Russell Westbrook Trade: Lakers Title Chances Increase by Almost 5% After Acquiring Westbrook

The Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook on Thursday, giving them the star power to challenge for an NBA Championship. How did it impact their title odds?
Brian Good
Fri, July 30, 5:15 AM EDT

Russell Westbrook Trade: Lakers Title Chances Increase by Almost 5% After Acquiring Westbrook

  • Los Angeles Laker make draft-day trade for Russell Westbrook
  • Westbrook trade moves Lakers NBA Championship odds from +500 to +400
  • Lakers are the most backed team to win the NBA Championship since Russell Westbrook trade

The 2021 NBA Draft was an interesting one with plenty of surprises at the top of the draft. But, it was news that broke a little earlier in the day that truly shocked the NBA world.

On Thursday, the Washington Wizards traded perennial all-star point guard Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers for a package that included Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kantavious Caldwell-Pope and the 22nd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The Wizards used the 22nd pick on Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson.

The Russell Westbrook trade does two things. First, it allows the Wizards to build around one central star in Bradley Beal. And second, and perhaps most importantly, it gives the Lakers a Big 3 that can challenge any team’s with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook calling the Staples Center home next season.

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Russell Westbrook Trade Recap

Lakers Get: Russell Westbrook

Wizards Get: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kantavious Caldwell-Pope, No. 22 Pick in 2021 NBA Draft (Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky)

Russell Westbrook Trade Impacts Lakers Championship Odds

As is expected, the Russell Westbrook trade had massive implications on the 2022 NBA Championship odds.

Russell Westbrook is not only one of the most explosive players in the NBA, but he has proven that he can morph and adapt his game to better suit playing with whoever he’s surrounded by.

When he was playing alongside Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, his role was more of a ball-dominant distributor than anything else. When Durant left, Westbrook picked up his scoring. Now, while playing with LeBron James, Westbrook’s role in the Los Angeles Lakers offense will probably look a lot like it did while he played next to James Harden in Houston.

LeBron James is a ball-dominant forward. He brings the ball up for the Lakers whenever he’s on the court. So, you can expect Westbrook to play off ball as more of a slasher with the ability to catch and shoot.

No matter how Russell Westbrook plays in LA, the latest NBA Championship odds following the Westbrook trade have made it clear that the Lakers are a true contender this year.

Prior to the Russell Westbrook trade, the Los Angeles Lakers had +500 NBA Championship odds, implying a 16.7% chance they win a title. Now, the Lakers sit at +400 to win the title and those odds give them a 20% shot of winning their second championship in three years.

  Odds Prior to Westbrook Trade Odds After Westbrook Trade
Lakers Championship +500 +400

NBA Championship Betting Following Russell Westbrook Trade

According to our friends at BetMGM, it’s not just the latest NBA Championship odds that have been impacted by the Russell Westbrook trade. There has also been a massive influx in public bets coming in on the Lakers to win the 2022 NBA championship.

Since the trade was announced, BetMGM has taken been seeing NBA Championship bets come flying in on the Lakers. 21% of all NBA title bets since the Russell Westbrook trade was announced have been on the Lakers to win it all, almost double the amount of bets the next most popular team, the Milwaukee Bucks, have had.

Even more staggering is the amount of money that is being wagered on the Lakers as it seems that sharp money is also on LA. Since the Russell Westbrook trade, 39.7% of the handle, or money bet, on the 2022 NBA Championship has been bet on the Lakers.

Team Public Betting % Handle
Los Angeles Lakers 21% 39.7%
Milwaukee Bucks 11.3% 14.8%
Golden State Warriors 9.6% 9.2%
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