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Los Angeles Lakers favorites to repeat as NBA champions in 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers are the +350 favorites at the Westgate to repeat as NBA champions in 2021.

The Los Angeles Clippers are the 5-1 second choice, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks (7-1), Golden State Warriors (8-1), Brooklyn Nets (10-1), Boston Celtics (12-1) and Miami Heat (14-1).

The Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets are each 20-1, and the Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers are each 30-1.

“The last few years, only a few teams figured to be in the mix,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “But it looks like it’s getting closer and closer. More teams will be in the mix next season.”

The Lakers won the 2020 NBA title Sunday, beating the Heat in six games behind NBA Finals MVP LeBron James, who appears stronger than ever at 35.

“It seems like LeBron gets younger as the years go by,” Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said. “One thing the Lakers have going for them now is they’re going to have the nucleus of that team back and other free agents are going to want to sign on the cheap.

“An example is free agent Danilo Gallinari, who came out and said title chances are more important than money.”

The Clippers and Bucks were alongside the Lakers as the top three NBA title favorites all season before they each were upset in the playoffs and failed to reach their respective conference finals.

The Warriors finished an NBA-worst 15-50 this season but are expected to be contenders again next season with a healthy trio of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Golden State also owns the No. 2 pick in the Nov. 18 NBA draft.

“I think the Warriors will trade Andrew Wiggins and package him with the No. 2 pick to get some veteran presence in there to win now,” Sherman said. “That’s just speculation on my part that they’ll get a Bradley Beal-type player. It wouldn’t do any good to add a young guy. The next few years is their window.”

The Nets were swept by the Raptors in the first round of the playoffs but are expected to contend next season with a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the lineup. A Westgate bettor made a $20,000 wager to win $280,000 on Sunday on Brooklyn (14-1) to win the 2021 title.

Boston lost to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals and Toronto and Philadelphia, with new coach Doc Rivers, also can’t be counted out in the East.

“It looks like it’ll be more of a battle in the East than the West,” Sherman said.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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