It has been a busy start to the NBA’s free agent period as a number of big names have switched teams. Even so, one of the most significant moves was one notable player staying put. Here’s a look at the 5 biggest moves of the offseason and updated NBA betting odds for their teams to win the title:
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Howard was the story of the free-agency session as he was courted by Houston, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas before signing a four-year, $88 million deal with the Rockets, around $30 million less than what he was offered by the Lakers. Howard becomes the centerpiece of a team that was fun to watch with James Harden leading the way, and those players will have to figure out a way to complement each other. The Rockets have been installed as one of the favorites in the West, and if Howard is healthy and ready to go, Houston will make some noise this season.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Paul re-signed with the Los Angeles Clippers for five years and $107 million in one of many excellent moves by the Clippers, who are how coached by Doc Rivers. Paul now has a coach he can trust as Rivers has gained a reputation as one of the league’s best and played the point-guard position himself. He didn’t have that with Vinny Del Negro, and the Clippers should now be considered one of the top two teams to beat in the West, along with Oklahoma City (and Houston if they manage to gel).
Andrei Kirilenko, Brooklyn Nets
While Brooklyn made bigger waves by trading for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, the signing of Kirilenko for $3.18 million over two years could turn out to be a more important move for the Nets, who also gave Jason Kidd his first head-coaching job. Kirilenko returned to the league last season with Minnesota and put up some of the most efficient numbers of his career and at 32, he is still a very good defensive player, which will take that pressure off of Pierce.
Andre Igoudala, Golden State Warriors
Igoudala was traded from Denver to Golden State and then signed a four-year, $48 million deal to stay with the Warriors, and he is coming the first season of his career in which he shot 50% from the field. That will come in handy for a young Golden State team that lives and dies by the three, so Igoudala should have more room to penetrate. He also becomes the team’s perimeter stopper as Igoudala is considered one of the very best defenders in the league. With improved defense, the Warriors could be a bigger factor in the NBA betting playoffs.
Josh Smith, Detroit Pistons
Smith left Atlanta for four years and $54 million in Detroit, and with the Pistons Smith will have every chance to prove he can become a consistent force because he is as talented as they come. Smith is active on both ends of the floor and with Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe improving, the Pistons now have a very intriguing frontcourt. Smith just to avoid falling in love with the three-point shot as his 28% shooting percentage from last season suggests he is better in the lane.