The Brooklyn Nets entered this season with championship aspirations. Now that the team has traded just about all of its assets for James Harden, failing to reach the 2021 NBA Finals would have to be considered a major failure.

Only the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers have better odds to win the title in the aftermath of the blockbuster trade. Not only are the Nets the favorites in the East, but their odds to represent the conference in the NBA Finals are twice as good as those of the next team, according to BetOnline.

Brooklyn has +150 odds to lose in the NBA Finals and +300 odds to win the title. The Milwaukee Bucks are second in the East with +300 odds to win the conference.

The Lakers have +250 championship odds. Los Angeles has been the clear favorite since winning the 2020 NBA Finals and posting the best record in the league through the first month of this season.

On paper, no NBA team has more star power than the Nets. Harden has won three straight scoring titles. Coming off a torn Achilles, Kevin Durant is back to performing like the league’s second-best player. Kyrie Irving is among the league’s best guards when he is healthy and playing with the team.

In his last four seasons with the Houston Rockets, Harden never failed to reach the second round of the playoffs. Before missing all of last season with an injury, Durant’s teams made four straight trips to the conference finals.

Failing to win a championship within the next couple of years could cost the Nets dearly. All three stars will be able to leave Brooklyn in 2022 free agency.

By trading three first-round draft picks and four first-round pick swaps to the Rockets, the Nets will have little chance to successfully rebuild their roster if they lose their top players.

James Harden Kevin Durant
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and teammate Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors and Team LeBron watch on from the bench during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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