Where Minneapolis Ranks Among Least Desirable NBA Free Agency Destinations

Where Minneapolis Ranks Among Least Desirable NBA Free Agency Destinations
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The sports scene in Minnesota has all the right ingredients to produce devoted indoor sports fans, with ice hockey and basketball being one of the state’s calling cards.  

It seems that the Land of 10,000 Lakes’ passion for sports doesn’t generate a lot of interest when it comes to attracting NBA free-agent talent.  

As NBA Free Agency gets underway, MinnesotaBets.com paused Minnesota sports betting updates and compiled a system to determine the most desirable destinations within the league using a series of metrics.

Most Desirable NBA Cities

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 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. 

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

Minneapolis Among Least Desirable Free Agent Markets

The home of the Timberwolves finished 27th out of 29 NBA markets that MinnesotaBets.com surveyed, coming in ahead of Charlotte and Indianapolis with a total aggregate rank of 20.33 for the city.  

The land of the T’Wolves finished behind No. 26 New Orleans (19.83 total aggregate rank), while Sacramento (19.67) was the 25th most desirable market in the league.  

Cities like 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.   

It appears that Minnesota’s lack of playoff success (making it past the first round of the playoffs once in 2004) and lack of head coaching stability (with seven coaches since 2009-10) have ultimately tanked the city’s rank among prospective free agents in the league.  

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).

Get ahead of the game and read up on all of the best Minnesota sportsbook apps expected to hit the state once sports betting is legalized. 



Christopher Boan is a lead writer at MinnesotaBets.com, specializing in covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.