Where Does Phoenix Rank as NBA Free Agency Destination?

Where Does Phoenix Rank as NBA Free Agency Destination?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The Phoenix Suns, along with much of their Arizona sports betting fan base, watched with envy when this past season ended as their northern neighbor was crowned NBA champions for the first time. 

The Denver Nuggets took their name off the list of teams that never won it all, leaving the Suns as one of 10 left still seeking that first championship. 

With NBA Free Agency under way, BetArizona.com compiled a system to determine the most desirable destinations within the league using a series of metrics.

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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. The 2024 NBA Championship odds are up to date as of July 5, 2023.

Most Desirable NBA Cities

RankCityCity Aggregate RankTeam Aggregate RankTotal Aggregate Rank
1Philadelphia9.673.676.67
2Miami9.6767.83
3Boston1348.5
4LA (Lakers)1099.5
5LA (Clippers)109.339.67
6Dallas11910
7Denver15.67510.33
8San Francisco13.678.3311
9New York1014.6712.33
10Phoenix13.671212.83
T-11Brooklyn1016.6713.33
T-11Chicago11.671513.33
13Atlanta8.672114.83
14Portland16.3313.6715
15Milwaukee24.336.3315.33
16Houston10.332216.17
17Salt Lake City201316.5
18Orlando11.6722.6717.17
19Memphis19.3315.3317.33
20Washington DC11.3323.6717.5
21Cleveland221418
22Oklahoma City2011.6718.67
23San Antonio19.671919.33
24Detroit13.6725.3319.5
25Sacramento22.331719.67
26New Orleans20.3319.3319.83
27Minneapolis19.672120.33
28Charlotte17.3323.6720.5
29Indianapolis23.3322.3322.83

Arizona sports betting apps list defending champion Denver as the favorite to repeat at +475 odds. Boston is second at +500.

Phoenix Has Dreams of Winning Elusive Title

The home of Devin Booker and new home of Kevin Durant comes in ranked 10th overall as the best place to be in the NBA for free agents. The Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics rank as the top three destinations, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers ranking next and as the top two teams in the Western Conference. 

The Suns rank 11th in the team metrics, while Phoenix is in the middle of the pack at No. 14 in the city metrics. 

Two key draft picks created a good core group for the Suns, with shooting guard Devin Booker at No. 13 in 2015 and then winning the lottery for center Deandre Ayton in 2018. While many see Ayton as someone who has underperformed because he’s never been an All-Star or named to an All-NBA team, he’s averaged a double-double in points and rebounds each season. 

The Suns have set their eyes on finally winning a title after losing in the NBA Finals three times (1976, 1993, 2021) by making key acquisitions. They obtained superstar Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets in February as part of a four-team deal. In June, the Suns pulled off another massive move to acquire guard Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards. 

Phoenix parted with a lot of draft capital in the Beal deal, as well as popular point guard Chris Paul, who eventually came back to the West to join forces with Stephen Curry and the Warriors. 

With such star power on the roster in Durant, Beal, Booker and Ayton, the Suns have been plugging the roster with solid role players. Their best signing so far has been guard Eric Gordon, who played 22 games for the Clippers after his seven-season run with the Rockets ended in a trade during the season. Gordon is a great shooter, averaging 16 points for his career, and a great leader for younger players. 

Phoenix lost reserve center Jock Landale to the Rockets and forward Torrey Craig to the Bulls, but they also added forward Yuta Watanabe from the Nets, forward Keita Bates-Diop from the Spurs, center Drew Eubanks from the Blazers and center Chimezie Metu from the Kings. 

None of those names are big in terms of money or impact, but the Suns are hoping they can blend with the star core and help Phoenix do what the Denver Nuggets just accomplished – win the franchise’s first NBA championship.

Caesars Sportsbook Arizona gives Phoenix the league’s third-best odds to win the title at +600.

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Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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