The Brooklyn Nets‘ championship odds for the 2022-23 NBA season received a massive boost on Tuesday after it was announced that Kevin Durant would be continuing his career with the team. Durant requested a trade away from the franchise in late June, but the Nets were unable to find a deal that they viewed as suitable. Now, the two sides will set their differences aside and try to bring a title to Brooklyn. The Nets’ chances of accomplishing that goal are obviously much higher with Durant in the fold, and that isn’t lost on the oddsmakers.
Following the Durant news, Brooklyn’s odds of raising a banner next summer immediately shifted from 18/1 to 11/1 at Caesars Sportsbook. At one point this offseason, Brooklyn’s title odds were 50/1 at Caesars. Bettors who backed Brooklyn at that point are probably smiling pretty widely now. Now, only two teams have higher odds of winning the title next season than Brooklyn — the Boston Celtics (+475) and Golden State Warriors (+650). The Milwaukee Bucks (+750) also have the same odds as the Nets. A handful of other teams had higher odds than the Nets prior to Tuesday.
Durant’s return is obviously the main catalyst for the Nets’ odds spike, but there are other reasons for fans and oddsmakers alike to be bullish on Brooklyn. After missing a large chunk of games last season due to New York’s mandate regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, Kyrie Irving should be available for the Nets on a much more consistent basis. When he’s out on the floor Irving is still one of the most prolific scorers in the league.
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Also, after missing all of last season due to injury and mental health issues, three-time All-Star Ben Simmons should be good to go for the upcoming campaign, and he could prove to be an extremely productive player for Brooklyn. Similarly, Joe Harris is expected to be healthy after being limited to just 14 games last season due to an ankle injury that ultimately required surgery. The team also made a couple of solid additions over the offseason in T.J. Warren and Royce O’Neale.
On paper, the Nets have an extremely solid squad that should absolutely be in the contender conversation in the Eastern Conference. Health and cohesion are the largest looming questions facing the team now that Durant’s situation is settled. If things work out for them in those departments, it wouldn’t be surprising if they’re the last team standing in June.