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Big changes in NBA title odds with James' move to L.A.

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Big changes in NBA title odds with James' move to L.A.

With LeBron James’ decision to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, the entire landscape of the NBA has changed.

One way to look at the impact of a move of this magnitude is to see how drastically the odds have changed at the sportsbooks. The odds are a good indication of both how much money Vegas expects people to bet on a given team to win the NBA title and what oddsmakers expect to happen.

Here’s what the NBA Finals odds looked like before and after James signed for the Lakers.

The numbers on the left had some liability baked in with the possibility of a few different teams getting the NBA’s best player. For instance, the Sixers were a little higher than they should have been because had James signed there, they would be favorites to win the title. Without James, the Sixers fall to 14/1 to take home the Larry O'Brien NBA trophy.

The Lakers jumped from 20/1 to win the title to 7/2, while, interestingly enough, the Warriors' odds to win the title actually got better with him joining perhaps the weakest team of his potential suitors. They clock in at 10/11 odds to repeat as champions.

The other end of the spectrum, the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped from 30/1 to win the title to 500/1.

Time will tell the impact of James' big decision, but there are also a lot of big-name players who have yet to find their new team as well, so the odds will continue to change as more news comes our way.

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This stat shows just how brutal the Sixers have been on the road

This stat shows just how brutal the Sixers have been on the road

It doesn’t take heavy analysis to see that the Sixers are in serious trouble. They’re fifth in the Eastern Conference and both their All-Stars are dealing with injuries

The biggest conundrum with this team is its home and road splits. The Sixers have the best home record in the NBA at 27-2 but fell to 9-21 on the road after a brutal loss to the Cavs Wednesday. 

It was their seventh straight loss on the road and ensured that they will go through the month of February winless away from Wells Fargo Center.

Seems unprecedented, right? Like nobody has ever been this dominant at home and so putrid on the road? Well, that’s because the Sixers are making weird, not-so-great history.

As of now, the Sixers are on pace to be the only team in NBA history to win at least 90 percent of their home games and lose two-thirds of their road games, per Basketball Reference

At 9-21, the Sixers have the same road record as their opponent Thursday, the New York Knicks. Yes, the New York Knicks. The 20-38 Charlotte Hornets have a better road record (11-20).

Brett Brown and it seems like every single player on the team has been asked about the road issues. Nobody has been able to give a concrete answer. Then again, if they had one, this might be figured out.

As it stands, the Sixers are underperforming, and their road woes are the biggest culprit. It won’t get much easier with a four-game West Coast slate that starts Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers and with Ben Simmons and possibly Joel Embiid still on the shelf.

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Former Sixers discuss marijuana use in the NBA

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Former Sixers discuss marijuana use in the NBA

If you have any questions about the use of marijuana in the NBA — the league’s testing procedures, attitudes towards it, why players use it — NBC Sports national NBA insider Tom Haberstroh and NBC Sports Bay Area’s Warriors insider Monte Poole likely have answers.

Haberstroh and Poole have reported an extensive piece, which you can read here, that features wild tales from Stephen Jackson, details on the NBA’s policy on marijuana in comparison to other major professional sports leagues and perspectives from several former players about using marijuana during their careers. 

“Six different NBA players, who did not want to be identified, estimated that the percentage of active players using marijuana in some form — buds, edibles, concentrates, CBD oils, lotions, patches —  was at least 50 percent and as high as 85 percent,” Haberstroh and Poole report.

The story includes a few former Sixers, including Andre Iguodala and Matt Barnes. 

Barnes, who played for nine NBA teams over 14 years, including the Sixers, hosts the Up In Smoke podcast with Jackson. 

“Barnes says he smoked or “self-medicated” as part of his gameday routine,” write Haberstroh and Poole. “He’d go to shootaround, smoke a joint, nap for a couple hours and then go to the game. He did this same routine throughout his entire 14-year career.”

Another former Sixer, Brian Shaw, said he began smoking marijuana while coaching the Denver Nuggets in 2014.

“When I started to, I guess you could say, medicate myself, I was able to take a step back and slow and shut down my brain,” he said.

Igoudala shared his views on why the league treats marijuana use as it does. 

“There’s a reason why,” he said. “There’s a stigma that comes with that and with (black athletes). They don’t let stigmas fade with us. They want to keep it where it is.”

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