Lakers favored to win Western Conference after flurry of free agent signings
The NBA free agency period began on Monday at 6:00 p.m. ET. Even though players cannot officially sign contract until Aug. 6 at 12:01p.m., the agreements have been flying around the league.
The first few days of free agency were wild. Let's see how the NBA future odds, with a focus on the Western Conference, have shaken out following this ferocious first wave.
Western Conference Winner 2021/2022
Thu, June 2 2022, 9:59 AM
Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers
New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Lakers (+150)
The Lakers were already slight favorites to return to the NBA Finals after a down year in 2021. After the Russell Westbrook trade and a flurry of free agent signings through the first few days of the period, the Lakers are now clear favorites.
Los Angeles acquired Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards on draft day after shipping out Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This trade brought in a superstar point guard, but also left some holes on the roster.
Those holes were filled quickly in the first day of free agency. The Lakers brought in Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Kent Bazemore, and Kendrick Nunn. The shooting woes from last season should be patched up with this bunch.
The Lakers roster is filling out with a load of talent. Currently an ideal starting five looks like Westbrook, Bazemore, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Marc Gasol. That gives L.A. a deep bench featuring Anthony, Ariza, Monk, Ellington, Nunn, Taylen Horton-Tucker, and Dwight Howard. The real competition will be for playoff rotation minutes.
Utah Jazz (+650)
Lest we forget the Jazz had the best record in the NBA last season. They will basically be returning the same lineup plus a few extra pieces. The only losses so far include Derrick Favors and Georges Niang.
The Jazz resigned Mike Conley and added Rudy Gay, Hassan Whiteside, and Eric Paschall to their roster. A starting five of Donovan Mitchell, Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Whiteside, and Rudy Gobert will be an extremely tough lineup. With the added depth of Gay, Paschall, Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale coming off the bench, getting odds of +650 to win the West is tantalizing.
I like what the Jazz have done w/ the roster this offseason— Jeremy 👑 (@NBA_Jeremy1) August 4, 2021
-Hassan Whiteside (lmao)
Nothing crazy, but the team is clearly improved now compared to last year
Phoenix Suns (+650)
The defending Western Conference champions will return with a vengeance after falling two games shy of being crowned NBA champs. Chris Paul turned down his player option, but has agreed to a four-year contract to return. Cam Payne and Abdel Nader also agreed to return and sign new contracts.
Only Torrey Craig and Frank Kaminsky will be exiting from their playoff rotation guys. However, the Suns added much needed big man depth with three-time NBA champion JaVale McGee. That was ultimately their downfall in the NBA Finals, and maybe this could be the addition that pushes them over the top.
Dallas Mavericks (+1400)
The Mavericks have been trying to figure out how to build the correct roster around Luka Doncic for the past three years. This offseason they re-signed Tim Hardaway Jr. and went out and signed Reggie Bullock.
Bullock is coming off an impressive season with the New York Knicks and could fit perfectly into a lineup of Doncic, Hardaway Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith, and Kristaps Porzingis. Depth will still be an issue, and the Mavs should look to try and find another big man.