JJ Redick has been added to the Mavericks mix at the deadline (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The NBA trade deadline passed at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday with a number of Western Conference teams making deals
- The Los Angeles Clippers’ odds of winning the NBA championship improved after acquiring point guard Rajon Rondo from the Atlanta Hawks
- A look at the some of the key moves made by Western Conference teams and the lates NBA title odds can be found below
The trade deadline officially passed at 3 p.m. ET Thursday and multiple playoff contenders in the Western Conference upgraded their rosters.
Yet a team that stood pat is still considered the best bet from the conference to win the NBA title. The Lakers remain co-favorites with the Brooklyn Nets at +285.
The Lakers are currently fourth in the Western Conference standings with a 28-16 record, 4.5 games behind the first-place Utah Jazz (32-11). Los Angeles is playing without two superstars as Anthony Davis is expected to be out until at least April with a strained calf while LeBron James is sidelined indefinitely by a sprained ankle.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers improved their odds by making deadline deals.
2021 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+285|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+500|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+4500|
Odds taken March 25 from DraftKings
Clippers Add Veteran Presence
The Clippers added a needed playmaking guard by acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Lou Williams. Rondo should have plenty of assist opportunities feeding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Rondo might even hit a couple of clutch shots.
Laker Champion, Rajon Rondo returns to Staples Center for the first time since his departure to the Hawks.
One of the most talented point guards of our generation!
— 🟣LA Lakers Fan Clubhouse (@LakersNationCH) March 20, 2021
The Clippers’ championship odds improved from +550 to +500 after the trade. They remain the second choice among Western Conference teams win the NBA title behind their Staples Center co-tenants.
The trade also sends Rondo back to Los Angeles. He spent the last two seasons with the Lakers, including helping them beat the Miami Heat in the Finals last season.
Rondo was limited 27 games with the Hawks this season because of knee problems. He averaged just 3.9 points and 3.5 assists. However, the Clippers believe the 15-year veteran can help them the same way he did the Lakers.
Nuggets Make Aggressive Moves
The Nuggets were aggressive at the deadline, trading for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Cleveland Cavaliers backup center JaVale McGee.
Denver making moves.
Magic have traded Aaron Gordon to the Nuggets, per @ShamsCharania
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 25, 2021
Gordon could replace Paul Millsap as the starting small forward. He would join a lineup that includes All-Star Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., Jamal Murray and Will Barton.
The oddsmakers were duly impressed with the addition of Gordon as the Nuggets’ championship odds improved significantly. They went from +2600 to +1600.
Slowed by an ankle injury, Gordon played in just 25 games for the Magic this season but is healthy now. He is averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Gordon should also add some excitement to the Nuggets, who are in fifth place in the West.
McGee gives the Nuggets an inside presence and rim protector off the bench. He averaged 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots for the Cavaliers in 33 games this season.
Mavs, Blazers Add Shooters
The Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers also improved their championship chances, though they are still at considerably long odds. The Mavericks went from +5000 to +4000 and the Trail Blazers from +6000 to +4500 following deadline moves.
The Mavericks picked up shooting guard J.J. Redick from the New Orleans Pelicans. In 31 games this season, he has averaged 8.7 points and shot 36.4% from 3-point range.
Jimmy Butler and J.J. Redick work off the ball for your Heads Up Play of the Day! pic.twitter.com/FfHY6bo7zZ
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 30, 2019
Redick had requested a trade to a team in the Northeast to be closer to his family but instead winds up in Texas. He had been inactive for each of the Pelicans’ last seven games.
The Trail Blazers got guard Norman Powell from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
Powell is having the best season of his six-year stint in the NBA as he is scoring a career-best 19.5 points a game. He is also shooting 43.5% from long distance and dropped a career-high 43 points on the Detroit Pistons on March 17.
— NBA (@NBA) March 25, 2021
The Trail Blazers are sixth in the conference standings and the Mavericks are right behind in seventh place.
Who Improved the Most?
The Nuggets made it to the Western Conference finals last season before losing to the Lakers in five games. However, Denver has never won it all in the franchise’s 54-year history.
The Nuggets still have their fair share of work to end that drought. However, the addition of Gordon and McGee certainly makes them intriguing and worthy of at least a small wager at +1600.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.