NBA trade deadline recap: Evaluating the betting impact of each NBA trade

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

February 10, 2023 06:33 AM

The sports world may have descended on Phoenix for Super Bowl 57 this week, but the Valley of the Sun took center stage on Thursday for the waves made by its NBA franchise prior to the trade deadline.

Kevin Durant is now a member of the Phoenix Suns after a blockbuster deal that sent Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson and a haul of draft picks to Brooklyn. It was the first of many moves on one of the most memorable trade deadlines in recent history for the NBA. 

Now that the deadline has passed, and the dust has settled the oddsmakers have made their opinions known. Let’s recap the most impactful trades from today, and find where the value might be.

Make sure to check out our NBA power ratings as well, and see how these moves have impacted the rankings.

Phoenix Suns acquire Kevin Durant

This was obviously the most impactful move of the day. On Friday, the Phoenix Suns were 20-1 to win the NBA Finals at DraftKings and they are now the second choice on the board at +425 behind only the Boston Celtics. They also moved into the role of odds-on favorite to win the Pacific Division at -175 despite sitting two games behind Sacramento. 

One could certainly make the argument that Phoenix is among the best teams in the conference, but there are still flaws with this team. Damion Lee and Jock Landale are the best reserves, and teams like Golden State and Milwaukee match up extremely well on the floor when fully healthy.

Betting markets tend to overreact when star players are traded, and this is a perfect example of that. I still rate Milwaukee as the better team, but according to DraftKings it is Phoenix that has the better chance of winning a title (19%) than Milwaukee (14.3%) and by a somewhat wide margin. There is absolutely no value in betting Phoenix at this point.

Los Angeles Lakers trade for D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and two others

Los Angeles entered today 26th in 3-point shooting (34.2%), and 22nd in catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage (35.6%). They had just two players shooting better than 36% from beyond the arc, but now they have six. Malik Beasley is a career 38.0% shooter who is hitting 36.0% of his 8.6 3-point attempts per game this season. D’Angelo Russell is shooting 39.1% this season, and Mo Bamba is hitting 39.8% of his deep attempts at center.

Each one of the pieces acquired by the Lakers fits perfectly with Anthony Davis and LeBron James, and their presence completely opens up the floor for a team that was 18th in non-garbage time offensive efficiency (114.0) as of today. That is something to absolutely love.

Surprisingly, Los Angeles did not shoot up the odds board and is 50-1 at DraftKings after the trade deadline. I actually agree with where the Lakers currently stand when it comes to winning a championship, but there is a bet to make here. FanDuel has Los Angeles at +194 to make the playoffs, a price certainly worth investing in.

Los Angeles Clippers trade for Eric Gordon, Miles Plumlee and Bones Hyland

The Clippers had a desperate need for another backcourt piece and a backup center entering the deadline, and they got that and more today. 

Eric Gordon is a brilliant on-ball defender who has improved his team’s defensive rating when on the floor in eight of the last nine seasons. That includes this season with Houston, which has allowed 3.0 fewer points per 100 possessions when Gordon plays. Bones Hyland was a buy-low experiment who had fallen out of favor with Denver by all accounts, but he is a shot creator that hits 50.0% of his corner 3-point attempts. Mason Plumlee is a great rebounder who ranks in the 80th percentile of centers in offensive and defensive rebounding rate, something the Clippers desperately needed.

Los Angeles came into today +800 to win the NBA Finals and is now +900 at DraftKings. That dip in their odds is more about the teams that moved ahead of them, namely Phoenix, as opposed to what the market thinks of their activity at the trade deadline. There is no move worth pouncing on, but if you’re someone who holds Clippers tickets at longer odds than what is on the market these are moves that increase the probability ever so slightly.

Golden State Warriors bring back Gary Payton II

Golden State’s bench has been an absolute nightmare this season. When Stephen Curry leaves the floor they are outscored by 4.8 points per 100 possessions, and while most of that is due to their offense falling off a cliff their defense has not been much better at 115.7 points per 100 possessions allowed. When Payton was with the Warriors last season he improved their defense by 2.2 points per 100 possessions and his 3.4% steal rate ranked in the 100th percentile at his position. His presence will clearly improve their defense, and he is an improving corner shooter. While acquiring Payton will not shift the odds for Golden State winning the NBA Finals or Western Conference, there is value in betting this team. When at full strength this is still the best team in the West, but DraftKings has them at +750 to win the conference.

Toronto Raptors trade for Jakob Poeltl

Toronto had to decide whether or not it would be a seller at this deadline, and they went in the opposite direction in acquiring its former center. In theory, Poeltl fits a need at the position for the Raptors. Their rotation at center was severely lacking in size and stature, with Pascal Siakam and Precious Achiuwa taking a vast majority of the possessions at the position. However, this does not improve this team’s halfcourt offense by a large margin and they came into this deadline 27th in halfcourt offensive efficiency (93.6). This is also not a move which moves them past anyone in the Eastern Conference. After the deadline they sit at 60-1 to win the East, the ninth choice at DraftKings to do so.

Milwaukee Bucks acquire Jae Crowder

Jae Crowder is not a move that will make the market adjust the odds on Milwaukee to win the Finals or the Eastern Conference, but it is an impactful acquisition. Crowder is a decent 3-and-D wing which fits on the floor next to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, and he can slide to power forward in small-ball lineups when Antetokounmpo is at center. DraftKings currently has the Bucks at +600 to win the Finals, a price that has value in it after the Suns moved ahead of them on the board.

Portland gets Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia gets Jalen McDaniels in three-way trade

Given the magnitude of the moves around them neither of these deals have moved the needle when it comes to the big picture. For example, before the trade deadline the 76ers were 11-1 to win the NBA Finals and are now +950 to do, but that has more to do with Brooklyn dropping then it does Philadelphia improving. Thybulle is a good defender and he joins a team that is 26th in non-garbage time defensive efficiency (117.1). He will make a positive impact and he fits nicely next to Damian Lillard. However, the Trail Blazers were 150-1 to win the NBA Finals before today and that price remains after the deadline.

Atlanta Hawks land Saddiq Bey in three-team deal

This is not a move that will improve the probability of Atlanta winning the NBA Finals or Eastern Conference. Bey is a good wing player, but is in the midst of a career worst shooting season at 34.6%. He adds depth at power forward behind John Collins, but his role will be minimal for Atlanta. DraftKings has them listed at 65-1 to win the NBA Finals.

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