BY KEVEN LERNER
After a disappointing 2018-19 season and an offseason of uncertainty, at least one Vegas oddsmaker considers the Miami Heat a real long shot to win next year’s NBA championship.
Less than a week after the Toronto Raptors knocked off the Golden State Warriors for their first title, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook already has published the odds for next year’s champion – and no team has worse odds than the Heat at 200-1.
Five other teams also are being given 200-1 odds, including the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
LAKERS NAMED BEST
The Los Angeles Lakers have the best odds at 3-1 after reportedly acquiring New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the second-best odds at 6-1, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers (7-1) and Houston Rockets (8-1).
The defending champion Raptors are listed at 10-1, while the injury-riddled Warriors are 12-1.
The Heat went 39-43 last season, including a 19-22 home record, and missed the playoffs.
The Heat, who have the 13th pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, also will be without franchise icon Dwyane Wade, who retired in April after his 16th season.
Despite his team already hard up against the 2019-20 salary cap and luxury tax, Heat president Pat Riley remains optimistic the organization will field a competitive team next season.
“Every now and then, I used to call it, you got to tighten the screws,” Riley said after his season-ending news conference on April 13.
“If there is some slippage, and there may have been some slippage in some areas across the board, not just player conditioning, but across the board in a lot of things. Then you jot that down as part of your thought process about what needs to be changed.
“And there will be changes next year. Not a new culture, but to tighten the screws on a culture that sometimes erodes just a little bit.”