Less than a day after Ben Simmons passed up a dunk and the Philadelphia Sixers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs, PointsBet Sportsbook had odds on Simmons’ next team. Rumors that Damian Lillard wanted a trade have been heating up as the summer goes on. On July 15, PointsBet posted odds on Lillard’s possible future home.
As the rest of the NBA playoffs unfolded, the conversation, especially in Pennsylvania, turned to possible Simmons trade scenarios. Betting on where a player will be traded or where a free agent lands is not permitted in PA due to gaming regulations. But the markets put a sports betting app into the trade conversations and raise brand awareness.
Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard trade odds
PointsBet Sportsbook released a prop on Ben Simmons’ next team if he is traded.
Where will Ben Simmons play in 2022
- Spurs: +450
- Jazz/Thunder: +550
- Warriors: +600
- Lakers: +625
- Cavs: +750
- Rockets: +1000
The Simmons trade prop was only available for PointsBet users in Illinois.
Damian Lillard next team odds
- Knicks: +200
- Sixers: +250
- Heat: +300
- Warriors: +400
- Lakers: +500
- Clippers: +600
- Celtics: +900
- Raptors/Thunder: +1000
The Lillard trade prop was only available in Colorado.
PointsBet is available in New Jersey, but the sports betting app hasn’t launched yet in Pennsylvania.
Simmons trade rumors
Simmons for Lillard, some second round picks swaps should do the trick for this trade, right? Not so fast.
An NBA team executive said the Blazers would get torched if they swapped Dame for Ben.
“He’s still really good,” the executive said of Simmons. “But he’s so broken right now, you’re going to get killed if you do that. And, you’re the guy who replaced Dame.”
Simmons and Joel Embiid have not advanced past the second round of the NBA playoffs during their careers. The Atlanta Hawks beat the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games during the Eastern Conference semifinals. Much of the blame fell on Simmons who shot just 25-of-73 from the free throw line during the playoffs, the worst percentage in NBA history for a player with at least 70 attempts.
Other reasons Simmons might be traded:
- Simmons has always been reluctant to take a jump shot and he did not any shots during the fourth quarters of Games 4, 5 ,6 and 7
- In Game 7 against the Hawks, with three and a half minutes left, Simmons passed instead of taking an open dunk. It bewildered the announcers and the other Sixers on the court. Embiid pointed to the moment as a “turning point.”
- Simmons scored 5 points in the deciding Game 7.
Lillard trade rumors
During eight seasons with the Trail Blazers, Lillard played in 59 playoff games (22-37), but only reached the Western Conference Finals once. The Denver Nuggets beat the Blazers in six games in the 2021 NBA playoffs and Lillard averaged 34.3 points. It was the Blazers fourth first-round exit in five trips to the playoffs and it led to the firing of head coach Terry Slotts.
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported on Lillard possibly being traded:
“The enormous backlash from the Portland Trail Blazers’ process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push him out”
Lillard is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics with Team USA. After the team’s practice on Friday, he said:
“Right now I’m not sure what I’m going to do. What I can say is my intentions and my heart has always been set on being in a Trail Blazers uniform for my entire career. But I think over time, you want to win it all. And I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform. But we all have to be making strides toward that.”
Free agent and trade prop bets
Patrick Eichner, Director of Communications at PointsBet, spoke to PlayPennsylvania about the trade market props.
The sportsbook is most successful getting trade and free agent props approved in Colorado and Michigan. In Jan. and Feb. 2020, sportsbooks including PointsBet started posting odds on Tom Brady’s next team.
“It did very well. Brady is an all-time legend,” said Eichner who added that if you added the handle of the prop markets for Simmons, Lillard, and Aaron Rodgers it wouldn’t come close to Brady’s.
Simmons and Lillard aren’t the only big names possibly on the move this summer, quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been rumored to want out of Green Bay.
“With destination markets, you aren’t moving anything off of data or facts. It’s from rumors and people like Ian Rapoport, Adrian Wojnarowski, and Adam Schefter who are moving the markets.”
Getting creative with betting markets
Previously, trade and free agent props were only available at offshore sportsbooks. Eichner commented how when COVID shut down sports, it forced operators to get creative with their offerings.
“We worked creatively and collaboratively to offer what we could and we are seeing lasting power in that,” said Eichner. “Collectively across the industry, we are all lobbying for legalized expansion. The underlying argument is we are trying to chip away at the offshore market and give people a legal safe means to bet on this (trade and free agent props).”
Lead image John Locher/AP.