Heat Land Oladipo, Celtics Get Fournier as Eastern Conference Contender Odds Shift

Jimmy Butler dribbling

The Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler walking the ball up the floor. (Photo by Schuler/Imago/Icon Sportswire)

  • The NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone, with Miami, Boston and Philadelphia making the biggest moves
  • With Victor Oladipo coming to the Heat, their odds have shortened to +2500 to win it all
  • See below for the latest odds, analysis, and our favorite bets

Now that the NBA trade deadline has passed with Kyle Lowry staying put in Toronto, it’s the Miami Heat that emerged as Thursday’s biggest movers.

Brooklyn is still the co-favorite (along with the Lakers) at +285 to win it all. Neither teams’ odds changed after 3:00 pm ET Thursday in the 2021 NBA Championship odds. But Miami’s went from +3400 to +2500.

Eastern Conference Post-Deadline Championship Odds

Team Odds on 3/24 Odds on 3/25
Brooklyn Nets +285 +285
Milwaukee Bucks +700 +700
Philadelphia 76ers +1200 +1100
Boston Celtics +3000 +3300
Miami Heat +3400 +2500
Toronto Raptors +5000 +6000

Odds as of March 25 at DraftKings.

Heating Up

Let’s assess what exactly Miami is getting in the soon-to-be 29-year-old and two-time All-Star in Oladipo First of all, Pat Riley didn’t have to give up much, shipping Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 draft swap off to Houston. That’s the good. But it’s hard to gauge where Oladipo is at following his devastating knee injury 14 months ago.

The 2018 NBA Most Improved Player is averaging 20.8 points (second-most in his career), 5.0 rebounds (third-most in his career) and 4.7 assists (second-most in his career) through in 29 games this season.But his current offensive rating of 102.8 is the worst (by far) of his career since his second season in the league. Expecting Oladipo to be a true sidekick to Jimmy Butler might be a little ambitious at this point.

Nevertheless, he was probably the most talented — and certainly most accomplished — player to move at the deadline. His addition shortened Miami’s odds by nearly a third. After all, this is still a team that took the Lakers to six games in last year’s NBA Finals and possesses Goran Dragic, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson. Then, there’s nugget that emerging star Bam Adebayo will no doubt appreciate.

The Heat certainly helped their chances of a return to the Finals.

Evan Flow

The team that Miami upset in the Eastern Conference Finals last year — the Boston Celtics — also made a big move, getting Evan Fournier from the Magic in exchange for Jeff Teague and a pair of second-round picks.

This season, Fournier is averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game while shooting 38.8% from beyond the three-point line.

At 21-23, Boston entered Thursday night alone in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 28 games remaining. So, Brad Stevens’ team may not be the sleeper NBA championship threat it was last season, but the C’s are still in the postseason mix and will pose a daunting opponent to whichever team they match up against in the first round if they can get there.  

Along with Fournier, Danny Ainge added Moe Wagner from the Bulls. Wagner is averaging 7.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game this season and could be a good role player for a team that has struggled to stay healthy.

Despite the moves, Boston’s odds slipped a bit — going from +3000 to +3300 post-deadline. This merely adds more value to an always-dangerous franchise.

Boston’s lack of depth has been glaring this season. Its top players have been sidelined due to injuries, illnesses, or rest reasons. But the team is almost fully healthy now, with Tristan Thompson and Romeo Langford expected to return from COVID-19 health and safety protocols soon. Fournier will be a significant upgrade over some of the younger bench options.

At 28, the former first-round pick could slide into the starting lineup and push Marcus Smart back to the sixth-man role in which he has thrived during much of his career. Smart has struggled mightily on offense in fourth quarters this season, making just 8% of his three-pointers. In games when Boston is in need of late scoring punch, Fournier could capably fill that role.

The Sixers saw their odds move slightly (from +1200 to +1100) after acquiring veteran George Hill in a three-team swap involving the Thunder and Knicks. Hill, who is averaging is 11.8 points this season, will add savvy and depth to a Philly team trying to finally break through with MVP candidate Joel Embiid.

But with their unmatched star power, the Nets are still the heavy favorite to emerge as the East’s top title contender. But Kyrie Irving’s nagging injuries could linger. And that might open things up for teams like the Heat and the Celtics.


Blair Johnson



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