Posted on July 1, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Free agency is something you either love or hate as a sports fan. You love it because it gives your team a chance to acquire a player that can make your team a contender. But you hate it because it can take your team’s best player turning your team into a pretender.
That was certainly the case as the first few hours of free agency unfolded for the NBA Sunday evening.
For weeks, the buzz surrounding the New York Knicks had been electric. With enough cap space to acquire two max-level guys, it appeared as if the end of the agony was in sight. They may have to wait a year for Kevin Durant to recover, but with Kyrie Irving and R.J. Barrett, they could be respectable next season.
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But then they signed Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and Reggie Bullock instead. So, it is not shocking that their odds to win the championship next year ballooned from +5000 at the Westgate as of noon Sunday to +20000 as of 10 PM Sunday night.
They have since settled down at +10000.
However, while the Knicks total botched free agency yet again, there are several teams that are in a much better position then they were in heading into free agency. Some of them may even be good enough to contend in their conference, and maybe even the championship.
So, don’t be surprised to see these teams (with their latest championship odds) make a deep run into the playoffs next year (odds via the Westgate):
- New Orleans Pelicans +5000
The talk has not been great about a team that was barely mediocre last season with Anthony Davis now that he is gone. But the roster now included Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart J.J. Reddick, and Derrick Favors. If Alvin Gentry is up to the task, the Pelicans stand to be a very competitive team.
- Utah Jazz +1600
Normally, when a 50-win team loses as many guys as they did Sunday (Jae Crowder, Grayson Allen, Kyle Korver, Ricky Rubio, and Derrick Favors) they are not going to be better. But when you replace them with Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Ed Davis you can get better.
- Indiana Pacers +4000
Before Victor Oladipo went down with a season-ending injury last year, the Pacers were looking like a legitimate contender in the East. They limped to the finish line without him and were easily dispatched in the playoffs because they didn’t have anyone else that could step up (although Bojan Bogdanovic tried).
But Malcolm Brogdon could be that guy; Jeremy Lamb was a nice addition as well. When Oladipo returns, he, Brogdon and Lamb are going to be tough to beat.
Of course, many of the usual candidates will be in the mix as well. Golden State may have lost Kevin Durant and will be without Klay Thompson but picking up D’Angelo Russell (or whoever the trade him for) will make them interesting to watch. The 76ers, Celtics, Nets, and Bucks had busy days and will certainly be playoff bound again as well.
The Lakers, who stood pat as the craziness ensued, saw their odds creep up to +175. But if they should manage to steal Kawhi Leonard away from the Raptors that number is going to drastically change.