Which Cities Are the Most Desirable for NBA Free Agents?

Which Cities Are the Most Desirable for NBA Free Agents?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The runner-up in the Eastern Conference this past season already has made a statement in the NBA’s free agency frenzy.

Gone is longtime sparkplug Marcus Smart and in is another scorer, this one with size, Kristaps Porzingis.

With Massachusetts sportsbooks watching closely, the Celtics keep making moves, including sending Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks.

Overall, though, how desirable is Boston as a destination for NBA players?

With NBA free agency under way, we decided to answer just that.

BetMassachusetts.com – your source for Massachusetts sportsbook promos and reviews - compiled a system to determine the most desirable destinations within the league using a series of metrics.

We compiled data on state tax burdens (data from WalletHub), media market ranking (data from USTVDB.com, via Nielsen’s 2022-2023 DMA rankings), city popularity (World'sBestCities.com, via Resonance Consultancy), as well as attendance rankings since the 2018-19 season (ESPN.com), winning percentage since the 2019-20 season (Basketball-Reference.com) and 2024 NBA Championship Odds (SportsOddsHistory.com) to construct an aggregate ranking.

Toronto was not included on the list as we utilized U.S. data only. We did not include attendance data from the 2020-21 NBA season, as COVID protocols varied across the league. For Washington D.C.’s state tax income, we utilized data from nearby Virginia. 2024 NBA championship odds are up to date as of July 5.

Here are some numbers you won’t find of any Massachusetts sports betting apps.

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Teams Most Desirable for Free Agents

RankCityCity Aggregate RankTeam Aggregate RankTotal Aggregate Rank
4LA (Lakers)1099.5
5LA (Clippers)109.339.67
8San Francisco13.678.3311
9New York1014.6712.33
17Salt Lake City201316.5
20Washington DC11.3323.6717.5
22Oklahoma City2011.6718.67
23San Antonio19.671919.33
26New Orleans20.3319.3319.83

MORE: Check out the newly-launched ESPN BET Massachusetts

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Top 3 All in East

The Celtics complete the top three league leaders (all in Eastern Conference) at No. 3. With a city aggregate rank of 13 and a team aggregate rank of 4, Boston generated a total aggregate rank of 8.5.

Top-ranked Philadelphia (6.67) and No. 2 Miami (7.83) are the only teams to finish ahead of Boston.

Boston’s Been Busy

The Celtics have been busy early in free agency, highlighted by the signing of Porzingis to a two-year, $60 million extension. Boston traded fan favorite Smart to the Memphis Grizzlies as part of a three-team deal to land Porzingis.

The Celtics also added forward Oshae Brissett from the Indiana Pacers and point guard Dalano Banton from the Toronto Raptors.

In late May, the seventh-seeded Heat avoided becoming the first team to squander a 3-0 NBA playoff series lead after beating the second-seeded Celtics, 103-84, on the road in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. 

Caesars Massachusetts still sees that Heat win as an upset, as it has installed Boston as the favorite to win the East at +200, ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (+275) and Heat (+400).

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Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media (NJ.com) in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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