Lakers Title Odds Improve After Free Agency

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LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives against Carmelo Anthony #00 of the Portland Trail Blazers

The Los Angeles Lakers have been the most active team of the NBA offseason, and it shows in the latest betting odds. Following a first-round playoff exit, L.A. has been pegged as the overwhelming favorite in the Western Conference for the 2021-2022 season.

The Lakers lead all West teams with +370 odds to win the 2022 NBA Finals at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Golden State Warriors are a distant second with +1100 championship odds, followed by the Utah Jazz (+1200), Los Angeles Clippers (+1300) and Phoenix Suns (+1300).

The Brooklyn Nets are the overall favorites with +220 odds.  The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks have +800 odds

Shortly after the Bucks beat the Suns to win the 2021 NBA Finals, the Lakers had +600 odds to win next year’s title. Los Angeles’ title odds dramatically improved when the team overhauled its roster.

The changes started with the Lakers’ controversial decision to trade for Russell Westbrook. L.A. sent Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a first-round pick to the Washington Wizards in exchange for the point guard. Westbrook consistently puts up more impressive numbers than almost any player, but he is a questionable fit alongside stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the fourth time in five seasons. The 32-year-old led the Wizards to the playoffs, but he hasn’t reached the conference finals in five years. The Lakers are Westbrook’s fourth team in as many seasons. 

Los Angeles will have a completely new set of role players next season. The team has reportedly signed Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore and Wayne Ellington in free agency. Dwight Howard is back after a year away from the team. 

Monk, Bazemore and Ellington all made more than 40% of their three-pointers last season, giving the Lakers much-needed perimeter shooting. Anthony scored 13.2 points per game and made 40.9% of his threes coming off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dennis Schroder is no longer under contract with the Lakers and unlikely to return. Alex Caruso signed with the Chicago Bulls.

Injuries derailed the Lakers’ title defense as Davis missed the conclusion of the first round and James might’ve never fully recovered from a high ankle sprain he suffered in March. The Lakers are only 10 months removed from winning the pandemic-delayed 2020 NBA Finals.




Photo: Getty Images | Ashley Landis-Pool

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