NBA Futures Odds Updated after LeBron James joins Cavaliers
by Trevor Whenham - 7/11/2014
Needless to say, things have changed just a little bit in the NBA futures market in the last few hours. When LeBron James rocked the foundation of the league with his announcement that he was returning home, the Cavaliers immediately and predictably became the favorites to win the title. The Heat, meanwhile, are no longer favorites - not by any means. So, how have all the changes shifted the search for value in the futures market? Let's take a look ( odds are from Bovada):
Cleveland Cavaliers (4/1): You could have gotten at least 30/1, and higher in spots, just a week or two ago. It's amazing how quickly things can change. This price is, of course, completely ridiculous right now. James is the best there is, and Kyrie Irving could be special - and is already the best point guard James has played with. There are a lot of uncertainties on this team, though - both in terms of usage and youth. This is public exuberance over the deal driving the price more than anything. This, as it stands right now, is far from the top contender in the league. They aren't even the top contender in the East right now. Of course, you could view this as an investment in the future. If Cleveland can pull off a deal to land Kevin Love then suddenly everything changes. I can't think of more than one or two players who are better suited to playing with James, and this new Big 3 would be good enough for 60 wins and real contender status. If you think that Love is going to happen then this isn't a horrible bet - though there would still be no value here.
San Antonio Spurs (5/1): The Spurs have stayed out of the chaos and have quietly had a very good offseason. They locked up who they needed to, and they basically stayed the course. They are the class of this league - in more ways than one. The concern, of course, is that they are not getting any younger, and at some point that will catch up to them. On the other hand, they know that their window isn't going to be open forever, so they will be highly motivated to win while they can. They are the deserving favorites until they prove otherwise.
Oklahoma City Thunder (13/2): They weren't quite good enough last year, and they haven't done enough to change that. Kevin Durant is the best player on the planet outside of Cleveland, but he doesn't have enough around him to go all the way - unless the teams around them disappoint. I see no value at this price - not given the arms race that has been this summer so far.
Chicago Bulls (7/1): This is another big "if". They are reportedly one of just two teams that Melo is considering - though not the favorite. With Anthony this price would be more than fair - especially if Love doesn't end up in Cleveland. Without him, though, this is probably a touch low. It is an obvious concern that they have aggressively pursued everyone available, and it seems quite possible that they will have no takers. Circumstances have a lot to do with that, but it still isn't a ringing endorsement of the core of this team - at least given the fragility of Derrick Rose's knees.
Houston Rockets (7/1): If they get Bosh - and as I write this it seems very likely that they will - then this is an intriguing choice. I think Bosh is a better fit in Houston than he was in Miami lately. He and Howard and Harden make a fearsome trio, though I have some doubts about the toughness of Howard at this point. If this team was in the East the odds would be much lower. As it sits they are the third-best team in the West according to odds. That seems about fair. Of course, any bet here requires a leap of faith that the chemistry will work - far from a certainty when Howard is involved.
L.A. Clippers (10/1): They have done nothing of note and have fallen from the public mind as a result. They had a strong season and a decent playoff run, though it was hard to believe that they were going to be able to go all the way with what they have now. Now at least one team in the conference is better, so it is going to be even harder for the Clippers to break through. This price is right, I guess, but I sure don't like it.
L.A. Lakers (33/1): This price makes me laugh. The public loves the Lakers, and they will back them no matter what. This price obviously doesn't put them among the favorites, but it is still comically low. Who do they have? An old and beaten up Kobe who is harder and harder for anyone to play with. Jeremy Lin - if the deal with the Rockets that is being reported goes through. No Nash. No Pau. No free agent of note. No coach. It's going to be an ugly, ugly year.
Miami Heat (50/1): How cruel this league can be. A couple of days ago the Heat were favored to win it all. They had added a couple of role-playing free agents and seemed to be ready to return their core. Then their world imploded. Now James is gone, Bosh is about to follow him, and their best player has knees that are totally shot. The only good thing you can say about this team at this point is that they have plenty of cap space.
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