NBA Hopefuls Add Pieces at Trade Deadline
Thursday was the trade deadline in the NBA, and a number of teams near the top of the NBA Finals odds board made key acquisitions. No major stars changed teams, unlike last year, when Kevin Durant was traded at the deadline. But several teams have positioned themselves to make a strong late-season push.
New York Knicks
Online sportsbooks in New York have the Knicks at +650 to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, and they have added two important bench players in Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic. They acquired the two from the Detroit Pistons for four players and a pair of second-round draft picks.
Bogdanovich is averaging more than 20 points per game this season, and he will become an important rotation player for the Knicks, as they deal with injuries to Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, and OG Anunoby.
Burks is a former Knick, and he returns to New York averaging 12.6 points per game this year.
In an unusual trade, the Milwaukee Bucks added the much-traveled Patrick Beverley. Milwaukee becomes his sixth team since the beginning of the 2020-21 season.
What makes the deal unexpected is that Beverley goes to Milwaukee from the Philadelphia 76ers, one of the chief competitors with the Bucks in the Eastern Conference. Pennsylvania online sportsbooks have the Sixers at +1700 to win the conference, compared to +220 for the Bucks.
Beverley will help a Milwaukee defense that ranks 24th in points allowed per game.
Basketball online sportsbooks have the Boston Celtics as the betting favorite to win the East at +130, and they added one of the best defenders in the league in Xavier Tillman. The former Memphis Grizzlies big man was acquired on Wednesday for Lamar Stevens and two second-round picks (2027 and 2030).
Tillman is just 25, is 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, and is averaging 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots. In the playoffs last year, he averaged 8.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are the fourth betting favorite to win the West at +850, and they’ve added Gordon Hayward from the Charlotte Hornets. Heading to the Hornets in return are Tre Mann, Vasilije Micic, Davis Bertans, and second-round picks in 2024 and 2025.
Hayward is 34 and in the final year of his contract, and he’s been out since December 26 with a left calf injury. Hayward is a former All-Star, and if he can return to good health, he will give the Thunder a versatile scorer who has averaged 14.5 points per game this season.
Los Angeles Clippers
In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Clippers are the second betting favorite to advance to the NBA Finals, paying +250. They are getting talked about because of who they didn’t trade. P.J. Tucker said several times before Thursday that he wanted to be traded, and when the deadline passed with him still remaining a Clipper, he posted on Instagram, “All this sh-t is a f—ing joke.”
He is clearly disappointed to still be in L.A., but his teammate James Harden is happy to still have him. Harden called Tucker a “game changer” and an important veteran leader. Harden and Tucker were traded to the Clippers together three months ago.