New Orleans Among Least Desirable NBA Free Agency Destinations

New Orleans Among Least Desirable NBA Free Agency Destinations
Fact Checked by Thomas Leary

When people think of New Orleans, images of crawfish etouffee, beignets and revelry come to mind. What likely does not come to mind is professional basketball, thanks in large part to the New Orleans Pelicans posting an all-time win-loss record of 782-904 (.464) since first arriving in the Crescent City in 2002 as teh Hornets.

With zero NBA Finals trips and Western Conference Finals berths to the team’s ledger, there’s no doubt that the Big Easy is not an easy spot to recruit NBA free agents to each offseason, as the Pelicans are far from a juggernaut across Louisiana sports betting. compiled data on state tax burdens (data from WalletHub), media market ranking (data from, via Nielsen’s 2022-2023 DMA rankings), city popularity (World', via Resonance Consultancy), as well as attendance rankings since the 2018-19 season (, winning percentage since the 2019-20 season ( and 2024 NBA Championship Odds ( to construct an aggregate ranking of how desirable a city is for NBA free agents.

Toronto was not included on the list as we utilized US 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, 2023.

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Most Desirable NBA Cities

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

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New Orleans Among Bottom Tier Free Agent Markets In NBA

Between the city’s lowly aggregate rank (20.33, fifth highest in the NBA) and the Pelicans’ poor team ranking (19.33, 9th highest in the league) — the city of New Orleans is not a hot spot for NBA free agents, which likely hurts their odds on Louisiana betting apps when the season rolls around.

Overall, the Big Easy ranked 26th out of 29 markets that surveyed, finishing just ahead of Minneapolis (20.33 city aggregate rank), Charlotte (20.5) and Indianapolis (22.83).  

Conversely, New Orleans finished behind No. 25 Sacramento (19.67), while Detroit (19.5), San Antonio (19.33), Oklahoma City (18.67), Cleveland (18) and Washington D.C. (17.5) finished between spots 20 and 24 leaguewide.  

Overall, the top five NBA free agent markets in terms of total aggregate rank were Philadelphia (6.67), Miami (7.83), Boston (8.5), the Los Angeles Lakers (9.5) and Los Angeles Clippers (9.67).  

Safe to say, this ranking doesn't bode well for the Pelicans to bring in big-name help for Zion Williamson in the near future. 

Regardless, New Orleans sports fans can get through any season, whether it's the Pelicans or Saints, by taking advantage of Louisiana sports betting promos offered on one of the state's many sportsbooks.

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Christopher Boan writes for and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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