After the NBA Trade Deadline: Updated Season Outlook and Futures Odds

What do NBA futures look like now that we've moved past the trade deadline?

February 12, 2024

The NBA trade deadline has passed, and while we may not have seen the same fireworks from one year ago, there were still plenty of impactful moves. What made it interesting wasn’t the top-tier teams making those moves — instead, we saw emerging teams making additions in the hopes of taking down some of the expected powers. Here’s where everything stands now.

Eastern Conference

The Celtics (+270) have the shortest odds to win the championship, given their net league-leading 9.6 net rating. They acquired Jaden Springer and Xavier Tillman, both of whom are injured. Each could provide depth upon their return, but Boston is relying upon their core remaining good enough. From what we’ve seen this season, there’s not much reason to doubt that.

The Bucks (+550) are arguably Boston’s most realistic obstacle to reaching the NBA Finals. The team flipped backup point guard Cam Payne to the Sixers for Patrick Beverley. That may seem like a rather pointless swap, but Beverley will add defensive tenacity to a roster that has been mediocre. We know Damian Lillard and Giannis will get the job done, but finally getting Khris Middleton back and fully healthy from a knee injury will be the real key to watch down the stretch.

Since Joel Embiid went down Feb. 1, the 76ers (+2500) have gone just 2-4 (through Feb. 11). He should be at full strength in time for the playoffs, but Philadelphia will have to tread water until then. Buddy Hield, acquired at the trade deadline, should help them do just that.

By nailing four triples in each of his first two games with his new team, he’s helped provide much-needed spacing to the offense. To this point in the season, Philly has made only 11.4 three-pointers per game — 27th in the league. While not officially a trade, the 76ers will also benefit from the post-deadline buyout market with the signing of Kyle Lowry. Lowry is well past his prime, but he’ll serve as a veteran capable of running the second unit.

The other big mover in the East was the Knicks (+2000), who added Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks. Bogdanovic played 33 minutes in his debut, and while he shot just 3 for 10 from the field, he’ll have a significant role in any hope the Knicks have to make a deep postseason run.

Meanwhile, Burks dropped 22 points in as many minutes. That type of production is unsustainable, but he could emerge as the type of role player the Knicks need to step up in the biggest playoff spots. All told, the Knicks have the third-shortest odds to win the championship out of the East, ahead of similarly-situated rivals such as the Cavaliers and 76ers.

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In the East, there are two other teams worth mentioning. The Cavaliers (+2500) are the hottest team in the league, winning nine straight and 17 of their last 18. They stood pat at the deadline, but why mess with success? They have a strong combination of star power (Donovan Mitchell) with young depth pieces that give them multiple paths to victory each time they take the floor. They aren’t the odds-on favorite to win the East, but they’ll be a tough out for any team.

The Pacers (+8000) nabbed the biggest superstar in trades around the deadline by acquiring Pascal Siakam back on Jan. 17. The team has gone just 6-7 since, so the move hasn’t necessarily gone as planned. Even so, the Pacers are clinging to the sixth seed and should have a decent chance to avoid the play-in tournament. Any success beyond that appears unlikely.

Western Conference

The Nuggets (+430) stood pat and will simply look to get hot in the second half of the season to defend their title. They have the shortest odds in in the conference.

Similarly, the Clippers (+550) have surged after a slow start to emerge as a true contender, but they made their impactful acquisition by getting James Harden just days into the season.

That leads us to the Suns (+1400) and Thunder (+2000). The Suns acquired Royce O’Neale from the Grizzlies, and general manager James Jones made it clear how they envision him fitting in on the roster. In a press release, Jones praised O’Neale’s physicality and three-point shooting, as he’s made 2 three-pointers per game and has also been a solid defender. While he’ll add value, the outcome of the season will remain in the hands of the trio of Bradley Beal, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant, who will need to continue to build chemistry and remain healthy.

OKC has delivered on their preseason hype and are tied for third in the West and a half game out of first. However, they’re exceptionally young —  their starting lineup has an average age of 22.6 with no one over 25 — which could lead to an underwhelming performance in their first taste of high-leverage playoff games.

Adding Gordon Hayward provides playoff experience, as he boasts 16 postseason starts. He’s currently sidelined by a calf injury and hasn’t played since late December, so while his statistical impact may be limited, his best contribution could come as a mentor. All in all, it feels at least one year too early to bet on the Thunder taking home a championship, but the pieces are clearly there for a strong future.

After starting 8-2, the Mavericks (+3000) have been mostly mediocre. As in past seasons, Luka Doncic still waits for reliable playmakers to emerge around him. Kyrie Irving would fit the bill, but he’s missed nearly half of the team’s games. When he’s sidelined, Dallas had zero double-digit scorers alongside Doncic.

That changed at the deadline with the additions of both Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington to their frontcourt. Do those additions make them legitimate NBA championship contenders? Likely not, but it could give them the chance to track down the Pelicans for the Southwest Division (+122).

Dale Weber
Dale began working at RotoWire in 2017 writing MLB game wraps. He now covers primarily MLB, NFL and racing, but also has experience writing in a wide range of sports, including MMA, golf and soccer.