NBA Free agency kicked off on Sunday night and did so in a big way. A ton of movement took place immediately in an exciting day filled with unexpected changes. As a result, a number of teams have different looking title odds today.
Note: All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (+1200)The Bucks (+600) have the best title odds in the Eastern Conference, but I think the 76ers are the team to beat if Kawhi Leonard heads west. The common wisdom was the 76ers would have to re-sign Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler to compete, but they found a different (and better in my opinion) way to spend their cap space. Philly is bringing back Harris and shipped off Butler to the Heat in a sign-and-trade for Josh Richardson. He’s a cost-effective wing who is a capable shooter and can defend at a high level. The rest of the cap space was used to sign Al Horford. Not only is Horford a great veteran with playoff experience, but Philly has also snatched up one of the only players in the league with a history of successfully defending Joel Embiid. With these additions, the 76ers should have one of the best defenses in the NBA and they have improved the floor spacing of their starting unit.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (+1200)Despite adding D’Angelo Russell the Warriors stock dropped yesterday. In a best case scenario, there was a chance that Kevin Durant would return to Golden State with a outside shot to recover from a torn achilles and be ready to play in the playoffs. It wasn’t a likely scenario, but if the Warriors could have made the playoffs while getting back Durant and Klay Thompson (torn ACL) for a stretch run then there would be an argument for them to be favored. Instead, it looks like the Warriors’ dynasty is over and the team is looking to reboot. Andre Iguodala was traded to the Grizzlies to free up cap space and the Steph Curry fit with Russell in the back court is far from ideal. Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that Russell is expected to be traded at some point, which could create chemistry issues at the start of the season. The current odds on the Warriors are a bit too short in my opinion. Golden State still has name value, however this roster is not good enough to compete for a title.
BROOKLYN NETS (+2000)For months, a lot of people thought yesterday would be a big day for New York. This ended being the case although not in the way most expected. The Nets made the biggest signings of free agency while the Knicks were faced with the threat of not spending enough money to reach the salary cap floor.
Brooklyn signed Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to become the latest basketball super team. On paper, this is an awesome team, but the Nets are likely at least a year away from vying for a title. While Kevin Durant could potentially be ready to play in the playoffs, the expectation is that he will sit out his first season in New York. Without KD, there isn’t quite enough firepower on the roster to be a serious contender. In two years, this will be a different story. Durant will be back, while Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen should take steps forward in their development. The Nets are setup extremely well for the future if Durant is same player as he was before tearing his achilles.
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (+8000)The bandwagon is still taking applicants, but is dangerously close to filling up. While they won’t be a title contender next season, New Orleans is set up for the future as well as any team in the league and I think they can make the playoffs right away. Things looked grim when Anthony Davis requested a trade, but everything turned when they won the draft lottery. New Orleans got a good haul of picks and young players in the AD trade and it attracted veterans on the first day of free agency. The Pelicans luted in quality veterans in Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick. The biggest void on this roster was perimeter shooting and Redick greatly helps in that area. Favors is a great rim protector to play next to Zion Williamson, giving the Pelicans a potentially elite defense. Give me all the future stock in this team and the over could be an intriguing bet on their win total when the new numbers get released. I expect the Pelicans to win more games than they lose in the first year of the rebuild.
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