically. Cameron Johnson injured his knee. Devin Booker spent January on the bench as he nursed a groin injury. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton have been in and out of the lineup. The 51.5 projected win total seemed out of reach, as too was a realistic shot at a championship.
Last week the team was +1800 to bring the first title to the Valley of the Sun. They were +800 to win the Western Conference.
And then the Kevin Durant trade occurred. In one fell swoop, the odds have swung in the Suns favor.
Suns odds to win NBA Finals:— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 9, 2023
Before KD Trade: +1800
Current: +425 pic.twitter.com/1nVRkN0Y7q
Bringing KD to Phoenix vastly improved the talent on this team. Yes, like a killer song by the Black Keys, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are Brooklyn bound. The Suns did get older with the transaction.
But it’s Kevin Durant.
He is a top-15 player of all time and an excellent scoring forward. Phoenix now has two elite scoring options, coupled with a Hall of Fame point guard and a versatile center. He might be 34-year-old, but he wasn’t slowing down prior to straining his MCL.
The Vegas oddsmakers have noticed. We have seen the Phoenix Suns championship odds move to +425.
It is of note that Durant’s former teammate Kyrie Irving did not have the same impact upon arrival with the Dallas Mavericks. The team was +3000 prior to his rival and is now +1200. Impactful, yes, but not KD impactful.
Dallas Mavericks title odds before Kyrie Irving: (+3000)— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 5, 2023
Dallas Mavericks title odds after acquiring Kyrie Irving: (+1200) pic.twitter.com/4EH9obZjDe
This goes to show you the impact that Kevin Durant is expected to have on this team and this organization. They are now the favorites to win the Western Conference at +230 as they surpassed the Denver Nuggets as the favorite. They are second best in the NBA behind the Boston Celtics.
My, what a difference a day makes. Phoenix is now in the driver seat...from a betting standpoint. The challenge now comes on the court as Phoenix attempts to back up the hype with wins on the court.
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