The latest take from the folks with money on the line have Erik Spoelstra guiding the Miami Heat to a respectable 7th place spot in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs next season.
In six full seasons without LeBron James, the Heat under Spoelstra’s coaching won a total of 260 games, lost 232 in the regular season, missed the playoffs twice, and made the second round once during that span.
The rock-solid track record of mediocrity without James gives Miami a handicap of +4000 among the oddsmakers, which is one spot ahead of the Washington Wizards, whose +5000 line has them finishing in eighth place among Eastern Conference teams by season’s end next year.
The +4000 number means a person who loves Miami’s chances this season would take in $40 for every $1 they wager on them, or the same as 40/1 odds for an Eastern Conference title by the Heat.
This summer, should Miami sell to teams desperate to win now, buy from teams who have even lower odds to win and looking to dump quality assets, or simply wait until a favorable deal comes along?
The five win-now teams include the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Philadelphia 76ers: they might need assets in case of unexpected injuries during the long trek to the title.
The three teams with longest odds for a championship, the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Orlando Magic, could be looking for a total reshuffle of their personnel for a fresh new product this coming season, and willing to part with intriguing talent as part of the makeover.
Either way, the money people forecast another Miami Heat team which can defeat the Toronto Raptors and lose to the Sacramento Kings in the same season.
This time around though, Tony Fiorentino won’t be there as Eric Reid’s sidekick to provide his colorful commentary.