NBA Picks: Western Conference Preview

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 1:29 PM GMT

As we sit on the verge of the start of free agency, there aren’t that many Western Conference teams that can offer big money to big free agents. The NBA Odds in the West might be similar to this past season, and that would mean San Antonio is the favorite.

Love isn’t all you need, but it’s close
Kevin Love’s name might be the most spoken name in the sport once Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James sign. However those two will likely stay in the East, and we will know their fates within a week to ten days from now. However the Love saga may be over in a week, or it might not resolve itself for another eight months.

The front-runner still looks to be the Warriors, and even though they may not be willing to throw in Klay Thompson as a part of a deal, that doesn’t mean they won’t try getting Love for a cheaper price. Although the Warriors seem like the only team with a real shot at landing and then keeping Love, there are other teams that are in the rumors. The Nuggets are another team that could be in the mix with the amount of assets they have, and if the Bulls miss out on Carmelo, they may call on Flip Saunders.

In my eyes, I don’t see Love getting traded for now. If he didn’t get traded on draft night, it might take until training camp opens up for talks to pick up again. If he doesn’t land on another team by the time we reach the middle of September, a trade might not happen until February.


Spurs repeat?
The Spurs’ championship run was something magical this season. However can they under the right circumstances do it again? San Antonio is bringing back all of their core from last year’s championship run, and their only free agents are Patty Mills and Boris Diaw. I doubt the Spurs or Diaw want to break up their relationship, but Mills may be tougher to bring back. However the Spurs have about $10 million in cap space to work with this offseason, and can easily bring in another back up point guard if Mills gets swept up in a mutli-year and eight-figure deal.

The key for the Spurs may not be themselves but the rest of the West. If Love does indeed come over to Golden State you have to view them as a contender. The Warriors have played the Spurs tough for a few years now and with Love they might have enough to get them over the top. If the Thunder make some bold moves this summer they too could easily compete, along with the Clippers as well.


OKC, LAC and the rest of the West
For those who thrive on parity, the West isn’t going to be your conference next season. Barring a blockbuster trade to bring Love to Oakland, I see the West shaping up very similarly to last season. The Spurs will likely be at or close to the top along with the Thunder and possibly the Clippers, with teams like Golden State, Houston and even the Blazers bringing up the bottom half. There are a few lottery teams from the West however that could not only make the jump into being profitable ATS in the NBA Odds, but also make the playoffs in the stacked conference.

The Kings are doing everything in their power to become relevant again, however if they get better it’s going to have to be through a trade. I actually think that a trade proposal that would have sent Josh Smith to the Kings might still get done. Another team which looks promising as a betting pick is the Nuggets, who are the dark horse in the Love discussions. Even though they have almost no chance of getting him, if Denver can keep Danilo Gallinari and Javale McGee healthy this season, they too could fight for a playoff spot with their roster.