The New York Knicks haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, and are fresh off a 17-win season this year — the worst in the league.
Yet thanks to Kevin Durant, one sportsbook is giving them incredible odds to win the NBA Finals next season.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened with the Knicks at 16-1 odds to win the championship in 2020, according to ESPN. Only three teams in the Eastern Conference hold better odds: The Milwaukee Bucks (9-2), Boston Celtics (7-1) and Philadelphia 76ers (10-1).
Many expect Durant to leave the Warriors at the end of this season, making him one of the most sought-after free agents in the league. The Knicks have almost $73 million in salary cap space this summer, the most in the league, which would allow them to sign two players to max deals. SuperBook vice president Jeff Sherman said he believes the Knicks are the favorite to sign the Warriors star, too, which is why they have such great odds to win the championship.
If they don’t land Durant — or any other big name — in free agency, however, Sherman said their championship odds will likely fall to the 300-1 range.
If the Knicks land both Durant and Kyrie Irving, who also has the option to leave Boston this summer, Sherman would give the Knicks the second-best odds in the Eastern Conference — behind only the Bucks.
"I could see them at 12-1 [with Durant and Irving]," Sherman told ESPN. "All we're doing is making these odds based on today's perception on where people think these guys might have a legitimate chance of going."
Warriors down, still early favorites
The Golden State Warriors have been the betting favorites to win the NBA Finals for the past three seasons, and will be again this summer.
This offseason, however, is different. While they’ll still be the betting favorites — the SuperBook has them listed at 7-4 to win the championship in 2020, per ESPN — it won’t be like years past.
For the moment, Sherman said they’ve put the Warriors in a “middle ground” of sorts while waiting Durant’s decision.
"Before Durant, [the Warriors] were still the best team," Sherman told ESPN. "Even if Durant comes back, we'll make an adjustment downwards, but they won't be [odds-on] favorites like we've seen in the past couple years. We'll obviously bump them up if he leaves, but it's kind of a middle ground now dealing with this team."
Per the report, the Los Angeles Clippers also have 16-1 odds to win the championship. The Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Lakers sit at 20-1, and the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder are at 25-1.
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