The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are once again expected to finish one and two in a third-year NBA Finals repeat, like known as the “tiebreaker” — should it happen. Both teams did what needed to be done to remain ahead of the rest of the league this past offseason. The Cavaliers held on to some key pieces, while the Golden State Warriors added the biggest name to enter free agency in years in Kevin Durant.
The long-time Oklahoma City Thunder forward adds power and strength, not to mention depth, to an already impressive group of big men. After an injury-plagued 2014, where he only managed to get in 27 games, Durant returned last year and still managed to post career numbers. He tallied 8.2 rebounds per-game (career best) and 28.2 points per-game, which is the second highest total of his career. With his help, the probability of another Finals appearance for the Warriors grows exponentially. The match-up is a foregone conclusion, according to NBA sportsbook TopBet, Golden State and Cleveland are the two top dogs yet again, so a “tiebreaker” should be in the works.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the Cleveland Cavaliers entered their offseason with the biggest party in the state’s history. Once the dust settled though, the team needed to secure some of their top assets. LeBron James needed to rework his deal and that was done with ease. There was never any serious doubts that LBJ would look for a new home after bringing the Cavs’ first title back to Cleveland in June. However, locking up Richard Jefferson and J.R. Smith were two big bullets on the team’s list of “Things to do”.
Jefferson, a quality veteran depth addition for the 2015-16 season, inked a two-year extension in late-July. Meanwhile, JR Smith remained in limbo for quite some time. However, in early October, during the team’s preseason quest, it was announced that J.R. would return for a 4-year, $57-million dollar price tag.
Essentially, the Cavs are returning to the floor with the exact same mould that brought them gold in 2016. They are currently -330 hands down favorites to take the East and +300 contenders for the title. With the addition of Kevin Durant though, the Warriors are the bookmakers’ top choice though to reclaim that NBA throne.
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