The Golden State Warriors are looking to make history by becoming the first team in NBA history to win back-to-back championships. Standing in their way are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who have looked vulnerable in their playoff run but have superstar Russell Westbrook leading them.
The Warriors were pushed to the limit by the Thunder in last year’s Western Conference Finals, with the Thunder coming within one game of making it to the NBA Finals. This year, Oklahoma City enters as underdogs, but they will be looking to take advantage of the Warriors’ recent championship hangover.
Russell Westbrook has been incredible this postseason, averaging a triple-double and almost single-handedly carrying the Thunder. However, he will need some help from his teammates if they want to upset the Warriors. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony have both struggled offensively in the playoffs, and they will need to step up if Oklahoma City wants to win.
The Warriors are led by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who are both playing at an MVP level this season. Golden State has been dominant all season long, and they seem poised to repeat as champions. However, the Thunder will not go down without a fight, and this series should be one of the most exciting in NBA history.
As the NBA Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers looms, sportsbooks have released their betting odds for the title.
The Warriors are currently favored to win the series, with odds of -160 (meaning you would have to bet $160 to win $100). The Cavs come in as underdogs, with odds of +130 (meaning you would win $130 on a $100 bet).
This is not the first time that the Warriors have been favored in the Finals. In fact, they opened as favorites in each of their previous three matchups against the Cavs. However, the Cavs were able to pull off an upset in each of those series.
One reason why the Warriors are favored this year is that they have arguably one of the best players in NBA history on their team in Stephen Curry. Curry is coming off another impressive season, where he was named MVP and led the Warriors to a record 73 wins in the regular season.
The Cavs will be relying heavily on LeBron James if they want to win another championship. James has been one of the best players in the NBA for over a decade and shows no signs of slowing down. He was dominant in last year’s Finals, averaging 35 points per game en route to a championship.
While it is always difficult to predict who will win the NBA Finals, these betting odds provide some good insights into how sportsbooks view these two teams.
Earlier this offseason, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said that he was going to take a pay cut in order to stay with the team. This came as a surprise to many as Durant is in line for a massive contract next offseason.
Durant made it clear on Wednesday that he plans on taking less money to stay with the Thunder.
“I want to be here. I don’t want to go anywhere else,” Durant said. “I’m happy I’m able to be in this position and make the decision I want for once in my life. It feels good.”
Durant will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and could sign a max contract with the Thunder or another team. He is expected to make around $25 million per year next season, but he plans on taking a pay cut so that the Thunder can bring in some other free agents.
Russell Westbrook is also set to become a free agent next offseason, and the Thunder are hoping to keep both of their superstars together.
Durant has averaged 25.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game since entering the league in 2007-2008. He has been selected to the All-Star team six times and won MVP honors in 2014.
Russell Westbrook has been a part of the Oklahoma City Thunder since they drafted him in 2008. He has made it his home and his team, but this may be coming to an end. Westbrook has stated that he is willing to take a paycut in order to keep the team together.
This news comes as a bit of a surprise because Westbrook is in the middle of a five-year, $205 million contract. Many people believe that he should take the money and run, but Westbrook says he wants to do what is best for the team.
“We’ve been through everything together – highs, lows,” said Westbrook. “I want to continue that bond and continue to play with these guys.”
Westbrook’s decision could have a major impact on the Thunder. If he were to leave, it would likely mean that Paul George and Carmelo Anthony would leave as well. The Thunder would then be rebuilding from scratch.
Westbrook is coming off of an MVP season in which he averaged a triple-double for the second year in a row. He is one of the most dominant players in the NBA and his decision could have a big impact on the league as a whole.
Doug McDermott, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, has agreed to sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder on a three-year deal worth $22 million. The 6’8” forward out of Creighton averaged 16.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game during his three-year college career, shooting 45.8% from the field and 40.8% from 3-point range.
McDermott provides some much-needed scoring depth for the Thunder, who lost Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors in free agency. He will likely come off the bench behind 2016-17 MVP runner-up James Harden and former Sixth Man of the Year candidate Enes Kanter. McDermott should see plenty of playing time in Oklahoma City, as he is one of the most offensively versatile players in the league.
His addition should also take some pressure off of reigning Rookie of the Year point guard Russell Westbrook, who will now have another playmaker to help him distribute the ball. With Westbrook and McDermott in the backcourt, along with forwards Durant and Serge Ibaka (assuming he re-signs with Oklahoma City), the Thunder should be one of the contenders in the Western Conference next season.