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LVSC adjusts future numbers

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Published July 8, Updated July 21

The NBA offseason is far from over but most of the heavy lifting has gone down in the past week. On that note, our friends at Las Vegas Sports Consultants have adjusted the future numbers for several teams to win next season’s NBA title.

With the free-agent signing of Hedo Turkoglu, Toronto has seen its odds moved from 50/1 to 30/1. Likewise, Washington’s number is now 30/1 after opening at 50/1.

The Wizards traded their first-round pick to Minnesota for a pair of veterans in guard Randy Foye and forward Mike Miller. With Brendan Haywood and Gilbert Arenas expected to be healthy in 2009-2010, Washington could re-emerge as a factor in the Eastern Conference after an injury-riddled campaign last year.

“I really like what Washington did in the trade with Minnesota,” LVSC senior oddsmaker Mike Seba told VI. “I think Foye is going to help them a lot in the backcourt.”

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LVSC opened Boston with 6/1 odds to win its second championship in three years. With the addition of Rasheed Wallace, LVSC adjusted the Celtics’ number to 9/2.

“We probably should’ve had the Celtics with lower odds to begin with,” Seba said. “They are obviously starting to age but their window hasn’t closed yet, especially after getting Wallace.”

San Antonio appeared to be fading out of the picture in the West, but the last couple of weeks have changed that. For starters, the Spurs acquired Richard Jefferson in a trade with Milwaukee. Next, they added DeJuan Blair and Jack McClinton as second-round selections who I believe can have an immediate impact as rookies.

Blair is a beast in the paint. His stock dropped due to concerns about his knees, both of which sustained torn ACL’s while Blair was in high school. McClinton is an explosive scorer who can knock down perimeter jumpers when his defender leaves him to double Tim Duncan or any of the other lethal scoring threats Gregg Popovich has had his disposal.

“We opened the Spurs at 10/1 since they were looking like an aging team this past season,” Seba said. “But they had a great draft with Blair falling to them and McClinton, too. And the trade for Jefferson gives them another scorer.”

San Antonio now has a 6/1 number after adding veteran power forward Antonio McDyess on Wednesday.

The Clippers saw their odds reduced to 175/1 from their original number (200/1). With the addition of Blake Griffin and talented players like Baron Davis, Eric Gordon and Al Thornton on the roster, I asked Seba if there was any consideration to making the Clips’ number even lower.

“I do feel like the Clippers have some great young players,” Seba said. “But they never draw any money with future bets, so we just moved them to 175/1 after they got Griffin with the top pick.”

Other teams have also seen their numbers go in the opposite direction. One of those examples would be Phoenix, which sent Shaq to Cleveland and is rumored to be shopping Amare Stoudemire.

The Suns, who opened at 18/1, now have 50/1 odds.

Houston lost Ron Artest to the Lakers but, to its credit, answered with the signing of Trevor Ariza, who played the best basketball of his career during the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Rockets, they are most likely going to be without Yao Ming in 2009-2010. Ming is deciding this week if he’ll undergo season-ending surgery or give his foot three months to heal before coming to a conclusion about going under the knife. The delay, if unsuccessful, could cause him to miss the start of the 2010-2011 campaign.

Rick Adelman’s team opened with 10/1 odds to win the NBA title. That number has been moved to 15/1 at LVSC.

When Milwaukee dealt Jefferson and also lost Charlie Villanueva to the Pistons in free agency, its odds doubled from 75/1 to 150/1.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--If you’re a Hawks fan, you have to love the quietly effective work being done by GM Rick Sund. He found a way to keep Mike Bibby, who is poised to sign a three-year, $18 million deal. That’s a $9 million per year cut from Bibby’s former salary. We all know Bibby can’t defend and he’s not much of a creator off the dribble, but he can still knock down open jumpers with the best of them. When you can do that and play high-IQ basketball, not unlike players such as Danny Ainge, John Paxson and Steve Kerr from the not-too-distant past and Derek Fisher currently, you can still be a solid player on a playoff contender into your mid-30s. Bibby, at 31, still has three good years of hitting 3-balls left in him. He’ll share time with first-round pick Jeff Teauge from out of Wake Forest. The newly acquired Jamal Crawford can also play the point if needed. His acquisition for a bag of peanuts (Acie Law and Speedy Claxton) was a stroke of genius by Sund. Joe Johnson can now trust two shooters (Bibby and Crawford) to hit open shots at crunch time when double teams come. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sund met with the agents for free agents Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia and Josh Childress on Wednesday. Sund didn't let Pachulia get away, as the 25-year-old inked a four-year deal worth about $19 million, according to the AJC. Williams is restricted free agent, while Childress is a trade piece that might net another player or future second-round pick. The guess here is that Williams will stay with the Hawks, but a sign and trade isn't out of the question.

--According to Sekou Smith’s latest blog at ajc.com, Pachulia played 30-plus minutes in six regular-season games and three in the playoffs. In those contests, the bruising back-up center averaged 9.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

--I used to love the way Allen Iverson played, tenacious and fearless despite his diminutive size, especially during the ’01 season when he won MVP honors and led the 76ers to the NBA Finals. But the Philly days are over and his tired act got old quickly in both Denver and Detroit. The chip on Iverson's shoulder used to work to his benefit, as it seemed to signify determination and a hunger to win. These days Iverson just comes off as a whiner, a malcontent. He’s needy, as in shots and lots of ‘em. He’s high maintenance and can’t stomach coming off the bench even though Richard Hamilton was willing to make that sacrifice. The Answer wants to get paid, too. Those just aren’t attractive qualities for a 34-year-old guard that can still score but is certainly past his prime. And that’s why Iverson isn’t getting much attention on the open market right now. He’s unwilling to play for less money and in a reduced role, which translates to Iverson caring more about cash and shots than winning an NBA championship. There’s speculation that Memphis might ante up the type of cash he is looking to get. That would only be fitting because like Iverson lately, they love to sing the blues down on Beale Street.

--LeBron James got dunked on earlier this week by Xavier's Jordan Crawford. Worst of all, according to this report from Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com, LeBron had Nike reps snatch all the video of the alleged facial.

Brian Edwards can be reached at briane@vegasinsider.com.

  
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