LeBron James to the Houston Rockets?

lebron-james-rocketsLeBron James can opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer. And this has set off a number of rumors that he’ll be playing in a new uniform next season. But the question remains, where?

Many rumors have linked him to either the LA Lakers or Clippers. But the latest word is that LeBron could end up playing for the Houston Rockets next season. Let’s discuss the validity of this report along with if any other destinations are currently in play.

Rockets Think They Have a Good Shot at James

According to USA Today’s Sam Amick, the Houston Rockets organization believes that they have as good a chance as anybody at signing King James.

This is interesting because previous reports have tied LeBron’s future to either of the LA teams or the Philadelphia 76ers.

The LA rumors certainly makes sense because James has a lot of business and entertainment dealings on the West Coast. He also recently bought a second home in Brentwood worth $23 million.

Of course, making such a big move out West with the Golden State Warriors looming is bold. This is why joining the Rockets makes sense because they already have a roster capable of hanging with the Warriors.

James Harden is one of the NBA’s top players. And backcourt mate Chris Paul is one of the best defensive point guards to ever play the game. It also doesn’t hurt that LeBron and Paul are really good friends.

lebron-james-signs-rocketsMost importantly of all is how Harden, Paul, and the rest of the Rockets are experiencing considerable success. They lead the Western Conference with a 21-4 record. And Paul and Harden have shown good on-court chemistry already.

Another reason why Houston is a good move to landing spot for LeBron is that the owner, Tilman Fertitta, has deep pockets. The multi-billionaire spent a record $2.2 billion to buy the Rockets in September. James likes owners who are willing to spend on the roster, and Fertitta would have the cash to pay heft luxury tax fines.

Houston also has one of the best coach-general manager combos in Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey. Add everything up, and the Rockets definitely give LeBron a good chance to win immediately.

Will LeBron Choose Winning or Business?

James’ business manager and childhood friend, Maverick Carter, has often said that LeBron will prioritize basketball over business. And again, playing for Houston makes sense in this regard.

“These days it doesn’t matter (where you play for business purposes), because you can be known and be a star from anywhere – anywhere in the world,” Carter told reporter Rich Eisen.

“I mean, could (James) sell a few more sneakers if he was in a gigantic market like Boston, Chicago, New York, or LA? Maybe. But not as much as if he wins. What matters the most is if he wins. When you win as an athlete, that matters the most.”

Eisen asked Carter if LeBron could create the best synergy between winning and growing his business in Los Angeles. But Carter reiterated that it’s basketball first.

“I understand people keep saying that and thinking that, but the reason it doesn’t make sense is because if he does play in LA, or he plays on the moon, he can only shoot movies for three months,” said Carter.

“Even if he played in LA and he wanted to be in a movie, he can’t shoot from basically September to June. … We’re doing fine without him living here and playing here. He has a home here in the off-season. He lives in LA in the off-season.

“Our company, we have 10 shows in deals, two shows with Netflix, a show with HBO and none of them are starring him. He’s just the E.P. (executive producer) on them running the company, as a founder of the company with me, so the company doesn’t need him to be here.”

James’ Contract Creates a Tough Salary Cap Situation

One of the biggest hurdles for Houston signing James is their salary cap situation. LeBron would likely command a max salary of $35 million as a free agent, along with a player option of $35.3 million for next season.

This would put Morey in a bind because they already have some big salaries to pay with Harden, Paul, and forward Ryan Anderson.

One option is for Morey to trade Anderson. Unfortunately, the wizard GM has had trouble finding a trade partner for the long-range-shooting forward.

lebron-to-rocketsAnother path could involve either James or Paul (also a free agent) taking less money to sign with Houston. This is possible because Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala both took less money to re-sign with the Warriors. Paul also did so, opting into the final year of his non-max Clippers deal so that he could be traded to Houston.

Overall, Houston has $80.4 million committed to eight players next year. The NBA’s salary cap is expected to be $101 million, which doesn’t leave much room to re-sign Paul and center Clint Capela, along with bringing in LeBron.

None of the solutions seem great for all parties involved. LeBron and/or Paul would have to take significant salary reductions. Even then, Morey might have to let Capela walk in free agency, and trade Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza for expiring contracts.

In the case of not re-signing Capela and trading for salary dumps, Houston wouldn’t have the same depth as they currently have. And this would make them less attractive to LeBron.

LeBron to Houston, LA, or Philly?

The reality is that James signing with the Rockets is just as much a rumor as him going to LA or Philadelphia. And this doesn’t even take into account other teams that could possibly factor in, including the San Antonio Spurs. Of course, it’s also a realistic possibility that he simply re-signs with Cleveland.

As for Houston, tampering rules kept them from going after Paul until July 1. The same holds true for their recruiting efforts with LeBron. Odds are that the current reports about them chasing James were purposely leaked by the organization. This way they can get the word out that they’re interested without violating tampering rules.

Globe Reports Gordon Hayward Thinking of Playing This Season

gordon-hayward-celticsBoston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is now a couple months removed from the gruesome leg injury that he suffered in his 2017-18 debut. And Hayward’s broken ankle makes it seem unlikely that he’ll be back this year.

This is even the case when considering that Hayward is making progress with his recovery, including taking his walking boot off and wearing a smaller ankle brace.

But the 7-year veteran has thought about the possibility of returning to the court this season. Let’s discuss what Hayward had to say on the matter along with the reality of the situation.

“I’m Definitely Pushing to Get Back”

When Boston signed Hayward to a four-year, $128-million contract, he was seen as a big piece that would help the Celtics compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even without their starting small forward, Boston has jumped out to the Eastern Conference lead with a 22-5 record.

gordon-hayward-ankle-braceThat said, many wonder how the team would do if Hayward eventually suits up. This is especially interesting to think about when considering that there are over four months left in the season.

According to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, Hayward has spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this himself.

“It’s definitely in the back of my mind,” Hayward said. “I’m definitely pushing to get back as fast as I can, while making sure that I still have a lot of good years of basketball in me. And coming back early and hurting something else is not part of that plan.

“So I’m making sure that if I come back, I’m 1,000 percent confident in myself and my leg. I hope more than anything I can play this season. That would be awesome. But that’s not something I’m stressing about. I’m stressing about what I can do today to help myself get better.”

Hayward’s Return would be March at the Earliest

Gordon Hayward is making some real progress with his rehabilitation. He shows up at the team facilities every day from 10am to 2pm. Here, Hayward does everything from lifting weights and shooting to doing range of motion exercises. He also does an extra hour of rehabilitation at home during the evening.

Perhaps the greatest sign that Hayward is getting better is how he was able to stop using crutches. He’s also alternating between a small ankle brace and walking boot. In two weeks, he’ll completely transition to the walking boot.

He and general manager Danny Ainge also developed a unique “marble challenge” that he’s been doing during the rehabilitation process. Here’s a look at how Himmelsbach describes the marble challenge:

“In one of the competitions, “multiple marble madness,” 17 marbles are placed on a small towel and Hayward must pick them up with his toes and deposit them in a box as quickly as possible. The first time he tried it with his injured left foot, it took him 4 minutes, 57 seconds. And he said he probably cheated, too. This week, he did it in 38 seconds.

“Little things like that,” Hayward said. “Like, I can tell I got better today because I shaved three seconds off my PR.”

“Then there is the “Celtic chair challenge,” in which a competitor must make a half-court shot while seated. Entrants pay $1 per attempt, with a maximum of five shots per day. The jackpot accumulates until one goes in.”

Based on how everything is going, it seems that Hayward might be able to reach his earliest predicted return date of March. But how his body heals will be the biggest determinant of when he gets back to the court.

Even then, it’s hard to know when Hayward’s ankle will be up to the rigors of the NBA season. This is especially the case when considering that the Celtics will be preparing for the playoffs.

Brad Stevens Says No Plans for Hayward Return

According to Boston Celtics reporter Jay King, head coach Brad Stevens said that there are no current plans to play Hayward this season.

This makes sense, given that fact that even if Hayward returns, he’d have to get into playing shape. And as mentioned before, Hayward would be coming back on the brink of the playoffs.

Of course, Boston would certainly like to have their star small forward back. But they’re not going to risk his long-term health just to add more depth for the playoffs. This is especially the case when considering that Boston already has enough good forwards in Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris, and Jayson Tatum.

This being said, chances are that the Boston lineup we see right now is the one who’ll be competing for an Eastern Conference title. And given how the Celtics are currently playing, they’ll take their chances and look forward to having a healthy Hayward in the 2018-19 campaign.

Suns Betting: Phoenix Asking Too Much for Eric Bledsoe

eric-bledsoe-suns-tradeThe trade market has opened up for Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe after he tweeted a telling message. Bledsoe claims that he was at a salon when tweeting “I don’t want to be here.”

However, Suns GM Ryan McDonough doesn’t buy it and has since been shopping the disgruntled point guard. Plenty of teams are interested in the 6’1″ guard because he’s a good scorer who’s averaged over 20 PPG the past two seasons.

But the problem is that the Suns may be asking for too much. Let’s discuss this matter further along with why McDonough is so quick to get rid of Bledsoe.

eric-bledsoe-tweet

Bucks, Knicks, Nuggets Report High Asking Price

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently reported that the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Denver Nuggets have expressed interest in Bledsoe. However, each of these teams have been “taken aback” by how much Phoenix wants for their starting point guard.

eric-bledsoe-phoenix-trade“In the initial conversations that the Suns had with teams yesterday – teams like the Bucks and the Nuggets and the Knicks and the Clippers are some of the teams that they’ve talked to – their asking price was very high. Some of the team that I’ve talked to were taken aback by what the Suns asked for,” said Windhorst.

“If they’re going to keep their asking price very high, which is usually, in some of these talks, a young player and a draft pick or a young player and an established player – they may have to wait a while for the market to play out.”

Bledsoe Is no doubt a talented player who can help a team at point guard. However, he also has a history of injuries which is cause for concern.

That said, the Suns may not get the young player/draft pick combination, or an established player/young player combo. Furthermore, McDonough doesn’t have much leverage when considering the recent turn of events.

McDonough Claims Teams are “Pretty Aggressive” in Bledsoe Trade Hunt

McDonough spoke with Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and said that teams are extremely interested in acquiring his team’s point guard.

ryan-mcdonough-suns-gm“We’ve gotten some pretty good offers, especially in the last 24 hours or so,” he said. “We’re comfortable with the offers we’re getting. There are a few teams in particular that are being pretty aggressive.

“Contrary to what you might have heard or read, there is a strong market for Eric Bledsoe. I think we heard from all 29 teams at this point.”

It’s difficult to know whether the interested teams or the Suns GM are telling the truth. After all, both sides want to get the best deal possible.

Phoenix wants to make it look like multiple teams are competing for Bledsoe to drive up his trade value. The interested teams are making it seem that the Suns are being unreasonable so they drive down the asking price.

Odds are good that Phoenix gets a decent package in a potential trade. But it’s doubtful that they land anything like the Knicks giving them both Willy Hernangomez and Frank Ntilikina. However, it’s not hard to understand why they’d start with a high asking price.

McDonough Criticized Bledsoe’s Leadership

One mistake that McDonough has made during this trade process includes criticizing Bledsoe after his initial tweet. Here’s what the GM told Arizona Sports radio:

“It works both ways, and for a guy with years on his contract to say or intimate he didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t find that to be appropriate, and I think if he says he wants to be a leader, that’s the opposite of what a leader does and the opposite of what leadership is. So I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

This may be exactly what’s on McDonough’s mind right now. However, it’s not good to bash your point guard days before trying to get high trade value for him.

Why Does Bledsoe Want Out so Badly?

eric-bledsoeSpeculation is that Bledsoe’s agent Rich Paul is behind Bledsoe’s trade request. And McDonough believes that Bledsoe is getting some bad advice. Here’s what he told ESPN’s Chris Haynes about the matter:

“I was certainly surprised by it and disappointed by it,” McDonough said. “I think Eric’s a good person. I think he’s unfortunately gotten some bad advice and is listening to the wrong people. I think generally, any time you sign a contract, it doesn’t only work one way.”

McDonough also said that he believes Bledsoe is unhappy about being shut down towards the end of last season due to injury.

“He was certainly hurt by getting shut down last year, and we understand that and respect that,” McDonough explained.

“At the same time, it’s a new year. He has multiple years left on his contract. I talked to Eric, met with him a couple times before the season started and he said he was excited about our group, excited to play with the young guys and thought we had a good thing going here.”

Suns Betting

Phoenix hasn’t played too well over the past few seasons. And they’re not off to a great start this year either, sitting at 2-3.

This is a rebuilding team that needs leadership. And the organization apparently feels that Bledsoe isn’t providing this leadership with his attitude right now.

Long story short, the Phoenix Suns look like a risky bet right now until they settle the Bledsoe situation. They’re probably going to be overvalued on the betting for a while with their unhappy point guard. I suggest waiting until Bledsoe is traded before putting any serious money on the Suns.

Bulls Odds: Portis’ Punch Leaves Chicago Thinner than Ever

bobby-portis-nikola-miroticThe Chicago Bulls were never going to be very good this season. After all, they traded away team star Jimmy Butler for draft picks and young players. But now the bulls are looking at an even more-dismal start after the altercation between Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic.

Portis Punched Mirotic in the face during a Chicago practice. Mirotic will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a facial fracture, while Portis has been suspended for eight games.

Let’s discuss more on what caused this incident and also cover what the Bulls are facing without these two power forwards.

Mirotic-Portis Feud has been “Going on for a Couple of Years”

Vincent Goodwill, Chicago Bulls insider and NBC Sports Chicago reporter, said that the fight between Portis and Mirotic is something that’s been brewing for while.

“Basically, he and Bobby Portis have had something going on for a couple of years,” said Goodwill. “In practice, you know how things go. Sometimes teammates don’t always necessarily like each other. But basically they said that Bobby Portis lost it and punched Niko in the face when they were in a scuffle.”

bobby-portisJohn Paxson, Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations, admitted to the media that both players got into a heated confrontation during practice. He said that he’s most disappointed in Portis for taking the conflict too far.

“Both players owned responsibility in the incident itself,” said Paxson. “But only one player threw a punch. And that punch connected and for us that is inexcusable. It’s not who we are. It disappoints us in terms of what happened, and because of that we’ve determined that we’re going to suspend Bobby for eight games.”

Paxson added, “This is a team suspension. We did get counsel and advice from the league because this is really unprecedented in a practice situation. There’s altercations a lot of times, but the result of Niko’s injuries are why we’ve taken the position that we have.”

The former Bulls shooting guard and current team VP also stood up for Portis’ overall character outside of this incident.

“Bobby Portis is not a bad person. He’s a good kid. He’s a competitive kid, but in this instance he made a mistake. And as we all know when you make mistakes you got to suffer the consequences.”

Paxson said that this isn’t the first time he’s seen something like this happen in practice, especially when it comes to players at the same position.

nikola-mirotic“These type of things do happen,” he explained. “I’ve been a part of them. I’ve seen them. Positionally, it can happen. I used to get into these little scuffles with BJ [Armstrong] when we played, but you can’t cross the line. And Bobby crossed the line. And again, the result of the contact and what it’s done to Niko is really the thing that has a lot of us sitting here feeling really disappointed in this today.”

Head coach Fred Hoiberg was “very disappointed” at what took place. And he visited Mirotic in the hospital.

“My job is to not let this moment derail us,” said Hoiberg. “My job is to get these guys prepared to go out and fight and play as a group. And I’m confident that our guys will do that.”

Center Robin Lopez, who’s relied on for his veteran leadership, said that both sides played a role in what culminated in the punch.

“We talked with Bobby,” Lopez said. “Obviously he’s regretful about what he did. We talked about it as a team afterwards. Everything was still so fresh. We as a team feel there’s blame on both sides. When it comes down to it the punch was inexcusable.”

Where do the Bulls Go from Here?

The Chicago Bulls finally decided to enter a full-on rebuild this year. And Hoiberg is supposed to develop this young core into an eventual winner.

Mirotic is an important part of the rebuild, especially after beating Portis out for the starting power forward spot. However, things will definitely hit a snag following the fight between Mirotic and Portis.

markkanen-bullsThe fact that Mirotic will miss up to 6 weeks is a huge blow. It’s only worse that backup Bobby Portis is slated to miss the first eight contests with a suspension. This means that rookie Lauri Markkanen will be thrust into action quicker than expected.

Markkanen, the seventh-overall pick of the NBA Draft, was expected to start this season slowly while learning from Mirotic and Portis. However, he’s going to be learning on the fly because he’s the only power forward on the team besides third-year man Cristiano Felicio.

I’m frankly surprised that Felicio isn’t getting a crack at the starting role. However, Markkanen comes with a high pedigree and has more overall upside.

Plus, it’s not exactly like this Bulls team is set to win many games. Outside of Lopez, who’s leading the team with 17.0 PPG, and shooting guard Justin Holiday, this squad is extremely young.

Third-year player Jerian Grant, second-year man Paul Zipser, and Markkanen join Lopez and Holiday in the starting lineup. Second-year players Denzel Valentine, Kay Felder, and David Nwaba are also logging significant minutes in the early going.

This is why Chicago could use Mirotic and Portis in the lineup. But the problem is that they won’t have these two for the early going.

Chicago Bulls Betting

The Bulls are going to be big underdogs on most lines this season. But they may be offering even less value than what’s projected when considering that they don’t have their top two power forwards right now.

This being said, Chicago won’t be a good bet for a while. Throw in the fact that they’re rebuilding with a lot of young players, and it’s even harder to gauge what you can expect from this team. Temper your expectations for the Bulls in the early portion of the season and wait to see how their young players gel before placing any significant bets.

How Good are Celtics without Gordon Hayward?

gordon-hayward-injuryOne of the biggest moves that the Boston Celtics made this off-season included signing Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $128 million contract. Along with Kyrie Irving, Hayward was supposed to help usher in a new era for the Celtics.

Unfortunately, this will have to wait because he suffered a gruesome broken ankle just 5 minutes into the first game with his new team.

Hayward went up for an alley-oop, but collided with LeBron James in midair. His legs twisted behind him when he fell, which is when the broken ankle occurred. He was later taken off the court on a stretcher.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to Gordon’s family. Hope for a speedy recovery, a healthy recovery,” James said. “Those are the injuries that you never see coming, you never want to happen, no matter who it is, no matter what the stature, no matter how much competitive nature that you have. It’s just very unfortunate.”

The question now is if Hayward will be able to provide any help to Boston this season. Moreover, how will the Celtics play without their star small forward since he’ll miss the majority of the season – if not all of it?

Let’s answer these questions below by discussing more on Hayward’s injury along with what a respected athletic trainer has to say about his return.

Hayward could Miss the Rest of the 2017-18 Season

gordon-hayward-celticsAccording to OrthoInfo, a broken ankle requires an average recovery time of 12 weeks. Of course, professional basketball players are built differently than the rest of this and can heal quicker. But they’re not immortal and still need to rebuild the muscle around the ankle before playing at full speed again.

James said that the injury reminded him of how Paul George broke his leg during a Team USA basketball game in August 2014. George suffered a compound fracture, where the bone went through his skin, and he missed eight months of basketball action.

Even after returning, it took George some time before he reached the same level he was at prior to the injury. Approximately two years later, he was averaging a career high in points at 23.3 per game.

“I felt I was immortal,” George said after the injury. “I was invincible. I’ve made so many plays where guys go down, and I walked up clean from it. I did feel that nothing bad could ever happen to me on the court.

“The pain was tough. As soon as the air hit my bone, where the open wound was, it just shot through my whole body. Everything just slowed down. Like, I could hear every individual in the arena talking.”

CBS Sports spoke with certified athletic trainer Jeff Stotts on the severity of Hayward’s injury. Stotts said that it’s hard to give an exact timeline on when the Celtics star can play again. However, he did offer some thoughts on the matter.

gordon-hayward-injury-celtics“It’s difficult to speculate given there’s still so many unknowns. But I think it’s likely gonna be 12 weeks at least based on what we have right now. He’ll probably be evaluated at that mark. There’s an outside chance he’s able to play again this season, but again the only other example I have in my database, the injury occurred in November and the player missed the final 68 games recovering.”

The trainer added, “He’s going to be up against it. Is it a career-ending injury? By no means, from what we can tell. But he’s gonna be hard-pressed to get back this season. And just because, again, it’s an injury of high magnitude, you want to make sure he’s returning at 100 percent and not running the risk of some secondary injury or some other setback.”

Stotts went on to describe the healing process from a broken ankle. If there’s also ligament damage, this injury can take even longer than a torn ACL to recover from.

“Connective tissue can take a long time to heal, especially if it’s repaired. It’s one reason why a broken bone sounds worse than a torn ACL, but you have to go in and repair that ligament. Connective tissue, once it’s past a certain point, it’s hard to get it back to its original strength, it takes time, and often requires surgical intervention.

“If he did avoid ligament damage, the potential for there not being an ankle reconstruction on the lateral aspect or medial aspect as well is good. They don’t have to worry about reconstructing those ligaments. They can just worry about aligning the pieces of bone and making sure they’re stable to allow for a proper union of the bone fragments.”

Celtics Odds without Hayward

We previously had the Celtics at +220 odds of winning the Eastern Conference. This trailed only the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were at -140 in our NBA futures.

I feel sorry if you bet on the Celtics to win the East prior to the season. After all, it didn’t take long for these hopes to be derailed when Hayward went down with what could potentially be a season-ending injury.

Even if he comes back, Stotts described how long it can be before someone is able to move at full speed. And we only have to look at Paul George as an example of how players aren’t themselves for a while up when they step back on the court.

kyrie-irving-celticsThe good news for Boston, though, is that the cupboard isn’t bare. They still have a number of players who can contribute and help them have a successful season.

Irving leads the team at point guard. He’s coming off a season in Cleveland where he made a third-straight trip to the NBA Finals and averaged 25.2 PPG.

Al Horford and Marcus Smart will bring important veteran contributions too. The center Horford averaged 14.0 PPG and 1.3 blocks last season, while Smart averaged 10.6 PPG and provided gritty defense.

Second-year man Jaylen Brown, rookie Jayson Tatum, free agent signing Aaron Baynes, and point guard Terry Rozier are also set for big roles this season.

But without Hayward, we don’t look for Boston to challenge Cleveland for the East crown. Instead, the Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors, and Milwaukee Bucks will likely be the biggest threats to Cleveland.

Boston should still make the playoffs. But they’ll need a healthy Hayward before going to the Finals.

Will LeBron James Play in Cavs Season Opener Against Celtics?

lebron-james-top-heavy-rantLeBron James has missed several preseason games with a sprained ankle. This isn’t usually a big deal because many teams are cautious with players in the preseason. But what’s raised eyebrows is that King James is listed as questionable for the October 17 opening night game against Boston.

However, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue seems pretty sure that James will play in the opening game. He told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin the following:

“I think he’ll be OK, though. That would be a tough one for him personally to miss. There’s a lot of hype behind the game but like I told him, we got to be smart about it. It’s just one game, but I think he’ll be OK.”

James said that he’s frustrated by the injury. But it’s important that he doesn’t push things because ankle injuries are delicate. If the ligament becomes looser, then a player can easily re-injure it later. James actually re-aggravated his injury just a few days ago.

Cavs vs Celtics Opening Night 2017

Both the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics have rosters that are quite different from the previous year.

The Cavs signed Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose in the offseason. They also made a big trade with the Boston Celtics that sent star point guard Kyrie Irving for Jae Crowder and Isaiah Thomas. Thomas won’t be available until Christmas time, but Crowder will make an immediate impact.

lebron-james-bench-1Meanwhile, the Celtics signed Gordon Hayward, and traded for Marcus Morris and Irving. Taking all of the big moves into account, it’s hard to pinpoint what we can expect from both teams.

This is especially the case on opening night because both squads are trying to make their lineups gel. This is proving really hard for the Cavaliers because they haven’t won a preseason game. Furthermore, their starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Wade, James, Crowder, and Kevin Love has yet to find any consistenty together.

The preseason doesn’t always mean a lot. But in this case, I strongly believe that it indicates the Celtics are more ready than Cleveland right now.

Cavs 2017 Futures

Don’t read too much into my comments above because the Cavaliers are still favored by many to win the Eastern Conference. This is the case in our GTBets futures too because we have the Cavs at -140 for winning the East.

kyrie-irving-celticsThe Celtics have the next best odds at +220. While Boston injected some serious talent this off-season, the problem is that they also had to give up Thomas, Crowder, and Avery Bradley.

Boston was a gritty defensive team last year thanks to Crowder, Bradley, and Marcus Smart. This year, they’ll have to develop a new identity after adding offensive-minded players like Irving and Hayward.

The future looks bright for Boston. But they could be one year away from being favorites in the East. The primary reason why is because LeBron has now made 7 straight trips to the NBA Finals.

While he’s dealing with a new roster in Cleveland this year, LeBron is still considered the best player in the NBA. That said, don’t be surprised to see the Cavs win yet another Eastern Conference title and move on to the championship.