For the most part, the unrestricted portion of the NBA free-agent market has come and gone. There are a few players still out there like Isaiah Thomas and Wayne Ellington. There are also still a few restricted free agents available such as Boston’s Marcus Smart and Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker.
However, none of those players are going to shift the 2019 NBA championship odds landscape wherever they sign.
On the updated 2019 championship futures at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, the Golden State Warriors are the -175 favorites to win a third straight title and fourth in five seasons. If the Dubs aren’t already a dynasty, they surely would be classified as one by winning it all again next season. Somehow, the team might have already gotten better in the offseason with the addition of former New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins, a four-time All-Star who averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds last season, accepted a below-market one-year, $5.3 million deal. So the Warriors now could start an All-Star at every position: Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the back court, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant at the forwards and Cousins in the middle. How are teams supposed to compete with that?
Why did Cousins take such a deal? His 2017-18 season did end with an Achilles’ tear, which is a potentially devastating injury. Some guys are never the same after suffering one, and Cousins might not be ready to play until January. Cousins also has a bit of a reputation as not the best teammate, so his market was rather limited – Cousins claimed in an interview that he didn’t receive a single free-agent offer. Still, it’s a no-brainer move for the Warriors with really nothing to lose and plenty to gain.
The Los Angeles Lakers are +650 fourth-favorites on the odds to win the 2019 NBA championship after adding LeBron James – books are taking ridiculous action on the Lakers simply because of the LeBron factor. The Boston Celtics are +550 second-favorites. They have been quiet in free agency, and because so many teams are either up against the salary cap or over it Boston might luck out and get Smart back on a discount. They also still reportedly are in trade discussions with San Antonio over Kawhi Leonard.
The Houston Rockets are +600 but those odds would get longer if they were to lose restricted free-agent center Clint Capela. That’s unlikely, however. Houston might be adding Carmelo Anthony any day now.
Many NBA experts believe the Philadelphia 76ers (+1600) have the best chance to land Leonard via trade. If so, their title odds would shrink considerably. San Antonio’s current +6600 number would get considerably bigger by dealing Leonard.
For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.com.