With some of the bigger names in the free agency market starting to commit, we thought we would take a “way too early” look at the contenders for winning the NBA Championship next year. The online sportsbooks currently have the Cleveland Cavaliers as an overwhelming +275 favorite, however, that number is skewed as the Cavs are being treated as a lock to come out of the Eastern Conference.
Cleveland resigned Kevin Love to a long term contract, are expected to sign Tristan Thompson to a long term contract as well, and there is “decision” this offseason as to whether or not LeBron will be back in his hometown. With the lack of talent in the East, Cleveland is a heavy -200 choice to represent the East in the NBA Finals once again.
Out in the Western Conference, there is no clear cut choice. Golden State looks strong again and is the favorite to win the Conference Title, getting a +280 return to win the conference and a 5:1 payout if they repeat as NBA Champions.
Oklahoma City is right behind them, and with their dynamic duo of Westbrook and Durant expected to start the season healthy, we can’t judge the Thunder on last year’s win/loss results.
San Antonio made a big splash signing coveted free agent LaMarcus Aldrige away from Portland in a messy situation that cost a Blazers assistant coach his job. The signing of Aldrige bolstered San Antonio’s odds to win the West at a +550 payout – pulling even with the LA Clippers. Both of those teams are also +1200 to win it all, however, it wouldn’t be shocking to see more action come in on the Spurs in the next few days.
There are still big names that have not yet signed, and there will no doubt be some big names being swapped in offseason trades, so these odds tend to change throughout the summer. But if these early NBA Futures odds tell us anything, it’s that Cleveland has the easiest path to reach the NBA Finals this year, and if you like a team out West, you can back them early with a chance to hedge yourself if they make it to the NBA Finals and score a decent profit regardless of who wins.
We’ll check back with an updated NBA Futures article in a few weeks after more players have been signed and we have a clearer vision of the rosters of the main contenders.