The 2022-23 NBA season is about to kick off, and we’re looking at which teams could have the most drama during the year. The NBA is known for constantly being about rumors, trades and gossip, with those conversations often garnering as much attention as the games. Here are the teams with the most drama heading into the new season.
Title odds: +700
Stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving tried to leave in the offseason and failed. Ben Simmons hasn’t played a meaningful game with this team yet. Steve Nash is on the hot seat. And everyone is acting like this is all good. The pure talent could be enough to keep Brooklyn in the title race. Irving and Simmons are the two most unpredictable personalities in the league, and either could be absent on a whim. Durant will be on the court as long as he’s healthy, but Irving and Simmons make this the ultimate drama team.
Title odds: +1200
Last season ended in shambles for the Suns with a brutal Game 7 loss. There were Durant rumors during the offseason, with Deandre Ayton seemingly set to go to Brooklyn. The Suns matched Ayton’s offer in restricted free agency but his quotes ahead of the season make it seem like things are still sour between him and the franchise. There’s also the apparently unresolved incident between him and head coach Monty Williams from that Game 7. Jae Crowder has already been sent home as the team tries to find a trade partner. And on top of all that, the league’s investigation into Robert Sarver’s workplace behavior has him on the path to selling the team. It feels like Phoenix’s window of contention ended in Game 7 last year.
Title odds: +1800
Any time LeBron James is involved, there will be some drama. Russell Westbrook is still around and he now has best friend Patrick Beverley joining him. Anthony Davis’ future is under a microscope. New head coach Darvin Ham doesn’t have much of a runway when it comes to expectations as he’s expected to maximize James’ final seasons in the league. All this is taking place in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world.
Title odds: +550
The Clippers might not have the level of attention the Lakers do but there’s got to be some tension here. This is now Year 4 of the Kawhi Leonard-Paul George era and the Clippers haven’t done much outside of one Western conference finals appearance. LA had a level of fanfare and bravado bringing these guys and the team is the deepest in the league, but at some point you only get remembered among the greats if you win a championship. It’s title or bust for the Clippers.
Title odds: +1500
Joel Embiid’s Twitter is famous in NBA circles. James Harden has stirred things up from time to time. Doc Rivers becomes a lightning rod in the playoffs. This team looks solid and connected, but there’s some tension underneath the surface which could reveal itself eventually.
Title odds: +15000
The Knicks have assembled a solid group of players that should at least be in the play-in tournament conversation. However, the approach this team has towards media and outside criticism is outright weak. The Knicks have closed off all press conferences and have effectively dismissed any valid questions about this roster. This either means they know they have a bad team and don’t want to hear it or they have the greatest thing since sliced bread. Given New York’s recent record, I’m leaning towards the former. Good luck trying to silence the noise around this group, even if the players have no part in the drama themselves.
Title odds: +600
Everything seemed cool until video of Draymond Green’s altercation with Jordan Poole found the light of day. The Warriors have dealt with situations like this involving Green before and they are strong enough to move on from this in the pursuit of a championship. However, it only takes one heated exchange during the season for this incident to come back up and everything boils over again. With Green, there are no guarantees.
Title odds: +600
There were some trade rumors involving Jaylen Brown over the summer, which the team might’ve smoothed over by now. However, head coach Ime Udoka being suspended for the year led to rampant speculation and likely has caused tremendous friction internally for the Celtics. Let’s not forget this team was .500 50 games into last season and has a history of pointing fingers at each other. The elements for a drama-filled season are already here. The question is whether they come together or not.