Lakers somehow become 2020 Finals betting favorites after Klay Thompson’s ACL injury

Despite losing Game 6 of the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, the Golden State Warriors were listed as favorites to win the 2020 NBA Finals with +350 odds, according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.

Then the severity of Klay Thompson’s injury was revealed.

After the team announced that Thompson suffered a torn left ACL, the Warriors’ odds plummeted to +1400, despite ESPN’s Adrian Wojnaroski reporting Thompson could be back sometime in February or March of next season.

Following the change there are seven teams with better odds than the Warriors: The Los Angeles Lakers (+500), the Milwaukee Bucks (+600), the Los Angeles Clippers (+600), the Houston Rockets (+800), the Toronto Raptors (+1000),  the Boston Celtics (+1200) and the Philadelphia 76ers (+1200).

Caesars also lists the Lakers as betting favorites to win the Finals next year at +400 odds, and gives the Warriors slightly better odds than Westgate gave them at +1000.

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The Lakers being title favorites is curious since they missed the playoffs last season and LeBron James will be turning 35 in December. Oddsmakers are clearly banking on LA adding talent in the offseason. Rumors have been flying of an Anthony Davis trade with the Pelicans, or perhaps they will bring in another superstar in free agency to pair with LeBron.

Neither of those things are guaranteed.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported the Pelicans would prefer to ship Davis out of the Western Conference to the Boston Celtics, and might be using the Lakers’ offer as leverage to get more out of the Celtics.

“They’ve preferred to deal with the Celtics since Dell Demps was the general manager,” Windhorst said of the Pelicans. “The Lakers’ offers haven’t changed that much. They have a higher pick, but they don’t really have different players to offer. If he really wanted to make the Lakers deal, and he really wanted the draft pick, he would’ve already made the Lakers deal.”

In addition, with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson expected to miss large portions of the 2019-2020 season, the free agent market has suddenly lost a bit of its dazzle, with Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler targeted as the biggest names on the free agent market. The Lakers have not been heavily linked to either of the three.

The Bucks have the likely reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo, but a number of key players including Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon are set to become free agents this summer.

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The fact that the Clippers are tied with Milwaukee for the second-best odds is also a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, but again, oddsmakers seem to be putting a lot of faith in stars changing teams in free agency. The Clippers have the cap room to land two players on max contracts.

The Rockets, Raptors, Celtics and 76ers are each facing their own personnel questions this offseason, but were also given better odds than Golden State.

Warriors forward Draymond Green warned fans not to count the Warriors out just yet.

“Everybody thinks it’s kind of the end of us,” Green said after the game. “That’s just not smart. We’re not done yet.”

Eric Ting is an SFGATE staff writer. Email: eric.ting@sfgate.com | Twitter:@_ericting

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