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July 19, 2018

Despite Kawhi trade, Sixers still have better NBA title odds than Raptors

The Spurs reportedly weren't interested in a potential Sixers package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Miami's first-round draft pick for Kawhi Leonard. Instead, the opted to ship the unhappy star up North along with Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected first-round pick.

While the long-term prospect of Leonard staying in Toronto is dubious, as our Sixers reporter Kyle Neubeck pointed out Wednesday, in the short term it makes the Raptors — last year's number one seed in the Eastern Conference — an even scarier team:

With Leonard replacing DeRozan and Danny Green added in for good measure, the Raptors have swapped out DeRozan for a legitimate MVP candidate, and added to their defense and three-point shooting on the wing. A team that was elite on both side of the ball in 2017-18 now has one of the game's best two-way players, and they sacrificed almost none of their depth to make it happen. That is a scary proposition for Eastern Conference teams.

In contrast to last year's Sixers team, who couldn't find defensive depth to save their lives, these Raptors are absolutely loaded with switchable or impact defenders and are going to be a massive pain in the ass to play against. The two-man combination of Leonard and OG Anunoby alone will make life difficult for opponents, and Leonard is capable of taking on the same offensive burden DeRozan carried without defensive warts or shot distribution concerns.

Kyle went on to explain how this is obviously a concern for the Sixers. However, it appears at least one sportsbook is currently more confident in Philly's chances this than Toronto's this year. 

RELATED: What are the ramifications of the Kawhi Leonard trade for the Sixers?Al Morganti: Missing on Kawhi Leonard, Manny Machado huge missteps for PhillyThe biggest takeaways from Sixers' 2018 Summer League tour

On Thursday, the gambling website released updated title odds for the upcoming NBA season, taking the Kawhi trade into consideration. While Toronto's odds improved — and San Antonio's declined — the Sixers' odds were still better than the Raptors.

Here's the full list of 2018-19 NBA futures:

Golden State Warriors -160
Boston Celtics +500
Los Angeles Lakers +600
Houston Rockets +1000
Philadelphia 76ers +1200

Toronto Raptors +2000

Oklahoma City Thunder +5000
Utah Jazz +7500
Milwaukee Bucks +10000
New Orleans Pelicans +10000
San Antonio Spurs +10000
Indiana Pacers +15000
Portland Trail Blazers +15000
Washington Wizards +15000
Dallas Mavericks +25000
Denver Nuggets +25000
Detroit Pistons +25000
Minnesota Timberwolves +25000
Charlotte Hornets +50000
Chicago Bulls +50000
Cleveland Cavaliers +50000
Los Angeles Clippers +50000
Memphis Grizzlies +50000
Miami Heat +50000
New York Knicks +50000
Orlando Magic +50000
Phoenix Suns +50000
Atlanta Hawks +100000
Brooklyn Nets +100000
Sacramento Kings +100000

This seems very high for the Sixers, at least in relation to Toronto. They're still coming off a 52-win season and have two young budding superstars, a potential third in Markelle Fultz (if he actually sorts out the yips), and good surrounding players like Dario Saric and JJ Redick.

However — as Kyle's above reasoning points out — it seems like the Kawhi trade should leapfrog Toronto ahead of Philly.

Anyway, for more actual analysis of how the trade affects the Sixers, check out Kyle's piece here.