The landscape of the NBA could be very different this time next year. Teams that were on the outside looking in have now etched their way back into contention, while others have fallen deeper into irrelevance. The 2015 offseason was a busy one. Lots of money changing hands and lots of talent getting on planes to new homes.
Last season’s pleasant surprise, the Atlanta Hawks have gotten a bit worse with the loss of DeMarre Carroll. The Nuggets, Pistons, Blazers and Kings also deteriorated over the past few months. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns had a great summer adding big men Tyson Chandler among others. The Timberwolves, Bucks, Clippers and Heat all improved a bit as well although there was one team that stood out above the rest.
The biggest off-season surprise has to be the Spurs. Nobody was busier than San Antonio adding top free agent and All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge. Immediately after the acquisition ESPN noted that their title aspirations lagged slightly behind Cleveland but they are now favored by online sportsbook TopBet to win the 2015-16 Championship. The 30-year-old will step in nicely and add a lot of versatility to the team’s front five. The team then added some much needed depth with David West and Richard Jefferson.
Though Tristan Thompson’s contract issue is still ongoing, the Cavaliers are still finalist favorites in the sports book listed at +250 for the title. The Warriors are the defending NBA Champions but you wouldn’t know it by the odds, they are listed at +600 while the Clippers are at +900.
Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz slipped under the radar but actually had a very solid offseason considering. They added Trey Lyles, Tibor Pliess and Raul Neto while losing Jeremy Evans. The team had the best defense following last year’s all-star break last year and their young talent pool has another year of experience under their belt. At +15,000 they’re certainly not championship favorites but they’re certainly pinned to contend for a playoff spot this season.