Sportsbooks have been busy juggling their NBA futures odds during the past week, trying to keep up with the frantic pace of NBA player movement.
Big-name trades and high-profile free-agent signings have changed the face of plenty of franchises, turning the 2013 NBA Championship odds upside down.
Here are the biggest adjustments to the NBA title prices so far this offseason:
Houston Rockets (+1,600 to +1,000)
The move may not seem like a lot considering the Rockets landed the top center in the NBA, but books were expecting Dwight Howard to land in Houston and were shading the NBA futures in expectation.
“Whether Howard can shore up a very leaky defense remains to be seen,” Aron Black of Bet365.com told Covers. “However, it’s a great addition to a team that has some good young players and a superstar in waiting with James Harden, who proved last year he can be as good a scorer as there is in the league.”
Related adjustments: The Los Angeles Lakers moved from +1,800 to +2,500 after Howard’s decision. Kobe Bryant’s health is a big question mark and it looks like L.A. is clearing the books – cut Metta World Peace – for the 2014 free-agent bonanza, more specifically LeBron James.
“This team will probably slide towards +3,300,” says Black. “It’s very possible they do what they can this year, but save cap space and go for LeBron or other big name free agents next year.”
The Dallas Mavericks also had their odds tinkered with a bit, coming from +3,500 to +4,000 after bowing out of the Howard sweepstakes. The Mavs could still throw some cash around this summer with Mark Cuban’s pride a bit damaged.
Golden State officially backed off Howard when it was announced it acquired forward Andre Iguodala. The Warriors also added Toney Douglas, veteran Jermaine O’Neal and forward Marreese Speights. Those moves, however, didn’t budge their +2,500 price tag.
Brooklyn Nets (+2,500 to +1,000)
The Nets are saying “now or never” by adding aging all-stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to their dynamic trio of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brooke Lopez. Add to that Jerry Terry’s instant offense off the bench, and Brooklyn may be able to give the Heat a run for their money in the East.
“Brooklyn is effectively trying what the Lakers did last year, and hoping that some older vets can help bring a title,” says Black. “It will just be a matter of all of them fitting together quickly, which is the $64000 question. Can they get it together quickly?”
Related adjustments: The Boston Celtics bid farewell to the remains of their former “Big Three” and plummet from +6,000 to +12,500. Add to that gutting the loss of head coach Doc Rivers and the hire of a rookie NBA coach in Brad Stevens.
Atlanta Hawks (+5,000 to +8,000)
The Hawks watched small forward Josh Smith jump ship to the Detroit Pistons and also bid farewell to Devin Harris and Zaza Pachulia. They also missed out on landing Howard, who hails from the ATL. Atlanta did add forward Paul Milsap from the Utah Jazz and might not be done wheelin’ and dealin’ this offseason.
“Sorry to say Paul Milsap, but you’re on your own for now,” says Black. “Given the economics of his deal, though, there is room to add more. Still, too tough in the East right now for the likes of this lineup as it stands.”
Related adjustments: The Utah Jazz were pillaged this summer losing Milsap to the Hawks and Al Jefferson to the Charlotte Bobcats, forcing books to bump them from +6,500 to +12,500. Jefferson’s big body inside didn’t make a blip on the NBA futures radar, with Charlotte staying at +30,000. Detroit also stayed still at +12,500 despite adding Smith.
Cleveland Cavaliers (+6,000)
The Cavs NBA futures didn’t move, although, Cleveland added some nice talent to the roster this offseason. The Cavaliers brought in shooter Jarrett Jack and forward Earl Clark, who was overshadowed by the star power in L.A. last season, while also drafting Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall. If they can land Andrew Bynum, you may see these odds move.
“I liken them to Chicago about four or five years ago and Indiana about two years ago,” Black says of Cleveland. “If they follow the paths of those two teams, then they can be one to watch in coming seasons.”