On Monday, Nets general manager Sean Marks, head coach Steve Nash and franchise owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai met with Kevin Durant and his managing director Rich Kleiman in Los Angeles Shine Charania from the athlete. The result was that the four-time scoring champion dropped his trade request.
As a result, the drama surrounding Durant and Kyrie Irving’s possible split and the two stars leaving Brooklyn ends with them returning to the Nets. That makes Brooklyn one of the biggest threats to the Celtics’ championship aspirations.
After not playing last season, Ben Simmons will line up alongside Durant and Irving. As long as he’s healthy, he should remain one of the best defensive players in the league. He is also excellent when acting as a room general in open court. And the Nets can push his offensive limits more easily than the Sixers, led by a center that prefers to damage from the mid-to-low post.
Brooklyn also added TJ Warren and will welcome back Joe Harris, who only played 14 games last season through injury.
Factoring in the Nets’ off-season maneuvers and neither Durant nor Irving changing teams, FanDuel Sportsbook has given them the third-best odds of winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy, listing them at +700. The Warriors and Clippers have equal odds.
Even with Durant and Irving running it in Brooklyn, FanDuel Sportsbook still sees the Celtics as the betting favorite to win the championship this season.
Boston has endured a campaign in which it pulled off one of the most impressive turnarounds in NBA history in a season that went from 11th in the East in January to two wins before hoisting the 18th banner on the rafters at TD Garden became.
The Celtics have acquired Malcolm Brogdon and Danilo Gallinari this offseason, and they’ve done it without dropping any of the mainstays from their playoff rotation.
Additionally, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have guided Boston to at least the Eastern Conference Finals in three of their five years together before hitting their best times.
Tatum has received All-NBA First Team honors this past season. Brown, a former All-Star who turns 26 in October, has been improving every summer and was the Celtics’ second-best scorer and rebounder in the playoffs, averaging 23.1 points and 6.9 boards per game. He also led Boston in scoring in the NBA Finals, averaging 23.5 points per contest.
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Along with the Celtics improving their rotation and the forecast for Tatum and Brown to take the next leap forward in their careers, add the benefits of Ime Udoka entering his second season at the helm and working with a group , in which the majority is familiar with him and each other. It makes it easy to see why FanDuel Sportsbook sees Boston as the betting favorite to win the 2022-23 NBA title.
The Celtics have everything they need to make that statement look prescient. Now they must put it into action.
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