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Nikola Jokic Is Top Betting Favorite



According to the latest 2023 NBA Finals MVP odds, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (-400) is the top betting favorite to win the award. Per the BetOnline sportsbook, Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler (+335) has second-shortest odds, followed by Jamal Murray (+1200) and Bam Adebayo (+2500).

2023 NBA Finals MVP Odds: Nikola Jokic Opens As Betting Favorite

Nikola Jokic (-400)

Nikola Jokic is the MVP runner-up to Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, so this should explain why the five-time All-Star is the betting favorite to win the 2023 NBA Finals MVP award. Through 15 starts this postseason, Jokic is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 38.9 minutes per game.

The two-time MVP winner is also shooting 53.8% from the floor and 47.4% beyond the arc. In Denver’s 129-124 second-round Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Suns, the eight-year veteran scored a playoff career-high 53 points in 40 minutes of action.

Jokic has recorded an NBA-record eight triple-doubles this postseason. In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the 6-foot-11 center broke Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967 record for the most in a single postseason. In the regular season, the Nuggets star logged 58 double-doubles and 29 triples in 69 starts.

Jimmy Butler (+335)

Next, Jimmy Butler has second-best odds to win the 2023 NBA Finals MVP award. Through 17 appearances this postseason, the Heat forward is averaging 28.5 points, 7.0 boards, 5.7 assists, 2.1 steals, and 39.3 minutes per game. Butler is shooting 48.3% from the field and 35.6% outside the arc as well.

In the first round, the five-time All-Defensive member became the fifth player in NBA history to record at least 25 points on 50% shooting in six straight games to begin a postseason.

Butler joined LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Bernard King, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In Miami’s 119-114 first-round win in Game 4 over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Heat star scored a playoff career-high 56 points.

On Monday night, Butler was named Eastern Conference Finals MVP in Miami’s 103-84 win in Game 7 against the Boston Celtics. In the series, the Heat star averaged 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.1 assists, and 2.6 steals.

Jamal Murray (+1200)

Additionally, Jamal Murray has third-shortest odds of winning NBA Finals MVP. In the WCF, the sixth-year guard scored 37 points in back-to-back wins against the Lakers in Games 2 and 3. Through 15 starts this postseason, the Kentucky product is averaging 27.7 points, 5.5 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 1.7 steals, and 39.1 minutes per game.

He’s also shooting 48% from the floor and 39.8% from deep. In Denver’s 122-113 first-round Game 2 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Murray posted 40 points in 39 minutes as a starter. It was his fifth 40-point playoff game, passing Alex English for the most in Nuggets history.

If the Nuggets defeat Miami in the 2023 NBA Finals, it’s difficult picturing any other player besides Jokic winning Finals MVP. However, anything could happen. If Jokic falls short of expectations, Murray will have a better chance to win. Injuries and suspensions are other known factors.

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Myles Turner says that fans don’t see NBA players as people




Myles Turner just ended his 8th season in Indiana and is ready for a new challenge this upcoming campaign. In a recent interview in the “Run Your Race Podcast”, he referred to the struggles of being a celebrity in the sport world.

Last week, the Pacers center opened up about how hard it is to interact with NBA fans due to the way they treat athletes. On “Tidal League”, Turner said that they approach players almost as if they were their property, rather than normal people.

“People don’t view us as people, we’re property… You get paid millions of dollars, shut up. That’s kind of how the casual fan views us,” he said.

Of course not all fans treat basketball athletes this way, but there is no doubt that most are disconnected from the player’s reality, which happens in general with public figures from all spheres. According to the 27-year-old, social media is also to blame for creating spaces where people can criticize others from behind a screen.

“Social media has done wonders for the game but it has also f****d the game too… That trade stuff will really f*** with you,” Myles assured.

He then gave took a young NBA player as an example, to show just what kind of struggles a sport celebrity must endure when they achieve fame.

“The one kid who I will say who had a lot of that hype, and I’m actually really impressed with how he’s handling it, is Jalen Green,” he shared. “Jalen Green came (into the league) with a LOT of that hype, bro, even before he got to the Ignite with that social media stuff. Watching him develop into the player he is right now… I have to give him a shout out. It’s actually really impressive. That sh*t is hard.”

Turner also made a bold prediction of placing himself as an All-Star this 2023/24 season

The Pacers big man is hyped for this upcoming campaign, as he recently said on Theo Pinson’s podcast that he’s working to be an All-Star for the first time in his NBA career. Next year’s All-Star Game just happens to be in Indianapolis.

“I’m excited for the All-Star Game obviously,” Turner said. “That’s gonna be in Indiana this year. Y’all gonna see me there by the way. You heard it here first. But having that come to the city and having the league itself all come to show love to Indy, that’s gonna be dope. I think it’s a city that really deserves it. We were about to have the All-Star Game in 2020, then COVID happened. That’s the reason why it got bumped up to this year.”

Six months ago, Myles had one of the best performances of his career. Check out his 40-point performance against Boston in the video above.

The 27-year-old has proven to be an incredible rebounder and defender, leading the league in blocks per match twice already. Last season he put up 18.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per contest while shooting 54.8% from field goal attempts, 37.3% from threes, and 78.3% from the free-throw line.

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Knicks could offer four first-round picks for Giannis Antetokounmpo




The New York Knicks own the rights to four future first-round draft picks and are equipped with plenty of role players to potentially trade away, so will Knicks president Leon Rose offer this package to the Milwaukee Bucks for superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo?

A couple of NBA insiders disagree with this idea, especially SportsNet New York’s Danny Abriano. “If I had to guess, I’d assume that team president Leon Rose & Co. will make moves with Giannis in mind,” he wrote.

“But I don’t think the Knicks will take a ‘Giannis or bust’ approach over the next 18 months. Right or wrong, Rose’s Knicks have shown in the past that they aren’t married to the idea of acquiring any one player (see the Donovan Mitchell trade talks). So I think that New York – along with 28 other teams – will keep tabs on Giannis over the next 12-to-18 months.”

If the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets decide to pursue Antetokounmpo, there’s no way the Knicks will be able to outbid either team. Both OKC and Houston possess a plethora of draft picks and quality players. Therefore, now would be the best time for New York to offer such a trade package.

The worst that could happen is a rejection. No harm done. It’s better to make an offer early rather than too late. Injuries are another factor. What if Antetokounmpo sustains a major injury in the 2023-24 season? That could lead a contender’s front office to think twice before trading for the seven-time All-NBA member.

In other words, delaying a trade makes little sense for the Milwaukee Bucks.

New York Knicks capable of offering Milwaukee Bucks four first-round draft picks, role players in a trade for two-time MVP forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

Last September, fans initially thought the New York Knicks missed out on the chance to trade with the Utah Jazz for four-time All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell. However, the Knicks were reportedly turned down, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that the Knicks and Jazz had discussed a deal last July that would’ve included RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, and three unprotected first-round picks.

After Utah declined the offer, Robinson went on to sign a four-year, $60 million extension with the Knicks. The Jazz were more enticed by the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ trade package. As a result, Mitchell was traded to the Cavs for Ochai Agbaji, Lauri Markkanen, Collin Sexton, and five first-round draft picks (2025-29).

Another point to consider is Antetokounmpo’s contract. The seven-time All-Star can decline his 2025-26 player option worth $51.93 million. If he decides to leave during free agency, the Bucks will miss out on the opportunity to acquire multiple first-round draft picks and role players for the two-time MVP.

It’s just bad business to wait to trade him. In December 2020, the 7-footer signed a five-year, $228.2 million contract extension with Milwaukee. His multi-year deal includes a 15% trade kicker.

The one team the Knicks could outbid for Antetokounmpo is the Lakers.

“The Lakers and the Knicks are already being mentioned as franchises presumed to interest Antetokounmpo down the road if he does decide to move on from Milwaukee, which just made a slew of moves (re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and replacing Mike Budenholzer as coach with Adrian Griffin) to try to appease its face of the franchise,” NBA insider Marc Stein wrote last month.

Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes eligible to sign a three-year, $173 million extension this Friday.

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Raptors Interested In Damian Lillard Trade




In the latest round of NBA rumors, the Toronto Raptors are reportedly among the teams interested in trading for Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Although Lillard is only wanting to play for the Miami Heat, other Eastern Conference teams have been reaching out to Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin.

“I’ve heard that it’s not just one team, that multiple teams in the East [called for Dame], the Raptors being one of them,” Matt Moore said on the “Locked On NBA” podcast. “That’s the thing nobody is really saying, but everyone around the league knows the Raptors we’re amongst the teams. They’ve kicked the tires.”

During Tuesday’s edition of ESPN’s “NBA Today,” reporter Adrian Wojnarowski pretty much inferred that neither the Trail Blazers nor the Heat are budging for Lillard, explaining that both sides want to trade for as little as possible.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Portland Trail Blazers hold 27th-ranked odds to win next season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Houston Rockets.

“[Miami Heat wants] Damian Lillard. They just want him for as little as they’re going to have to give up,” Wojnarowski said. “They’re essentially daring [the Trail Blazers] to go out into the marketplace — which Portland is doing.”

Earlier this month, about 52% of ESPN voters in the network’s 2023-24 NBA Summer Forecast panel believed that Lillard would still be playing for the Trail Blazers when next season begins. As a matter of fact, quite a few fans are expecting an in-season trade.

Moreover, Portland received 52% of the votes, followed by the Heat (44%) and Philadelphia 76ers (4%). Perhaps 4% of the voters thought Portland would trade the seven-time All-Star to Philly for either James Harden or Joel Embiid. Not to mention, Los Angeles Clippers trade rumors are now nonexistent.

NBA Rumors: Toronto Raptors were among the Eastern Conference teams to contact the Portland Trail Blazers to inquire about Damian Lillard trade

Furthermore, the Oklahoma City Thunder are also rumored to trade for Lillard during the 2023-24 season. “I’mma throw a scenario out there, one that is fictional but could be rooted in reality if we look ahead a few months,” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix said Sept. 1 on “The Crossovers” podcast.

“Let’s say Oklahoma City is gangbusters to start the season. Let’s say they win like 60-something percent of their games through January where they’re sitting in the third or fourth seed in the Western Conference — which is not outrageous because, organically they’re going to grow.

“They’ve got a surplus of young talent. They’ve got a surplus of draft picks. What’s to stop Sam Presti from saying, ‘You know what? Damian Lillard’s got 3.5 years left on his deal. Let’s go get him!

“You know, if you’re Portland, you’ve got to be thinking about that scenario or something like that in the next three or four months. Not like, ‘Let’s get Lillard off the roster and take whatever Miami’s going to give.’”

Whichever team ends up trading for Lillard has to be considering his hefty contract. He’s owed $216.2 million over the next four seasons. The 11-year veteran is slated to earn $45.64 million in 2023-24. Additionally, his salary is set to climb to $63.2 million by 2026-27.

After losing Fred VanVleet in free agency, perhaps the Toronto Raptors should pursue Lillard. However, which player(s) would Toronto trade? Pascal Siakam is one star that comes to mind.

Notwithstanding Siakam’s importance to the Raptors, if they have a chance to add Lillard, they have to go for it. In fact, this could be their only opportunity. Another team might beat them to it.

More NBA rumors are on the main page.

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