Suns Odds In West Unaffected By Lakers Free Agency Flurry
The Phoenix Suns advanced to the NBA Finals last season for the first time since 1993. And while it shouldn’t take the franchise nearly 30 years to get back there again, their path in 2021-22 in the Western Conference will be anything but easy. The main reason? The Los Angeles Lakers look like they’re back.
GM Rob Pelinka and the Lakers have been the NBA’s most active team this offseason, agreeing to a flurry of deals with players in the first 24 hours of free agency. If there were any questions among NBA betting fans about whether the Lakers – who lost in Round 1 of last year’s playoffs to the Suns – were going for it in 2022, or whether players still wanted to play with LeBron James, Day 1 of free agency answered them.
The Lakers’ NBA odds to win the title only shifted slightly - from a West-leading +400 to +380 at DraftKings - but in the process of adding seven new pieces they cemented themselves as the biggest threat to the Suns in the West.
With Arizona sports betting set to launch soon - potentially in time for the new NBA season - it's something to consider for Suns fans in the Copper State who are planning their wagers on their betting apps.
Lakers Reload In Free Agency
It’s not uncommon for a LeBron-led team to see roster turnover each year, but even this feels like a lot. The Lakers agreed to deals – nothing can be official until the start of the NBA season on Aug. 6 – with eight different players, seven of whom weren’t on the team last season.
The headliners from a name standpoint are future Hall of Famers Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, but the most important names are sharpshooters Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Kent Bazemore. The Lakers also brought back rising star Talen Horton-Tucker, who at 20 years old brings plenty of scoring power.
LA clearly prioritized shooting to put around James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook (more on him later) after the Lakers ranked 25th in 3-pointers and 21st in 3-point percentage last season, and shot just 29.9% from beyond the arc in their playoff loss to the Suns. James’ best teams have lethal perimeter threats, and that’s exactly what the 2022 Lakers now have.
LeBron hasn’t had that third star during his time with the Lakers – apologies to Alex Caruso – but he will have it in 2022. Fresh off another historic triple-double season, Westbrook is headed home to play for the Lakers.
He’s not the most efficient player in the league but it’s hard to argue with his raw volume numbers and the impact he brings each time he steps on the floor. Westbrook will benefit from playing with such a talented big like Davis, the sort of teammate he really hasn’t had during his NBA career to this point.
While the Lakers were busy in the early stages of free agency, their biggest addition came on draft day when they added the former MVP and nine-time All-Star.
What About The Suns?
It was expected that Chris Paul would return to the Suns despite turning down his player option, and that’s what happened. Paul agreed to a four-year deal that will pay him $120 million, and likely keep him in Phoenix for the remainder of his Hall of Fame career.
The Suns also brought back reserve guard Cameron Payne on the first day of free agency, meaning Phoenix will bring back its top eight postseason scorers from a year ago.
For that reason, sportsbooks and betting sites have given the Suns +1600 title odds on the NBA futures market – largely because the stacked West features the Lakers, the Warriors (+1000), and Jazz (+1600). For what it’s worth, Phoenix’s title odds haven’t moved during free agency one way or the other despite the Lakers’ moves.
Phoenix is undoubtedly a contender but the West keeps getting better, setting up what should be a beast of a conference in 2022.