Suns See Largest Title Odds Boost After Adding Kevin Durant, Busy NBA Trade Deadline

Phoenix jumped into the top tier of contenders after it acquired Kevin Durant in a blockbuster deal. Plus, see where the rest of the league stands now.

A new favorite to win the Western Conference emerged from an especially busy NBA trade deadline.

NBA News: Kevin Durant Thrives In Suns Debut; Title Favorites? -

Several teams executed cost-saving deals or made marginal improvements to their current rosters, but the Suns went all-in with a blockbuster trade that netted them Kevin Durant and boosted their odds of winning their first-ever NBA title.

The Suns joined the Celtics and Bucks in the top tier of contenders when its odds to win the Finals shortened from +1700 to +450, third-best in the league. Boston, whose odds improved slightly from +300 to +260, and Milwaukee, whose chances improved from +400 to +350, both made moves that further solidified their status as contenders, though nothing nearly as splashy as what the Phoenix did.

Boston acquired forward Mike Muscala from the Thunder, and Milwaukee landed forward Jae Crowder from the Nets, who the team acquired in the Durant deal.

The Durant trade cost the Suns four first-round picks, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and Crowder. Bridges and Johnson are headed to Brooklyn to a team that looks very different than it did just one week ago when it was among the favorites to win it all. The Kyrie Irving and Durant deals together tanked the Nets’ odds to +9000 from +550.

The other notable risers from the deadline were the L.A. teams. The Clippers added Bones Hyland, Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee—ball handling, shooting and size. In exchange, they shipped away John Wall, Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and a pair of second-round picks, which they recouped in a separate deal. This trio of moves dropped their odds from +1300 to +1000, fifth-best in the league and third in the West.

The Lakers had +6000 odds to raise another banner as of Wednesday morning, but those shortened to +5000 after they, too, pulled off three trades. The first deal made the biggest difference as it brought D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in a three-team deal with the Jazz and Timberwolves. In exchange, Los Angeles shipped away Russell Westbrook, a first-round pick, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones.

In a separate deal, the Lakers sent Patrick Beverly and a second-round pick to the Magic for Mo Bamba, and they also dealt Thomas Bryant to the Nuggets for a second-round pick and Davon Reed.

As the top contenders in both conferences got stronger, a few teams in the second tier saw their odds drop. The 76ers, who acquired Jalen McDaniels in a three-way deal, fell from +850 to +1250; the Grizzlies, who added shooting with the acquisition of Kennard, slid from +900 to +1400; and the Warriors, who moved off of former No. 2 pick James Wiseman and reunited with Gary Payton II, dropped from +1100 to +1300.

The All-Star break begins one week from today, with the All-Star Game set for Sunday, Feb. 19. Once teams resume play on Feb. 23, less than two months remain before the postseason tips off.

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