When the 2019-20 NBA season begins, Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Klay Thompson (ACL) will be sidelined with major injuries.
Yet, somehow Vegas has already installed the Warriors as 3/1 favorites to cut down the nets in 2020.
Both Durant and Thompson are free agents, but even if the Warriors re-sign both players in free agency, "This is a roster that will be fighting just to make the Western Conference playoffs," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Friday on "Get Up" the morning after the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA title by beating the Warriors in six games.
Even with KD and Klay sidelined the Dubs are favored to win in 2020 followed by the Lakers. It all seems pretty nuts. pic.twitter.com/GQQGtuuSs6— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 14, 2019
The NBA figures to be wide open next season, largely due to the injuries suffered by Durant and Thompson, and the uncertain futures of many of the sport's biggest names, including Durant, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker.
"I think what you're about to see right now is the redistribution of power throughout the entire league," Jay Williams said on 'Get Up.' "I don't think you're going to see super-teams anymore...Five NBA Finals in a row. I don't think we're going to see that from the Warriors anymore."
The Lakers are the second favorite at 9/2 but LeBron and Company didn't even make the playoffs in 2019. Those odds presumably assume the dysfunctional Lakers add Davis via a trade. Woj reported this week that the Lakers and Celtics were in trade talks with New Orleans for Davis.
Meantime, Rich Paul, Davis' agent, told Sports Illustrated that the Lakers and Knicks were Davis' preferred destinations,for whatever that's worth.
"Are the Lakers not a great destination for an arguably top-two player that went to Kentucky and won a national championship, signed with Nike?" Paul "For a team that’s had centers from George Mikan to Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaq?"
The Raptors are the fifth favorite to repeat as NBA champs in 2020 at 8/1-- behind the Warriors, Lakers, Bucks Clippers -- presumably because Leonard is a free agent and, if you buy the rumors, may land with the Clippers.
The Rockets, who of all these teams seem most likely to keep their core of James Harden, Chris Paul and company intact, may be the safest bet at 10/1. They have been unable to get past the Warriors the last several years, but next year's Warriors won't be the same as previous incarnations.
The Celtics and Sixers are both at 12/1, but again who knows what the Celtics will look like if Irving leaves? Or if they package a bunch of young players for Davis. After signing with Roc Nation, the thinking is that Irving will sign with the Nets, who are listed at 18-1.
The rebuilding Knicks, who had been considered the favorites to land Durant but are no longer favored to get Irving, are at 12/1, the same odds as Boston and Philadelphia, which seems a bit nutty.
Unbelievable bad luck for the Warriors who will not be the same next season. pic.twitter.com/025jRDa573— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) June 14, 2019
With or without Durant, Thompson could be back from ACL surgery in 7-10 months, in time for a playoff run in 2020 alongside his fellow 'Splash Brother' Steph Curry.
Draymond Green, for one, says don't count out the Warriors.
"I hear a lot of that noise, it's the end of a run and all that jazz," he said. "I don't see it happening. We'll be back."