In what has been one of the wildest free agent periods since Lebron James left from Cleveland six years ago, there have been several teams that have improved their NBA odds significantly.
Golden State Warriors (+250 to -120)
It should come as no surprise that the Warriors’ future odds to win everything next season fell below even money after they landed free agency’s biggest prize, Kevin Durant. Tired of coming up short, the James Harden trade, and reportedly some clashing with Russell Westbrook, Durant is heading to Golden State to be a part of what could be one of the best NBA dynasties ever assembled.
Golden State now has four of the top 12 players in the league in the same starting lineup, but I literally warned you that this could happen before free agency began. Knowing that the Warriors had a chance to land Durant made +250 easy value for this club, and now that they have Durant, on paper, they are a lock to make it out of the West, and potentially set up a third clash with the Cleveland Cavaliers. They aren’t unbeatable, but they are as close to unbeatable as I’ve seen since Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the late 1990s.
New York Knicks (+15000 to +3500)
The Derrick Rose trade, combined with key value signings to Courtney Lee and the slightly not so value signing of Joakim Noah make this team a potential top four playoff team in the East next season. That alone is good enough to move them from 150/1 to 35/1 in just a matter of days. If healthy, Rose and Noah give this team two things they have lacked forever, a dominant point guard and a super-skilled, two-way center.
Kristaps Porzingis gets another year of maturity, Lee provides them solid wing defense, oh, and they still have that guy named Carmelo Anthony. I like to rain on the Knicks’ parade sometimes, but since Phil Jackson came along they are starting to look like a competent franchise. Sure, they gave Noah too much money, and they likely gave up too much in the Rose trade, but right now if this team can get a bench, they might be the second or third-best team in the East right now.
Indiana Pacers (+8000 to +6600)
Finally, by way of trade and free agency, the Pacers are looking like they are going to be back to a top three or four team in the East next season. Indiana started the offseason by flipping George Hill for Jeff Teague, something that I didn’t even know was possible when it happen. They followed that act up by trading the 20th overall pick for a player that will almost surely be better than anyone they could have drafted in that spot in Thaddeus Young.
They weren’t done there either. After losing Ian Mahinmi, a very underrated big man, they signed veteran Al Jefferson to a pretty reasonable deal to either be their starting center or to come off the bench and be a rare, but still effective big sixth man. Combine all of this with their already great combo of Paul George and Monta Ellis, as well as their blossoming young big man in Myles Turner, this team is going to be dangerous.
They still have some money to spend too, and if Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles are healthy and knocking down three-pointers, the second or third seed is not out of the question in Indiana. They are easily the most improved team in the East outside of New York, and you could make a big case that they are a better value to win the East at +2000 from Betfair than any team ahead of them except Cleveland. Will they beat the Cavs? No, but they are going to be a great ATS value next season.