News: Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (knee) returned to the starting lineup for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Grizzlies. Leonard logged 30 minutes as he scored 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the field, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. He also chipped in with two rebounds, two steals, one assist and a blocked shot in a 105-83 victory. Analysis: Leonard's knee problems were a "mild cause of concern" for the Spurs heading into the conference finals. Leonard averaged 12.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game on the season, while shooting 49.6 percent from the field. His role will only continue to grow, so Fantasy owners have to like Leonard's development patter. He will be a big-time breakout candidate heading into next season, worth a mid-round pick on Draft Day.
News: Knicks center Tyson Chandler worked his way around a back issue as he returned to action in Game 6 against the Pacers Saturday night. Chandler was held to just two points on 1 of 4 shooting. He also chipped in with six rebounds in a 106-99 defeat. Analysis: Chandler will have the entire offseason to recover from his back issue. The 7-footer averaged 10.4 points and 10.7 rebounds over 66 games -- marking the second time he has averaged a double-double. He also shot 63.8 percent from the field, but only averaged 20.1 Fantasy points per week as injuries really hampered his production down the stretch. Fantasy owners should plan on scooping him up in the earlier rounds in draft formats next fall.
News: Pacers point guard George Hill, who missed Game 5 with a concussion, returned to the starting lineup Game 6 against the Knicks. Hill scored 12 points on 2 for 10 shooting. He grabbed five boards and dished out four assists in a 106-99 win. Analysis: Hill seems to be healthy enough to play and will now earn a three days of rest before the Eastern Conference Finals. Hill posted career highs in points (14.2), assists (4.7), rebounds (3.7) and steals (1.1) during his first full year as a starter and finish as the 27th highest scoring guard, in terms of Fantasy points, in all standard formats. Fantasy owners should plan on targeting him in the middle rounds of most draft formats next fall.
News: The Boston Globe reports that Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has two years left on his contract but is considering retirement. He turns 37 Sunday. I dont think I have the answers that Kevin will want, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said. So Ive got to figure theres a lot to do [before we talk], and I think theres a lot of questions in Kevins mind, as there is every year, to determine whether hes coming back.Im not ready to answer everything that he will want to know. Analysis: Garnett had another productive year, averaging 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 78.6 percent from the foul line. He will likely return if the Celtics keep Paul Pierce, but that's just speculation. Keep an eye on what happens with the Celtics, and if Garnett is back consider him a solid No. 2 Fantasy center worth a mid-round pick.
News: The Boston Globe reports the Celtics have to decide by June 30 whether to buy out Paul Pierces contract at $5 million. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said the sides have not had discussions, but an NBA source said Pierces family is already beginning to prepare for relocation from Boston, assuming the Celtics will execute the buyout or trade his expiring contract in the offseason.Pierce struggled mightily during the playoffs, and Ainge was asked whether the longtime Celtic was injured. Pauls always battling little things, said Ainge. I think Pauls healthy, but he played so hard and carried such a heavy load. Paul had a terrific year this year, but in the playoffs, New York did a good job of taking away his strengths and taking advantage of some of our weaknesses. But I thought Paul had a terrific year. Analysis: This report makes it seems as though Pierce could be gone, but we'd be surprised if that happens. That said, the Celtics do need to start rebuilding at some point. Keep an eye on what happens with Pierce and where he ends up. He would remain a quality starting option in all leagues no matter where he plays, but we'd like him best if he returned to Boston.
News: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said that the plantar fasciitis in center Joakim Noahs right foot could require surgery, but that Noah would try rehabilitation first. That hasnt been determined, Thibodeau said of Noah undergoing surgery. Obviously, wed like to avoid the surgery. He has responded a lot better. He has found something that has worked. "We want him to get completely healthy That will be the focus, getting him back to 100 percent. He needs some rest, as most of the guys do." Analysis: We hope whatever Noah decides to do with his foot will get him back to being 100 percent for the start of next season. When healthy and active, Noah is an elite Fantasy center in the majority of leagues. He is worth drafting as early as Round 3 or 4 in most formats.
News: The Racine Journal-Times reports that Bucks guard J.J. Redick could be departing this summer. Redick loved Orlando, and was very upset when he was traded. It's not likely that he would return to the Magic, considering their rebuilding condition, but he'll finally be in a position to make his own choices for his career. Redick could want to sign with a contender for less money, or an up-and-coming team for more. Redick averaged 12 points and three assists on just 40 percent shooting in Milwaukee after averaging 15 points and four assists per game with Orlando before the trade deadline. Analysis: Keep an eye on where Redick ends up, and hopefully he lands with a team where he can get playing time and post quality stats. He is worth drafting with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues depending on where he signs.
News: The Contra Costa Times reports that guard Jarrett Jack would like to return to the Warriors next season. Golden State was eliminated from the playoffs by San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals. Usually before I would do any media, I would make sure I was dressed a certain way," he said. "I brought one of my best suits. But looking down at this jersey, its just a sense of pride I dont think Ive ever felt as a professional. Nothing in my closet is better than what I have on now. His future with the Warriors is uncertain. Jack, who made $5 million this season, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He played a pivotal role in the Warriors success as the backup point guard and the late-game ball-handler. So much so, Golden State reached out for extension talks back in January, but Jack declined before talks could get going so he could focus on the season. Analysis: Based on his performance with the Warriors, Jack is expected to get several opportunities and lots of money on the free agent market. Whether he takes the more lucrative offer elsewhere, or whether the Warriors make a competitive offer to keep him, that will all be figured out this summer. But Jack was never more clear about for whom he wants to play: Golden State. Keep an eye on where he ends up next season. He should remain a late-round flier no matter where he signs.
News: The New York Daily News reports that Kurt Thomas is undecided about whether to regain his title as the NBAs oldest player next season. Honestly, I havent thought much about it, the former Knick said. Im just concentrating on getting healthy. Thomas is recovering from right foot surgery and is two weeks from being off crutches. The 40-year-old is a free agent after the Knicks released him last month in order to add a player to the postseason roster. I definitely miss being around the guys, Thomas said over the telephone from his home in Dallas. I miss being a part of the playoffs. And I just miss being around basketball. I love the game. Analysis: Keep an eye on what happens with Thomas heading into next season, but even if he plays somewhere he would have minimal Fantasy value. Ignore him in all leagues on Draft Day.
News: After being held scoreless in Game 4, Bulls guard Nate Robinson bounced back in Wednesday's elimination game against the Heat. Unfortunately, despite scoring 21 points on 6 of 15 shooting, Robinson's season came to a close in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Robinson added six rebounds and five rebounds, while turning the ball over four times in 47 minutes, in a 94-91 loss. He finished the postseason averaging 16.3 points per game in 12 contests. Analysis: Robinson had his finest regular season since 2008-09, averaging 13.1 points and 4.4 assists in just 25.4 minutes per game. Robinson has clearly grown as a player, and he enters free agency at a good time. Coming off a successful year in the Bulls' elite defense will help his value on the market as well. Robinson is unlikely to get a starting role, but an increase in minutes would not be terribly surprising coming off his postseason successes. Robinson should be worth targeting in the mid-to-late rounds on Draft Day in most Fantasy formats.