The first round of NBA free agency has come to an end, but some big names are still deciding on their new homes.
As of Saturday morning, the most impactful name left on the market is Brook Lopez. Should Lopez decide to leave for Houston or Los Angeles, the two teams rumored to be vying for his services, it could have a large impact on the odds for either of those teams and Milwaukee.
Russell Westbrook and D’Angelo Russell are the two biggest names left on the market, but neither would impact a team’s odds to win a title. So, with mostly role players and non-impact performers left on the market let’s examine some of the biggest shifts in the market.
Odds via DraftKings
This is an adjustment that is not complete, and it really has nothing to do with free agency. James Harden opted into his player option in order to facilitate a trade to another team. Harden’s eventual departure, along with whatever return Philadelphia receives, will be what shapes this number. Georges Niang departed for Cleveland via free agency, but that is not a loss that would alter the title odds for a team like this.
Dallas retained Kyrie Irving after signing him to a three-year, $126 million contract just a few hours into free agency, but the Mavericks’ odds to win a title dipped instead of rose. This has more to do with the teams below them, namely Cleveland. The Mavericks also inked Seth Curry to a two-year deal, but there is still more work to be done for a team which finished 9-18 after acquiring Irving at the trade deadline last season. Frankly, they should not have better odds than the next team on the list.
Cleveland desperately needed some help on offense for Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, and they got it in free agency. The Cavaliers landed their biggest target, Max Strus, in a sign-and-trade for only a second round pick, and they added much needed wing depth in Georges Niang. Cleveland was an average shooting team last season, finishing 16th in 3-point frequency and 14th in overall 3-point percentage. Strus gives them a pure shooting threat that can play alongside their starting backcourt and Niang can do the same while playing power forward. The Cavaliers hit it out of the park on Friday, and if there were an NBA Finals bet to make coming out of the early free agency period, it would be on this team at 25-1 or better.
Fred VanVleet left for Houston on Friday, and Toronto responded by signing Dennis Schröder to a two-year, $26 million contract. The Raptors have some very important decisions to make in the coming months. Pascal Siakam is in the last year of his contract, and his window does not match with that of Scottie Barnes who is thought to be their franchise cornerstone. Toronto also signed Jakob Poeltl to a four-year, $80 million contract, but this team is far from contention and could be worse when the regular season comes around.
Bruce Brown was due for a big payday this offseason and he got just that. Indiana signed Brown to a two-year, $45 million contract and in the process sent off Chris Duarte to Sacramento for some draft compensation. The result is an intriguing Pacers team with great young talent in Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin and Jarace Walker, along with good veterans like Buddy Hield, Myles Turner and Brown. This might not be a team which wins a title anytime soon, but look for Indiana to push for a seat at the play-in tournament next season.