Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 7/16/13
NBA free agency started on July 1 and we’ve already seen some big names fly the coop for greener pastures. The result? An NBA Futures market that’s moving and shaking faster than ever seen before. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including Dwight Howard’s ego. Reportedly unhappy with the support he got from Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash in the wake of his back surgery during the summer of 2012, Howard decided to leave Hollywood for Houston. Howard actually making a decision has to be the most shocking event during NBA free agency thus far. Regardless, D12 ended this “Dwightmare” and chose the Rockets over the Lakers and a slew of other suitors. A few days later, the Lakers went from 25-1 to 40-1 and the Rockets moved from 25-1 to 9-1 to win it all. Oddsmakers clearly believe that the addition of Howard makes the Rockets one of the top three teams in the NBA. However, it’s important to note that he’s starting to show signs of declining performance. In 2013, he scored 5.4 points per game less than he did in 2010. He also collected 2.1 rebounds per game less in 2013 than he did a year ago. If you’re looking for some NBA player prop value, check out Howard at 19.5 points per game with the under at -115. There’s no such thing as a certainty in sports wagering, but this is about as good as it gets. Speaking of which, last year’s Golden State Warriors were as good as they’d ever been. Behind one of the best sharpshooters in the league in Stephen Curry, they won a playoff series for the first time since 1991. However, the Warriors lost in the conference finals to the Spurs, so they decided to go shopping. Andre Iguodala — 13 points per game, 5.4 assists per game and 45 percent from the field in 2012-13 — was near the top of their list, so they went out and landed the versatile swingman. Then, the Warriors let Andris Biedrins, Jarrett Jack and Richard Jefferson hit the road. When it was all said and done, the Warriors had climbed the NBA Futures Market from 25-1 to 18-1. That’s what you call addition by subtraction. The Brooklyn Nets seemingly prefer to go with a different formula called addition by addition. They’re one of the biggest movers and shakers on the futures market — from 60-1 to 14-1 – and with good reason. Before the opening of the free agency period, the Nets and Boston Celtics agreed to a trade that sent Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry to Brooklyn in exchange for a few first-round draft picks and some pocket change. Then, the Nets went out and grabbed Andrei Kirilenko in free agency. As it stands, the Nets’ starting five outlook includes Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Pierce and Garnett. All that addition comes with a hefty price tag — a $101 million price tag to be exact — but is it money well spent? If they win the 2014 NBA championship, it sure will be.
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