In today’s news, rumors circulated suggesting Masai Ujiri is looking to make changes to his roster. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant said he has no idea what Carmelo Anthony will do as a free agent next summer.
That’s the question everybody was asking on opening night of the 2013-’14 NBA season. The Bulls did not seem worthy in their 107-95 loss.
San Antonio, Indiana, Chicago, Brooklyn and Oklahoma City all are considered elite while the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks have this season to make their case to join that group.
In today’s news, Carmelo Anthony gave a big hint as to where he expects to be playing next year. Meanwhile, an anonymous general manager admitted that tanking the season away is part of the game plan for his organization going forward.
Melo intends to recruit big names to New York in 2015
Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that Carmelo Anthony plans to do his fair share of recruiting to bring big name talent to New York in 2015.
While Anthony, himself, is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks next summer, the team believes he will eventually re-sign in New York under the security of a longer contract. After all, if Anthony was to leave New York, he would be sacrificing over $30 million dollars in guaranteed money.
Still, after Anthony revealed his intentions to opt out of his contract at the beginning of the month, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith criticized him for not trying harder to recruit stars to come to New York.
When asked on Tuesday whether he would be an active recruiter come free agency time, Anthony responded confidently:
“I haven’t had a complaint yet in 10, 11 years in the NBA about playing with me,’’ Anthony said. “People would love to come to play in New York. When that comes, we’ll be working on that. I have a big black book, a big Rolodex. People talk about what’s going on with me in the offseason, [that] I should be getting people to come here. I am. I’m trying.’’
The Knicks will have ample cap space in 2015, when the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler come off the books. Among the players expected to be eligible for free agency, the Knicks would likely pursue Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and Lamarcus Aldridge.
GM admits tanking is part of the plan
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, at least one general manager in the NBA acknowledges that his team is “Riggin’ for Wiggins.”
“Our team isn’t good enough to win and we know it,” said an anonymous general manager. “So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes — and get us in position to grab a great player. The best way for us to do that is to lose a lot of games. This draft is loaded. There are potential All-Stars at the top, maybe even franchise changers. Sometimes my job is to understand the value of losing.
“I know that sounds crazy, but if you’re an NBA general manager like me, the last place you want to be is in the middle. There are only two outcomes there: Either make the playoffs and be first-round fodder for one of the premier teams or miss the playoffs and pick somewhere around 11th to 14th in the draft. Either way, the odds are that you stay in that middle range. It’s a recipe for disaster.
“You need superstars to compete in this league, and the playing field for those guys is tilted toward a few big-market teams. They are demanding trades and getting together and deciding where they want to go in free agency. It’s tough for us to compete with that. So a high lottery pick is all we have.”
Tuesday, October 29
Happy opening day! The NBA season officially gets underway Tuesday night with three games on deck, including a matchup between NBA Champion Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls.
To kick off the season, I want to hear from you. Please answer the survey question and challenge your NBA knowledge with the trivia below.
Daily Trivia: Which year did the Miami Heat join the NBA? Answer below.
In the past few weeks I have written columns on the NBA futures market (to win the championship) and over/unders on regular season win totals, which is always something that intrigues not only bettors, but fans, too, because it gives them a barometer for how their team may perform in the upcoming season.
The last item on the menu before the regular season starts next week is some of the more exotic proposition bets on the NBA betting menu which get some of the NBA “geeks” all giddy before they tip off the season.
To be clear, the sports books in Las Vegas really do not delve into proposition bets very much; they stick to the NBA futures market, regular season win totals and sometimes a prop here or there on the regular season MVP.
So many of the bets I am about to focus on are found offshore, and definitely make for some interesting discussion points.
Rookie Of The Year
|Tim Hardaway Jr||28/1|
Since 1985, when the New York Knicks drafted Patrick Ewing No. 1 overall, 13 overall No. 1 picks have won the Rookie Of The Year award.
A player drafted outside of the top 10 has not won the Rookie Of The Year award since 1987 when Mark Jackson won the award being drafted 18th overall. Granted, the first overall pick this year was a surprise to everyone involved, but having Anthony Bennett as 14/1 to win the award is a bit interesting.
I think the favorites to win the award are most likely Victor Oladipo and his Hoosier teammate Cody Zeller. The obvious sucker-bet in this group is Nerlens Noel, who might miss the entire season with an injury. The Rookie Of The Year award is really hit or miss on whether that player will become a star or prime time player in the league:
Since 2000, the winners have included Mike Miller, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Emeka Okafor, Chris Paul, Brandon Roy, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard.
Regular Season Scoring Leaders
|Field (Any Other Player)||8/1|
Since 2005, only five different players have won this title, which shows the situation the player is in is just as important as that player’s ability to score.
Kobe Bryant has won it twice, LeBron James once, Dwayne Wade once, Kevin Durant three times and most recently Carmelo Anthony.
This is not a recent trend, since 1994 only nine different players have won this award, so thinking a new player will be added to this list is usually not the smart way to bet. If you ask me, a player like Dwayne Wade has no chance to win this award, so you can take him off the list. I can even go so far to say LeBron and Kobe do not have a great chance based on a few different factors. Kobe’s health is a negative and so are LeBron’s assists.
The positive for Kobe is the fact that his teammates are going to look to him very often this year if and when he enters the lineup. The positive for LeBron is Wade’s health and the fact James will be needed to score more than ever this year.
With Russell Westbrook hurt, Kevin Durant and then Carmelo Anthony have to be the favorites this year with the dark horse being James Harden if you ask me.
NBA Regular Season MVP
The question here is pretty simple…can anyone win this award but LeBron James? James has won it four of the past five years, with Derrick Rose being the only player other than James to win the award since 2007 when Kobe Bryant won it.
Only four NBA players are listed below 10/1 to win this award, and it is that way for a reason, this is not baseball, a team must be very good for a player to win this award — and that is why the best players on the Knicks, Thunder, Heat and Bulls are on the top of this list. If you are looking for a dark horse to win the award, here are a few players I would possibly look at: Chris Paul, James Harden, Stephen Curry and a long-shot in Monta Ellis. (I’d drop a couple bucks on Kyrie at 30/1-CS)
Regular Season Assists Per Game
Like many of the other awards, since 1998, only five players have won this award: Jason Kidd, Andre Miller, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo. I truly believe there is no dark horse for this award, I would be truly surprised if someone other than Rondo, Paul or Deron Williams won the award. I do not have long term faith in Rubio to win it, Rose and Wall will need to score too much and Nash simply does not have it to contend with his roster and age.
Regular Season Rebounds Per Game
|Field (Any Other Player)||6/1|
Since 2003, three players have won this award: Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love. Out of all the other awards, it is the first time one player is listed at even money to win — Dwight Howard to have the most rebounds. If you want to talk about a dark horse for the award, I would go with a few different players to take a chance on: Tyson Chandler and DeMarcus Cousins. Chandler I believe has a chance because Andrea Bargnani simply does not rebound and Chandler will be able to gobble up a ton this year and Cousins, if motivated in the right areas, could legitimately be a contender here, but those character concerns are what make him 20/1.
Team vs Team NBA Regular Season Wins
Here are a few examples of team vs. team regular season totals, compared to other teams’ win totals, wins for the higher echelon teams across the league:
Clippers (-105) -4.5 over Nets (-125)
Bulls (-115) -3 over Rockets (-115)
Bulls (+100) -3.5 over Thunder (-130)
Pacers (-115) -2 over Warriors (-115)
Heat (-115) -6 over Rockets (-115)
Heat (-115) -8.5 over Thunder (-115)
Lakers (+120) -9.5 over Celtics (-150)
Rockets (-115) -2 over Nets (-115)
Nets (-115) -2.5 over Warriors (-115)
A few props that stand out to me…the fact that the Lakers are 9.5 wins ahead of anyone is very surprising, but the Celtics are supposed to be in the bottom five teams in the league in wins this year and if Danny Ainge decides to deal Rondo, they could easily fall in the bottom three. The Lakers do not look much better themselves and could end up trading Pau Gasol at some point this year, which makes that wager a complete toss-up based on who blows it up first. I think the Bulls over the Thunder is a very sneaky wager based on the fact of how deep Chicago is and how thin Oklahoma City is this year, especially with the injury to Westbrook and the loss of Kevin Martin.
Evan Abrams writes about basketball gambling for SheridanHoops.com. Follow him on Twitter @Betropolitan..