News: TSN.ca reported last week that Raptors forward Linas Kleiza and center Aaron Gray picked up their player options for the 2013-14 season. Kleiza's option will pay him $4.6 million, while Gray will make $2.6 million, in the final years of both of their deals. Analysis: Gray averaged just 2.8 points per game over the course of 42 games, and he saw his role dramatically reduced as the team leaned on younger options. He will likely assume a similar role for Toronto this season, and should be ignored in most Fantasy formats on Draft Day.
News: TSN.ca reported last week that Raptors forward Linas Kleiza and center Aaron Gray picked up their player options for the 2013-14 season. Kleiza's option will pay him $4.6 million, while Gray will make $2.6 million, in the final years of both of their deals. Analysis: Kleiza did not play after Dec. 28, thanks in part to lingering issues with his surgically-repaired knee. He averaged just 7.4 points on 33.3 percent shooting in the 20 games he appeared in, and is unlikely to be worth targeting in any Fantasy formats on Draft Day.
News: Warriors forward Carl Landry would like to return to Golden State, but he has an opt-out clause for next season's $4 million contract. He has yet to choose whether to do so, and he told the Contra Costa Times Wednesday that it is the hardest decision he has faced in his career. The Warriors are home whether I opt in or out," he said. "Hopefully, I can spend the rest of my career here because this is a very special place. Everything here is what you want: the city, the fans, the front office, the coach, the teammates. You cant ask for anything more. Analysis: Landry would probably be underpaid at $4 million next season, so he would likely be turning down millions of dollars to remain on what is essentially a one-year deal. Landry averaged 10.8 point and 6.0 rebounds per game for the Warriors in just 23.2 minutes per game, and he could get a much bigger role on another roster. We will keep an eye on his free agency as it moves forward, but Landry is likely to be more of a late-round Fantasy option on Draft Day no matter where he ends up.
News: Predictably, Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva picked up his option for the 2013-14 season, a deal that will pay him $8.5 million. Villanueva is entering the final year of a five-year, $37.7 million contract. Analysis: Villanueva appeared in 69 games this season, averaging a career-low 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. With the Pistons continuing to rebuild, it is unlikely that he sees a larger role than that this season, so Fantasy owners should ignore him in most Fantasy formats on Draft Day.
News: Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao has been taken off blood thinners, a sign that he has recovered from the blood clot issue that ended his season. According to The Plain Dealer, Varejao is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. Analysis: Varejao was in the midst of the best season of his career, before quad surgery and the ensuing developments with a blood clot. He averaged 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds per game prior to the injury, both of which are by far career highs. Varejao has emerged as a very solid Fantasy option over the last few years, however he has also missed 149 games over the last three seasons. He is a major injury risk heading into the season, but he should still be gone by the middle rounds in most Fantasy leagues on Draft Day.
News: Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni becomes a free agent after his rookie season, and he reportedly wants to stay in the NBA rather than return to the Spanish League. It might just depend on what his wife says, according to the New York Post. Prigioni is set to become a free agent July 1, and is expected to look for a one-year contract worth around $2 million. Analysis: Prigioni ended up moving into the starting lineup for the Knicks, but he did not have much of an impact this season. He averaged 3.5 points and 3.0 assists per game in 16.2 minutes. After showing what he can do, he might be able to get a bigger role next season, but he should probably still be ignored until the very end of most Fantasy formats.
News: Wizards guard Bradley Beal has yet to be cleared for basketball activities, nearly two months after being shut down due to an ankle and right leg injury. According to the Washington Post, Beal is still a week or so away from getting back on the court. Its always frustration, Beal said Thursday. But at the same time, I have to stay positive, make sure Im doing what Im supposed to do. Making sure Im able to take care of myself and just stay on top of it. Basically just being patient and when I get out there, Ill get out there. Beal is lifting weights, riding a bike and swimming, but it mostly limited to free throws on the court for now. He is expected to be ready to go by the time the team opens training camp. Analysis: Beal became just the seventh player to make the all-rookie first team as a teenager, a pretty good indication of the kind of upside he has when healthy. He missed 26 games due to a variety of ailments, mostly related to his ankles. He finished the season averaging 13.9 points per game on 41.0 percent shooting, however he improved dramatically as the season went on. Beal shot 47.1 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three-point range after the All-Star break, with 16.5 points per game. If that is any sign of what Beal can do when healthy, Fantasy owners should be very excited to see him in his second season. Plan on targeting Beal in the middle rounds on Draft Day, with plenty of upside.
News: According to his agent, Knicks forward Amar'e Stoudemire was not happy with how the season ended, as he was barely able to contribute in the team's six-game loss to the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. You know Amare, hes going to work as hard as he can during the offseason, Happy Walters, Stoudemires agent, told the New York Daily News. It was a tough year, but Amare is already looking forward to next season. Hell be ready. Knicks coach Mike Woodson would not comment on whether he thinks Stoudemire will return to the starting lineup next season, after the Knicks enjoyed great success with Carmelo Anthony at power forward. Stoudemire came off the bench in all 29 of his regular season games this season, after doing so just 17 times in his previous 10 seasons. Analysis: Despite eventually needing two knee surgeries, Stoudemire was actually quite productive for the Knicks, when he played. He averaged 14.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in just 23.5 minutes, while shooting 57.7 percent from the field, his best mark since 2007-08. Stoudemire may be best suited coming off the bench on the Knicks' current roster, but that probably limits how much playing time he can get on a nightly basis. Given injury concerns and questions about his role on the Knicks, Stoudemire is a risky Fantasy option heading into next season. He should be left for the middle rounds at the earliest on Draft Day.
News: Knicks guard J.R. Smith endured plenty of criticism for his play in the postseason, but now we might have an explanation. According to the New York Post Thursday, Smith spent much of the postseason playing with fluid built up in his left knee. [Smiths] been playing hurt, a source said. He probably shouldve sat out a couple of games. Its what Melo had. Thats why he wasnt driving the ball like he was. Thats why his jump shot wasnt right, not having the lift. Smith's knee started swelling up in March, but it became a bigger deal in the playoffs, when he shot just 33.1 percent from the field in 11 games. Analysis: Smith likely cost himself a ton of money as an impending free agent thanks to his poor performance in the postseason, though that might actually help him end up staying with the Knicks long term. The Knicks can only offer Smith around $5 million this offseason due to their salary cap issues, but he might fall into their price range now. Smith's postseason struggles were especially disappointing after the best regular season of his career, as he scored a career-high 18.1 points per game. Assuming Smith returns to the Knicks, he should be able to put up comparable numbers next season, so plan to target him in the middle rounds on Draft Day.
News: Celtics forward Jared Sullinger had a promising rookie season cut short by back surgery, but he expects to be fully healed by the time the team begins prepping for his sophomore season. He told the Boston Herald he is not rushing through recovery from his February surgery, to avoid any potential setbacks. "Everyone says (the word) back with a question mark, but you might as well put an X through that," he said. "I had surgery, Im taking my time so there wont be any recurring injuries." Sullinger detailed his rehabilitation process as well, noting he expects to be healed by the start of training camp. "Its a 10-week process," he said. "Every two weeks we bump it up 10 percent. September, October Ill be 100 percent to go. I met with the doctor about 10 weeks ago and he said its a full go." Analysis: Sullinger averaged just 6.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 45 games before the injury, but that was in just 19.8 minutes per game. The team's first-round pick from last season is expected to be a big part of their plans moving forward, but the team's roster is up in the air with a number of veterans possibly on the way out this offseason. If Sullinger proves healthy and snags a role that gives him 30-plus minutes, he could emerge as a useful Fantasy option in his second season. However, with the injury risk hanging over him, Fantasy owners should avoid looking his way until the later rounds on Draft Day.