Let’s take look at some fresh numbers with Kevin Durant now with Warriors, Dwyane Wade back home in Chicago and offer up three longshot picks from each Conference.
The amount of money dished out this Summer to Free Agents in the NBA is absolutely mind-boggling and despite all of the moving of tall bodies and signing of huge contracts, most NBA teams will still probably have similar look, feel and play, with most of the league's 30 teams still having their key cogs to build around, including the Memphis Grizzlies (85/1 to win NBA Championship, Betfair) who re-signed G Mike Conley to a 5-year, $153 million deal which included the largest guaranteed amount of money in NBA history.
So a man will earn $30.6 million a year playing a game invented by a bored Canadian with a Peach Basket while the US President takes home just $400,000 annually—or 1.3% on Conley's new wages—for trying to avoid Nuclear War, deal with a hostile, do-nothing Congress while trying to fix all of the problems the previous presidents created. No problema. Playing games and being able to consistently put things like balls and pucks in goals really pays. So, stay out of school kids.
And as you can see from the list below of the L10 NBA Champions, there are fewer surprise teams who can potentially win it all or even get to the NBA Finals, especially in the context of being compared to the other major professional sports (in the USA) like the NFL, MLB and the NHL where it always seems more than 5 teams have a legitimate shot of at least making it to a championship series, whereas in the NBA, it seems to have devolved into an annual party between LeBron James and the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers (15/4 to win NBA Championship, 10Bet) from the Eastern Conference and either and the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs (9/1 to win NBA Championship, Betfair Exchange) from the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Clippers (25/1 to win NBA Championship, Ladbrokes) and the now Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder (20/23 to win NBA Championship, Betway) Looking up at them. There are no Leicester City's (EPL) in the NBA and dabbling in this market with anyone other than the Cavaliers, Warriors and Spurs sort of feels like panning for Gold in the Ohio River.
And this is boring for the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver's sentiments about Free Agent Durant signing with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors can totally be understood by both both the Common Man and Fan as well as the Sports Gambler. Nobody wants to watch a movie to which they know the ending. Nobody wants to watch Survivor, Big Brother or The Bachelorette knowing the winner from Day One. And nobody wants to bet into a Futures Market with a prohibitive favorite as low as the Warriors (20/23 to win NBA Championship, Betway) and a marketplace with just three teams which seemingly have a legitimate shot 11 months out from the 2017 NBA Finals. This is tantamount to Trick or Treating on Halloween with every house in the damn neighborhood handing out the same (Mars Inc.) candy quartet of Three Musketeers, Milky Way, Snickers and M&M's. At some point the kids get really sick (and bored) of getting the same candy in their bags over and over.
Last 10 NBA Champions
2007—San Antonio Spurs (over Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0)
2008—Boston Celtics (over Los Angeles Lakers 4-2)
2009—Los Angeles Lakers (over Orlando Magic 4-1)
2010—Los Angeles Lakers (over Boston Celtics 4-3)
2011—Dallas Mavericks (over Miami Heat 4-2)
2012—Miami Heat (over Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1)
2013—Miami Heat (over San Antonio Spurs 4-3)
2014—San Antonio Spurs (over Miami Heat 4-1)
2015 —Golden State Warriors (over Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2)
2016—Cleveland Cavaliers (over Golden State Warriors 4-3)
2016/17 NBA Championship Odds
Atlanta Hawks 70/1 (Betfair)
Boston Celtics 22/1 (PaddyPower )
Brooklyn Nets 500/1 (Many places including William Hill)
Charlotte Hornets 125/1 (Ladbrokes)
Chicago Bulls 51/1 (Betfair)
Cleveland Cavaliers 7/2 (Betfair)
Dallas Mavericks 170/1 (Betfair)
Denver Nuggets 250/1 (BetVictor, PaddyPower, 888Sport, 32Red)
Detroit Pistons 132/1 (Betfair Exchange)
Golden State Warriors 20/23 (Betway)
Houston Rockets 89/1 (Betfair)
Indiana Pacers 80/1 (BetVictor, StanJames)
Los Angeles Clippers 31/1 (Betfair)
Los Angeles Lakers 332/1 (Betfair)
Memphis Grizzlies 85/1 (Betfair)
Miami Heat 75/1 (Betfair)
Milwaukee Bucks 150/1 (PaddyPower)
Minnesota Timberwolves 75/1 (Betfair)
New Orleans Pelicans 123/1 (Betfair)
New York Knicks 66/1 (Betfair)
Oklahoma City Thunder 41/1 (Betfair)
Orlando Magic 150/1 (Almost everywhere)
Philadelphia 76ers 500/1 (Many places including WilliamHill)
Phoenix Suns 500/1 (Many places including WilliamHill)
Portland Trail Blazers 100/1 (Many places including Bet365)
Sacramento Kings 275/1 (Betfair Exchange)
San Antonio Spurs 9/1 (Sportingbet, Ladbrokes, Betfair)
Toronto Raptors 43/1 (Betfair)
Utah Jazz 66/1 (Totesport, Betfred, Ladbrokes)
Washington Wizards 104/1 (Betfair)
Celtics, Raptors, Bulls Futures Odds Seem To Hold Value in Eastern Conference
As far as pegging three teams from each conference to be potential nuggets of Gold in a field of cow dung, it can be done and now is the best time to analyze what new NBA team Rosters may look like and who may have a legitimate shot at making a run at the Cavaliers (-110 to win Eastern Conference, Betfair), Warriors (-175 to win Western Conference, Betfair) and/or the Spurs (+450 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes). In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics (22/1 to win NBA Championship, PaddyPower), Chicago Bulls (51/1 to win NBA Championship, Betfair) and Toronto Raptors (43/1 to win NBA Championship, Betfair) all seem to hold some perceived value and the obvious rhetorical question for all three is this particular marketplace is can they get to the Eastern Conference Finals and actually have a shot at beating the Cavaliers in a theoretical 7-game series next Spring?
The Celtics (6/1 to win Eastern Conference, Ladbrokes) have a great Head Coach in Brad Stevens, a solid young backcourt duo in Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley and by signing veteran Free Agent Center Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), picking up F Amir Johnson (Toronto Raptors) and drafting promising G Jaylen Brown (California, 20/1 NBA Rookie of the Year, Bovada) in the 1st Round of the NBA Draft, the C's will have a solid Roster and have been slowly bubbling these last couple of seasons.
The Bulls dropped some dead and aging injured big-name weight in C Pau Gasol (San Antonio Spurs), C Joakim Noah (New York Knicks) and G Derrick Rose (New York Knicks) and Chicago (18/1 to win Eastern Conference, Betfred) also signed Free Agent and Windy City native Dwyane Wade (Richards High School) and drafted talented SG Denzel Valentine (Michigan State) with the 14th pick of the NBA Draft and the Bulls will let star G Jimmy Butler run the show this season. But whether or not 2nd-year Chicago Head Coach Fred Hoiberg is the right man to lead this changing team forward remains to be seen and letting go of Tom Thibodeau so rashly last season now seems like a questionable thing with (that) Bulls Roster so beat-up and aging. It's easier to catch Fish with the newer Fishing Poles. And like Boston, the Raptors (12/1 to win Eastern Conference, Ladbrokes) have a dynamic duo at Guards with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan and the Dinosaurs got C Jared Sullinger (Boston Celtics) and drafted big man Jakob Poeltl (Utah, 25/1 to win NBA Rookie of the Year, Bovada) and the Raptors gave Cleveland a run for the money in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
Timberwolves, Thunder, Mavericks Look to Hold Odds Value in Western Conference
In the Western Conference, three live longshot teams who might be worth taking a look at are the Minnesota Timberwolves (75/1 to win NBA Championship, Betfair Exchange), the Oklahoma City Thunder (41/1 to win NBA Championship, Betfair) and the Dallas Mavericks (170/1 to win NBA Championship,Betfair Exchange), the latter who just seem very underpriced at 170/1. The young Timberwolves have had the L2 NBA Rookies of the Year in Karl-Anthony Towns (Kentucky) and Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) and Minnesota (25/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes) signed Free Agents Cole Aldrich (Los Angeles Clippers) and Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors), then aforementioned HC Thibodeau, Kevin Garnett, Ricky Rubio and the Timberwolves picked PG Kris Dunn (Providence) with the 4th pick in the NBA Draft. So this Minnesota team will continue to be one to watch. And even though the Thunder (20/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes) did lose superstar Durant, for now Oklahoma City still has a superstar in Russell Westbrook, two great big men to build around (Steven Adams, Enes Kanter) and Oklahoma City dealt Serge Ibaka to the Orlando Magic (on NBA Draft night) for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the Draft Rights to Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga, 28/1 to win NBA Rookie of the Year, Bovada) and the Thunder also signed Free Agent Álex Abrines (FC Barcelona).
And the Mavericks (66/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes) and (re-signed Free Agent) veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams look like they hold some small value at 175/1 (NBA champs) and 66/1 (West champs) as Team Owner Mark Cuban went into the Shark Tank this Offseason and Dallas signed more than a number of signed Free Agents including Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Jonathan Gibson (Qingdao DoubleStar), Seth Curry (Sacramento Kings) and Quincy Acy (Sacramento Kings) and Dallas also drafted C AJ Hammons (Purdue) in the 2nd Round of the NBA Draft. But seeing this Mavericks team make a deep run in the 2017 Western Conference Playoffs seems unlikely with other teams like the Timberwolves, Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers (66/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes), Houston Rockets (40/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes), New Orleans Pelicans (50/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes), Conley and the Memphis Grizzlies (40/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes) and the upstart Utah Jazz (40/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes) all basically fighting for the same thing—the five theoretical remaining Western Conference Playoff spots behind the Warriors, Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers (14/1 to win Western Conference, Ladbrokes). So, the struggle is indeed real.
FREE NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE—NBA CHAMPIONSHIP FUTURES BOOK LONGSHOT PICKS: Boston Celtics 22/1 at PaddyPower, Toronto Raptors 43/1 at Betfair, Chicago Bulls 51/1 at Betfair.
FREE NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE—NBA CHAMPIONSHIP FUTURES BOOK LONGSHOT PICKS: Minnesota Timberwolves 75/1, Oklahoma City Thunder 41/1, Dallas Mavericks 170/1 at Betfair.