It has been three weeks since the 2015 NBA Free Agency period started and the league has been nothing short of interesting, with interesting headlines and rumors flying all over. With the majority of the moves already wrapped up, here is a look at the teams that have grabbed most attention in the NBA betting odds to win the 2016 Championship:
SAN ANTONIO SPURS
Key Draft Picks: Nikola Milutinov
Key Free Agents: LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili
If there was an award given to teams with most the strongest offseason moves, the San Antonio Spurs would be among the strongest contenders for it. After they landed the promising services of Milutinov in the draft, they the lured All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge from Portland into San Antonio with an $84.1-million contract.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) July 22, 2015
In addition, they claimed the veteran services of David West, a power forward that brings amazing leadership and awesome depth to the team. And the business did not stop there, as they re-signed their best young player in Kawhi Leonard for 95.3 million, Danny Green ($45 million), and also retained the much-need services of Duncan and Ginobili, giving the team tons of talent to work with and stay competitively strong in the Western Conference, especially after finishing in the Top-5 last season.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
Key Draft Picks: Branden Dawson
Key Free Agents: DeAndre Jordan, Josh Smith, Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson, Cole Aldrich
The DeAndre Jordan saga was probably the biggest and most memorable highlight of this year’s free agency. In the end, the Clippers won the Jordan lottery, re-signing their marquee center for $88 million. And to further propel their Championship hopes after finishing third in the West last season, they brought in an experienced sharp-shooting small power forward in Paul Pierce and a versatile utility in Lance Stephenson in a trade from Charlotte, so the losses of Barnes and Hawes shouldn’t be a big deal. Added to the already existing pieces in the team like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, it would take a miracle to stop the Clippers from qualifying and featuring strongly in the 2016 NBA Playoffs.
Key Free Agents: LeBron James, Kevin Love, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson, Mo Williams
The King is Back!!! But he wasn’t going anywhere else in the first place, was he? Anyway, apart from retaining the services of LeBron, the Cavs have re-signed or offered new deals to nearly everyone from their squad that reached the Finals last season, with the deals for Love ($113-million), Shumpert ($40 million) and Thompson (deal being finalized) holding much importance to the team. And with Williams in the fold, the Cavs can do with or without a new deal for J.R. Smith, who is still in negotiations with the team. If the team can stay healthy throughout the new season and the playoffs, the Cavs will be in a hell of a shape to end their National Championship drought, particularly with the playoff experience they received last year.
Key Draft Picks: Justise Winslow, Josh Richardson
Key Free Agents: Dwayne Wade, Goran Dragic, Luol Deng
After missing out on the playoffs in 2015, the Heat underlined their ambitions of returning with a bang, retaining the coveted services of 11-time All-Star Dwayne Wade, who agreed to a one-year contract for $20 million. The team also got a major boost as forward Luol Deng opted into his $10.2-million contract while mercurial point guard Goran Dragic re-signed with the team for a $90-million deal, keeping the team’s core intact. Not to mention, the Heat got real lucky by snagging the services of former Duke athletic swingman Justise Winslow and second-rounder Josh Richardson (an all-rounded guard) in the NBA draft, giving the team depth and winning impetus ahead of the new season. With such pieces in place, the Heat should be one of the most fun-to-watch teams in 2015, with strong contention for the playoffs in 2016.
Other Teams that Have Strongly Boosted their Championship Stocks in the NBA Odds
• Western Conference: Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder
• Eastern Conference: Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks