June 04, 2018
Collargate (also known as burnergate) isn't swaying Vegas against Philly — at least for now.
While the 2018 NBA Finals are still underway, Westgate sports book released the first odds for teams to win the 2019 NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors — up 2-0 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in this year's Finals — unsurprisingly are the early favorites at 5/4.
Coming in second are the Houston Rockets at 7/2. Tied with Houston and with the best odds in the Eastern Conference are your Philadelphia 76ers, also at 7/2. The Boston Celtics, who trounced the Sixers in the conference semifinals 4-1 and are expected to get stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back healthy next year, come in fourth at 8/1.
As noted by NBA reporter Keith Smith, these odds are contingent on where impending free agent LeBron James signs next season. The Sixers are considered among the favorites to sign James...
Opening odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals from Westgate Las Vegas:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 3, 2018
Note: odds are skewed towards potential LeBron James FA destinations per Westgate.
... of course, that storyline is overshadowed by the current scandal surrounding the team. It's been almost a week since The Ringer broke a story about five "burner" Twitter accounts that may be linked to team general manager Bryan Colangelo. Four of those accounts tweeted criticism of Sixers players and head coach Brett Brown and released potentially sensitive medical information about players.
Striking similarities in the accounts suggests that they may be run by the same person, and possibly by Colangelo himself or someone close to him (Twitter sleuths and subsequent reporting have strongly suggested his wife may have been behind the accounts, although that is not confirmed.)
The scandal has raised questions about whether players will want to sign with a team that employs a GM they can't trust. Despite this, former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin still believes the Sixers have a "leg up" in potentially signing James. And other sports books still like Philly's chance at landing The King, who currently finds himself down two games in the Finals with a supporting cast that is almost objectively less appealing then a young core that includes Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric.
Still, the longer the Sixers don't make a decision about Colangelo, the more the team may be putting a chance to sign marquee free agents – like James — in jeopardy.