Wizards’ Championship Odds Improve Slightly After Acquiring Westbrook

  • Wizards’ odds to win the NBA title improve to +10000 after trading John Wall for Russell Westbrook
  • Rockets’ odds to win Southwest Division dip from +325 to +350
  • Rockets reportedly do not feel compelled to trade James Harden

Late Wednesday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a #WojBomb. Per Woj, the Houston Rockets agreed to trade former MVP Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall and a future first-round pick.


https://twitter.com/wojespn/status/1334300248743813125?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The timing of the news was a bit surprising with team training camps getting underway earlier this week. However, Westbrook reportedly declined to report for the beginning of the Rockets’ camp, which prompted the team’s general manager, Rafael Stone, to seek a trade. The deal comes just a couple of weeks after Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Westbrook had told the team’s brass that he wanted out.

Westbrook’s Lone Season in Houston

Westbrook wound up spending just one year in Houston after coming over in a trade last summer from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The nine-time All-Star averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists in his lone season with the Rockets. Westbrook injured his quad shortly before the beginning of the playoffs, which kept him sidelined for the first four games of the team’s postseason run. Houston was eventually eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round.

Wall, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, has spent the first decade of his career with the Wizards. However, he hasn’t played a game since December of 2018 as a result of an Achilles injury that kept him sidelined for all of last season. Wall averaged better than 20 points and nearly nine assists per game in his most recent campaign.

The deal has improved the Wizards’ chances of making noise in the Eastern Conference. The team had a win total prop of just 28.5 before the trade, but BetOnline.ag raised that prop to 33.5 following the deal. The Wizards’ odds to win next season’s championship also improved slightly from +15000 to +10000.

Washington finished 22 games under .500 last season and failed to qualify for the playoffs. Bradley Beal enjoyed the best season of his career, while Davis Bertans quietly emerged as one of the game’s premier shooters. Adding an All-Star in Westbrook likely improves the Wizards’ chances of sneaking into the Eastern Conference playoffs, but the team remains a serious long shot to contend for a title any time soon.

Rockets’ Murky Future

The Rockets, meanwhile, will be pairing James Harden with a third different All-Star point guard in the last three years. Wall will try to lead the Rockets to a title, which is a feat Chris Paul and Westbrook both failed to accomplish during their time in Houston.

Wall having missed each of the last two years makes him something of an unknown commodity. Achilles injuries tend to be extremely difficult to rehab, and it stands to reason that the 30-year-old may have lost some of the explosiveness that he had before going down.

Houston has undergone quite a few changes this offseason. The team already lost its head coach (Mike D’Antoni) and general manager (Daryl Morey), while star defender Robert Covington was traded to Portland. The Rockets signed forward Christian Wood to a free-agent deal, and new head coach Stephen Silas will look to keep the Rockets competitive with Harden still in his prime. Wall will also be reunited with DeMarcus Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Rockets earlier this offseason. Wall and Cousins were college teammates at Kentucky.

Whether the Rockets Move Harden Remains to Be Seen

The former MVP has reportedly sought a trade of his own, but with two years left on his contract, the Rockets reportedly do not feel any pressure to move him as of now. The Nets have been floated as a potential destination, but Brooklyn likely doesn’t have enough to tempt Houston into making such a deal.

There is plenty of reason to believe the Rockets can still be competitive as long as Harden is on the roster. However, Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks saw their odds to win the Southwest Division improve following the trade. Dallas went from being -125 favorites to -150, while Houston’s odds drifted from +325 to +350.

The Rockets have won the Southwest in each of the last three seasons, with four division titles in their last six season overall.

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Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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