Which NBA teams are worth buying ahead of free agency?

Adam Hagy / National Basketball Association / Getty

The first day of NBA free agency starts on Thursday, and if history tells us anything, we could see a flurry of activity within minutes of the moratorium starting - if not earlier.

That makes now the ideal time to buy on aggressive teams with title aspirations ahead of any potential blockbuster deals. Here are the updated NBA title odds at Barstool Sportsbook and the three teams we're targeting ahead of free agency:

Golden State Warriors +450
Boston Celtics +650
Milwaukee Bucks +650
Brooklyn Nets +700
Los Angeles Clippers +700
Miami Heat +1000
Phoenix Suns +1000
Dallas Mavericks +1200
Denver Nuggets +1400
Philadelphia 76ers +1400
Los Angeles Lakers +1500
Memphis Grizzlies +1600
New Orleans Pelicans +4000
Toronto Raptors +5000
Utah Jazz +5000
Chicago Bulls +6000
Atlanta Hawks +7000
Minnesota Timberwolves +7000
Portland Trail Blazers +8000
Charlotte Hornets +10000
Cleveland Cavaliers +10000
New York Knicks +25000
Houston Rockets +50000
Orlando Magic +50000
Sacramento Kings +50000
San Antonio Spurs +50000
Washington Wizards +50000
Detroit Pistons +75000
Indiana Pacers +100000
Oklahoma City Thunder +100000

Phoenix Suns (+1000)

Just a couple of months ago, the Suns entered the playoffs with the best record in the NBA (64-18) and were the clear title favorites after nearly winning it all in 2020-21. Then the wheels came off in the second round against a Mavericks team that exploited Phoenix's inability to defend a five-out look for seven games.

Still, this is a stellar roster behind All-NBA guard Devin Booker and rising two-way star Mikal Bridges, who feels like he could be prime trade bait for a surprise blockbuster deal. So is Deandre Ayton, who could fetch a nice return in a sign-and-trade this summer.

There's enough here to feel excited about another championship chase even if the Suns don't add another star. And if they do? This will look like a bargain, plus it's already a solid price for one of the best teams in the league.

Atlanta Hawks (+7000)

What will the Hawks do this summer? We know that general manager Travis Schlenk is eager to shake up this roster, which made it to the Eastern Conference Finals just two seasons ago before last year's first-round flameout.

John Collins' days appear numbered in Atlanta, which is probably a positive development for a team that needs more defense and shooting around budding superstar Trae Young. The club is also reportedly acquiring All-Star guard Dejounte Murray for a bushel of future picks, which will immediately help set the tone defensively for this group.

It's easy to dismiss this squad's recent semifinal run as dumb luck, but that group was impressive on both ends of the court and has title upside with the right second or third piece. At this price, I'm happy to take a shot on another deep run.

Minnesota Timberwolves (+7000)

The Timberwolves enter this offseason as one of the more compelling sides in the NBA. The leap Minnesota took in 2021-22 was real, led by one of the best young duos in basketball in Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.

What does the team do for an encore? Minnesota was linked to Murray before Wednesday's reported deal and could still be targeting Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who would complement a group that owned the league's best offense in the 2022 calendar year. Head coach Chris Finch did wonders defensively with a roster that was ill-fitted for success on that end - what could he do with a defensive star at his disposal?

The Timberwolves don't even need to make a big move to intrigue as title long shots. Last year's squad went toe-to-toe with the Grizzlies, who enter the offseason as 16-1 title contenders, and Minnesota's young stars still have room to grow. At 70-1, it's worth seeing just how high this team can fly.

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

Which NBA teams are worth buying ahead of free agency?
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