How Does Washington Rank Among Desirable NBA Free Agent Spots?

How Does Washington Rank Among Desirable NBA Free Agent Spots?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

When athletes hit the open market, they have to consider both the prospective city and the team where they may wind up playing.

Now that the NBA free agency period is underway, continues our Virginia sports betting coverage by devising a system to determine the most desirable destinations within the league using a variety of metrics.

Spoiler Alert: The Wizards didn’t fare too well in the desirability rankings.

The physical location might score higher than the team itself sometimes, as is the case with Washington. Or the reverse could be true.

How We Determined Our List

BetVirginia compiled data on three team-specific factors: Attendance rankings since the 2018-19 season (data from; winning percentage since the 2019-20 season (from, and NBA championship odds for the 2023-24 season as listed at, through July 5. Those futures NBA title bets are available at Virginia sportsbook apps.

We also compiled numbers for three statistics related to the cities in question: State tax burdens (data from WalletHub); media market ranking (from, via Nielsen’s 2022-2023 DMA rankings) and popularity of a city (World', via Resonance Consultancy).

Using all of those data points, BetVirginia constructed an aggregate ranking for NBA cities and for NBA teams. Those were combined for a total aggregate ranking.

Toronto is not on this list because we only used U.S. data. Also, we excluded attendance data from the 2020-21 season, as protocols related to preventing the spread of COVID-19 varied across different league cities. We used data from Virginia for Washington D.C.’s state tax income.

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NBA Cities Ranked By Desirability

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

Where Do Wizards Fall Down?

The top team on our list is the Philadelphia 76ers. Even after chronic playoff disappointments, that franchise rated highly in team metrics and did better than average as a city.

For the Washington Wizards, the combined region and team metrics placed them in the bottom third of the league. With a total aggregate rank of 17.5, the Washington D.C. area ranked No. 20 out of the 29 NBA markets measured.

Washington D.C. itself scored well enough, but the team’s prospects are so dismal that those figures substantially pulled down the overall ranking.

The nation’s capital is, of course, a city charged with influence and political power. Its restaurants are among the finest in the country. There are cultural and entertainment opportunities aplenty. The city aggregate rank is 11.33, which is ninth among the 29 NBA cities evaluated. 

However, the team aggregate rank is 23.67, which is tied for No. 27 among the 29 franchises measured.

To earn that rank, the Wizards finished 35-47 in the 2022-23 season, the team’s fifth straight losing campaign. And despite re-signing Kyle Kuzma to a four-year, $90 million contract last week, the team’s prospects for next season are horrible.

The Wizards’ odds of winning the NBA Finals in 2024 are +100000 at DraftKings Virginia and similarly astronomical at the other major online sportsbooks. Washington has the worst odds on the board at DraftKings and are tied for worst with a few other operators.



Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others

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