In Major League Baseball, it’s possible for both teams from Los Angeles to meet for a championship because the Dodgers are in the National League and the Angels are in the Junior Circuit. In the NFL, the Rams and Chargers are in opposite conferences and thus could play in a Super Bowl (and don’t rule that out this season).
In the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers are in the same division, so the deepest they could meet in the postseason is the Western Conference Finals. Are you aware that in the teams’ 34 seasons together in the City of Angels that they not only have never faced off in the playoffs but never even both been top-four seeds in the same postseason?
Barring major injury, both those droughts could well end next spring.
No question that the Lakers and Clippers have been two of the biggest winners of a completely wild NBA offseason and they are the two title favorites on the updated NBA championship odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the Clippers at +300 and the Lakers at +400. With the breakup/injury issues of the Golden State Warriors, the road to the Western Conference title clearly goes through the Staples Center.
The Lakers struck out on landing Kawhi Leonard but were able to trade for All-Star big man Anthony Davis while adding the likes of Avery Bradley, Danny Green and former All-Star center and one-time Davis teammate DeMarcus Cousins in free agency. Think it’s fair to say that LeBron James will not miss the playoffs for a second straight year barring injury.
The Clippers stunned everyone over the weekend by not only landing Leonard but trading a historic number of future first-round draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for All-Star forward Paul George. Leonard personally recruited George to push the Thunder for a trade – both guys are natives of the Los Angeles area. That deal also cost the Clippers a good veteran in Danilo Gallinari and promising young player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but it was a no-brainer move.
Some reports were that if the Clippers didn’t land George that Leonard was going to sign with the Lakers and give them one of the best trio of players on one team in league history. A Lakers dynasty would be bad business for the Clippers in many regards. Now they are both powerhouses. The Clippers have never even reached the conference finals.
No question the biggest loser this offseason has been the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors as they couldn’t convince Leonard to re-sign. The Dinos may still make the playoffs in the weaker Eastern Conference but likely will be remembered as one-hit wonders. Toronto is +2000 to repeat at online betting sites.
The Milwaukee Bucks (+500 to win title) and Philadelphia 76ers (+800) appear to be the class of the East on those NBA odds. Both lost to the Raptors in this past season’s playoffs, with Philly blowing a 2-1 series lead and Milwaukee giving away a 2-0 series advantage. Toronto’s loss is now their gain.
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