The last 24 hours have been incredibly busy in the NBA in terms of transactions and trades. In regard to the latter, the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise made some major headlines in conjunction with the Indiana Pacers. The two franchises swapped some players with the stand-out small forward going to OKC and both Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis going to the Pacers, a trade that was reported on at NBA.com (June 30th). The move may have an effect on the favorites for the NBA's MVP Award for next season.

Westbrook one-and-done as MVP?

Several days ago, Russell Westbrook won the award at the inaugural NBA Awards Show. The award was for the regular season, one where Westbrook stood out as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. A significant development in Westbrook's incredible season was the degree to which he was depended on as a member of the Thunder.

Kevin Durant went to the Golden State Warriors a year ago, and that left Westbrook as the only bright light in Oklahoma City. What resulted was a non-stop green light for shooting and an unusual amount of time handling the ball.

With the athleticism and skill that Westbrook possesses, the conditions were right for an incredible season in 2016/17.

But with Paul George joining OKC's starting lineup for next season, Westbrook certainly won't be relied on as heavily as he was last season. The trade stands to make the Thunder a better team overall, but the MVP Award is a different consideration. Westbrook probably won't duplicate his stats next season, and that may bring him out of the MVP limelight.

James Harden likely to win MVP

With Chris Paul joining the Houston Rockets, it might be James Harden that wins the MVP Award in 2017/18.

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Harden was already in the mix this season, so it's not like winning the award is beyond his ability. The Rockets added Paul and the point guard has incredible passing skills. He certainly brings some scoring to the table, but that might just make the Rockets one of the better scoring teams in the NBA next season.

Harden could benefit from having Paul in the starting lineup. If Westbrook's stats regress a bit and Harden has a great season, then his numbers might certainly hold up for the coveted MVP Award.

Kawhi Leonard and Lebron James are two players that might win the award too. Leonard has buzzed around winning the award as he was a finalist at the awards show in June. Furthermore, he finished 2nd in MVP voting for his achievements in the 2015/16 season.

James has won the MVP Award four times in the past. This last season, he was seen as snubbed following a very productive regular season where he did so much for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The King rediscovered his outside shooting, scored 26.4 points per game, and was very effective passing and rebounding as well.

If Westbrook is expected to regress due to decreased dependency, both James and Leonard have better chances to win the MVP next season.

As for the outright favorite, it's hard to look passed Harden. Lebron James will be 33 years old late in 2017 and players of that age do not typically win the MVP. Leonard is a viable candidate, but it seems that his defensive contributions are not considered to the same degree as the offensive ones.

Certainly, Harden will see a lot of the ball in Houston next season with his best teammate more than happy to act as a passer.

That creates conditions where Harden might win the award after the disappointment of losing to Westbrook several days ago.

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