NBA title odds 2020: How Russell Westbrook trade benefits Celtics

NBA title odds 2020: How Russell Westbrook trade benefits Celtics

And you thought the NBA offseason drama was over...

The Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly traded Russell Westbrook to the Rockets on Thursday night for Chris Paul and multiple first-round draft picks, a move that paired Westbrook with James Harden in Houston to form the league's latest "power duo."

The blockbuster deal once again upsets the apple cart in what already was a wide-open NBA. Shortly after the news broke, Jeff Sherman of SuperBook USA in Las Vegas posted updated 2020 NBA championship odds to reflect how the move affected the league.

The Boston Celtics remain at 25-1, the same title odds they had June 30 just after signing Kemba Walker in free agency.

But a closer look at the odds reveals how the Westbrook trade could help the C's. The Miami Heat (and new addition Jimmy Butler) reportedly were in the mix for Westbrook and had 40-1 title odds prior to Thursday but since have plummeted to 100-1 after missing out on the All-Star point guard (even as they may be in the running to land Paul).

In fact, only the Milwaukee Bucks (9-2) and Philadelphia 76ers (8-1) have better title odds than the Celtics in the Eastern Conference, which has thinned considerably after Kawhi Leonard bolted for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Brooklyn Nets initially had the same championship odds as Boston after landing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant but now are listed at 40-1.

The Western Conference, meanwhile, is an absolute mess, with the Rockets bumping up to 8-1 odds but still trailing both Los Angeles teams.

Long story short: There's still a power vacuum in the East with Westbrook staying out West, and the C's are among the squads who could fill it.

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Celtics' Marcus Smart participates in peaceful protest in Boston

File photo

Celtics' Marcus Smart participates in peaceful protest in Boston

Just as his Boston Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown did Saturday in Atlanta, Marcus Smart participated in a peaceful protest Sunday in Boston in the wake of George Floyd's death.

The C's guard was joined by teammate Vincent Poirier and countless others to protest the racial injustices that remain prevalent in the United States of America. Smart talked to NBC Sports Boston's Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely and delivered a message capturing why he and so many others are letting their voices be heard.

"We wanted to come out here and let our voice be heard because we stand for the truth, and we stand for justice," Smart told Blakely. "And we won't stop until we get justice. That's really what this is about.

"I just want to say to everyone who thinks this is something more than it is, it's not. Despite color and gender, the truth is the truth, justice is justice, and justice hasn't been served. And people are pissed off about it, so we're here to keep George Floyd's name alive and keep it going and his legacy. Something has to change, and we're here to try to make a change."

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Smart also tweeted out the following message on Sunday:

Smart, Brown, Poirier, and the other high-profile individuals using their platform to peacefully send their message deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their leadership. There's no doubt they're making the Celtics, the city of Boston, and the rest of the country proud.

Celtics' Jaylen Brown participates in peaceful protest in Atlanta

File photo

Celtics' Jaylen Brown participates in peaceful protest in Atlanta

BOSTON -- The death of George Floyd in Minnesota after ex-police officer Derek Chauvin planted his knee firmly on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, 46 seconds, has brought many throughout the country to protest the rising number of police brutality-related incidents. 

You can count Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown among them. 

Brown was in Atlanta on Saturday participating in a peaceful protest and explained why through his IG Live account why he made the 15-hour drive to be there. 

“Being a celebrity, being an NBA player doesn’t exclude me from those conversations, at all,” Brown said. “First and foremost I’m a black man and I am a member of this community and I grew up on this soil. So, I want to say that first and foremost.”

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Brown was among those in Atlanta walking the streets with signage, making a statement in an undeniably peaceful manner which was in contrast to what was happening in other major cities across America. 

“It’s a peaceful protest; we’re walking, that’s it,” he said. “Raising awareness to some of the injustices we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK. As a young person, you have to listen to our perspective; our voices need to be heard.

Brown added, “I’m 23 years old. I don’t know all the answers. But I feel like how everybody else is feeling, for sure.”