NBA: Clippers' title odds lengthen in murky offseason

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Aug 18 2021 05:05 AM

The elephant in the room for a Clippers team seeking its first NBA Finals appearance? The status of Kawhi Leonard.
The elephant in the room for a Clippers team seeking its first NBA Finals appearance? The status of Kawhi Leonard. AFP/file

The Los Angeles Clippers officially bringing back Eric Bledsoe on Monday doesn't qualify as a blockbuster trade, but it's clear that oddsmakers no longer view the team as a legitimate title contender next season.

The Clippers got a bit "younger" with the 31-year-old Bledsoe coming in and Patrick Beverley (33) and Rajon Rondo (35) heading to the Memphis Grizzlies - at least for now. Los Angeles has also re-signed Reggie Jackson and added free agent swingman Justise Winslow this offseason.

But the elephant in the room remains the status of Kawhi Leonard.

The Clippers were initially installed at +800 by DraftKings to win next year's title - tied for the third-shortest odds with defending champion Milwaukee and behind only the Brooklyn Nets (+210) and Los Angeles Lakers (+475). 

Leonard had already undergone surgery to repair his partially torn ACL at that point. However, it was before the free agent period that helped bolster several teams.

After Bledsoe's acquisition became official on Monday, the Clippers were being offered at +2200 by DraftKings. That's equal to the Denver Nuggets and behind the Nets (+210), Lakers (+380), Golden State Warriors (+850), Bucks (+900), Phoenix Suns (+1700), Philadelphia 76ers (+1800) and Utah Jazz (+1800).

The Clippers have reached at least the Western Conference semifinals each of the past two seasons and lost in six games to the Suns this year in the conference finals even without Leonard. However, there remains uncertainty as to when -- or even if -- Leonard will play next season after signing a new four-year contract.

The Clippers have shorter odds at PointsBet (+1800), but they have slid to eighth at the sportsbook, which currently has Los Angeles' 2021-22 regular-season win total market at 44.5.

PointsBet is still offering the Clippers at -400 to make next year's playoffs compared to +290 to miss the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies' title odds at DraftKings have shortened slightly since the beginning off the offseason from +10000 to +90000. That is the same movement as the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks.


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