The new NBA year stands on the horizon as the negotiating period for 2022 NBA free agency quickly approaches. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents as early as 6 PM Eastern on June 30, though they can’t officially sign free agents to contracts until July 6. Players switching teams will surely have a significant effect NBA futures for next season.
With players like Kyrie Irving already opting in on his contract, and others like Bradley Beal and James Harden expecting to stay with their teams, the headliners for this year’s free agent class underwhelms in comparison to years past. That said, the league expects a flurry of moves in the coming days and weeks that will no doubt reshape the betting landscape.
The affect player movement can have on championship odds is already visible following the Houston Rockets agreeing to buyout with oft-injured but five-time All-Star John Wall, who will reportedly sign with the LA Clippers. Couple Wall’s signing with a returning Kawhi Leonard and a healthy Paul George and the Clippers championship odds jumped to +600 at BetMGM this week.
With NBA Odds shifting to the season ahead, here’s a look at some value NBA future bets ahead of NBA free agency in 2022.
Big Name Free Agents on the Move?
While some of the best free agents in the league look like they’re staying put, there are a few names ranked among the top-25 available who could make a difference in a team’s championship odds. At the top of those players with a real chance at leaving is Phoenix center Deandre Ayton.
Phoenix elected against extending Ayton with a five-year max contract last year and seems unlikely to do so this offseason. Ayton stands as arguably the top restricted free agent on the market considering this age (24) and skill-set.
An elite rebounder with excellent finishing skills around the basket, Ayton could be a difference maker switching teams this offseason. DraftKings listed the Suns as favorites (+100) last week. Detroit remains contenders to sign the former No. 1 overall pick, too, though the Pistons’ odds have faded (+200). San Antonio (+900) is in the running for Ayton as well, but it doesn’t make much sense for the Spurs to sign Ayton then trade away Dejounte Murray.
The fit with the Indiana Pacers makes much more sense from a roster-construction perspective, especially if it’s a sign-and-trade deal that includes Myles Turner going to Phoenix. The Pacers, currently listed fourth at DraftKings at +1000, wouldn’t be much of a downgrade defensively from Turner, and would provide Indiana guards with an excellent pick-and-roll partner. The Pacers enter the offseason with $21 million in cap space on top of their tradeable assets, which probably explains why Bovada lists Indiana as the betting favorites to be where Ayton plays Game 1 next season (+185).
BetOnline.ag lists the Pacers with the best odds (+300) to be another top free agent’s landing spot should he switch teams. Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges bet on himself last season after reportedly declining a four-year extension offer from Charlotte last offseason. It proved a potentially lucrative move for the 24-year-old swingman, considering he established new career highs in most counting stats. However. Bridges put his career in jeopardy this week as he got arrested for felony domestic violence.
A max-level contract might price Bridges out of the Queen City. BetOnline.ag lists the Minnesota Timberwolves (+300) even with the Pacers as potentially Bridges’ next team. Minnesota might be able to use D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade package for Bridges. For the T-Wolves, a big-three of Bridges, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns would make an interesting young core out West.
Bovada heavily favors the other start free agents, Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine, to stay with their current clubs. The sportsbook lists Washington (-750) as the betting favorite to be where Beal plays Game 1 next season, with Boston (+700) and Miami (+900) seeing better than 10/1 odds. LaVine, meanwhile, sees the odds at -2000 for him to remain with the Bulls, and +1200 to jump to the Denver Nuggets or +1500 for the New York Knicks.
Next Tier Free Agents Possibly on the Move
The second tier of NBA free agents possibly on the move includes several intriguing talents, with BetOnline.ag listing odds for those players’ next team. Dallas Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson seems all but set to sign with New York following the Knicks’ cap-clearing trade earlier this week, so he doesn’t have odds listed.
Bobby Portis recently won a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks then re-signed on a team-friendly deal. He’s set for a serious raise this offseason, and BetOnline.ag lists fairly close odds for Portis’ potential next landing spot. Miami (+300), New York (+325), and San Antonio (+350) stand ahead of the pack. The Heat may need a new starting power forward should P.J. Tucker opt to sign in Philadelphia, as has been reported. Portis would fit well in Phoenix (+400) as a replacement for Ayton should he leave in free agency.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton missed all but 11 games last season following a knee injury. But the 23-year-old guard hopes to regain his form as one of the most explosive scorers in the league. In the two seasons prior to his injury, Sexton averaged 22.5 PPG on efficient shooting splits (.474/.376/.828). In his absence, Darius Garland emerged as an All-Star guard in Cleveland, so there might not be room for Sexton, a restricted free agent, in the Cavaliers backcourt.
BetOnline.ag lists the Pacers (+200) as the favorites to be Sexton’s next team if not Cleveland. The Pistons (+300), Wizards (+350), Knicks (+400), and Mavericks (+500) are in the mix as well. There might be value with Dallas in this spot, especially if the Mavs lose Brunson to New York.
Malik Monk emerged as one of the best players on a disappointing Los Angeles Lakers team last season. After signing a minimum-salary deal, the former lottery pick seems in line to make some money this offseason, considering he’s likely looking for more than taxpayer mid-level exception ($6.3 million).
BetOnline.ag lists Detroit (+250) as the favorites to be Monk’s next team if not the Lakers, with the Toronto Raptors (+275) and Dallas (+300) trailing just behind. The Cavaliers, with +400 odds for Monk, would be an interesting fit since they could use another shooter.
Orlando Magic big-man Mo Bamba saw his team give away his jersey number when they selected Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. That might signal the former No. 6 overall pick hitting the open market. The 24-year-old sports a ton of upside as a rim-protecting and floor-spacing big.
BetOnline.ag lists Dallas (+300) as the frontrunner to be Bamba’s next team if not the Magic. The Lakers (+400) and Bucks (+400) trail the Mavs, with the Bulls (+450) and Brooklyn Nets (+500) behind them. Milwaukee would be a good landing spot if the Bucks lose Portis in free agency. Miami (+600) also seems like a good fit should the roster have a spot for him.
Reports indicate that it’s unlikely that Victor Oladipo re-signs with the Miami Heat. The 30-year-old flashed glimpses of his pre-injury All-Star form in his second season with the Heat and may have priced himself off the team at this point. BetOnline.ag lists the Mavericks (+250) as favorites to be Oladipo’s next team if not the Heat. The Lakers (+300), Warriors (+350) and Wizards (+400) all sport better than 5/1 odds.