There are 11 games on Friday night in the NBA, and this will be the first game for several players with their new teams after the NBA trade deadline. The trade deadline got off to a bang on Sunday when the Brooklyn Nets announced that they were trading disgruntled superstar Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a first-round pick, and two second-round picks. The move made the Mavericks one of the favorites in the Western Conference by the NBA futures odds.
That was supposed to kick off a wave of action, but we have only seen marginal moves over the last few days. The Miami Heat sent Dewayne Dedmon to the San Antonio Spurs for a second-round pick and cash on Tuesday morning, and Brooklyn traded Kessler Edwards to the Sacramento Kings later that day in a salary dump. A lot more moves are expected over the next 30 hours though as teams look to solidify their playoff positions.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers fell on the road against the New York Knicks on Sunday night, and they will look to avenge that defeat on Friday. Philly took a 21-point lead early in this game, but the Sixers only scored 62 points over the final three quarters and ended up losing by double digits. They are now 1-2 against the Knicks this year, so there will be some extra motivation to even the season series here.
Joel Embiid is the second favorite to win the NBA MVP award by the NBA futures betting odds. Embiid is averaging 33.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and 4.1 APG, and he has been a terror on both ends of the court. No one is as physical as Embiid in the low post, but there is a catch as he is currently dealing with a foot injury. If Embiid misses this game, it will be tough to back the Sixers as he has played a big role in their streak that has seen them win eight of 10 games.
Julius Randle is averaging a double-double for the Knicks, but he has a hard time in the low post against Embiid, and New York doesn’t have great shooters aside from offseason addition Jalen Brunson. Meanwhile, the Sixers have two guys that can shoot the lights out in James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris can hit big shots when needed too.
Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Pelicans
One of the best stories through the first couple months of the season was the New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans was 23-13 on New Year’s Day, and it looked like the Pelicans would make the playoffs. However, they lost 10 straight games over a little more than two weeks to fall below .500, and they are currently in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference standings.
New Orleans desperately needs Zion Williamson to return to action, but he is expected to miss another couple weeks with a hamstring injury. He was averaging 26.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 4.6 APG this season on over 60% shooting, but he hasn’t played since going down on January 2.
That has made the Pelicans a big wild card at the trade deadline. They might decide to acquire someone to help right the ship while Williamson is injured, or they could stand pat and see what they have as Brandon Ingram has only played in 21 games this season.
As for Cleveland, the Cavaliers could add another piece or two at the trade deadline. They signaled that they are in win now mode with the decision to trade for Donovan Mitchell, and he has been an excellent addition to a backcourt with Darius Garland and a leader for a young team with a budding superstar in Evan Mobley.
Caris LeVert and Kevin Love could be on the trading block, potentially giving the Cavaliers more pieces to use for a title run. That makes them an interesting play on Friday night, even though the Pelicans will be at home and have two-full days of rest.