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.
News: Pacers forward David West showed no signs of the calf injury that limited him in practice leading up to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals Wednesday in Miami. West scored 26 points in the game on 11 of 17 shooting, including 4 of 8 from the free-throw line. West added five rebounds and an assist, while turning the ball over four times in a 103-102 loss. Analysis: West is dealing with a strained left calf, but it obviously is not going to keep him off the floor. West is averaging 35.4 minutes per game over the course of the postseason, but that is up to 37.6 over the last five games. West averaged 17.1 points and 7.7 rebounds per game in the regular season, and is about to be a free agent. He should command plenty of interest on the market, and will be a solid Fantasy option in all formats on Draft Day. Plan on targeting him after the first few rounds are over on Draft Day.
News: Heat guard Mario Chalmers took a hard screen in the third quarter of Wednesday's Eastern Conference Finals against the Pacers, suffering a left shoulder injury. He would not return to the game, finishing with 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting in 21 minutes. His status moving forward in the series is not yet known, but the injury was diagnosed as just a bruise. Analysis: Chalmers is averaging 7.3 points per game in the postseason, after putting up 8.6 points per game in the regular season. This injury might not be a big concern, but it will be something for Miami to keep an eye on in the next few days heading into Game 2. Chalmers shot 40.9 percent from three-point range this season, and that is where his Fantasy value will always come from. This injury is unlikely to linger into the offseason, so it should not change his Fantasy value for next season. He remains useful in deeper Rotisserie Fantasy formats on Draft Day.
News: Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony shot just 41.6 percent from the field after suffering a shoulder injury in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Celtics, and now we know why. Despite playing at least 35 minutes in each game from that point on, Anthony was dealing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, according to a New York Daily News report Wednesday. The team hopes that Anthony will not need surgery, but that determination will not been made until he rests for at least three weeks. If Anthony does need surgery it could keep him sidelined three to four months, potentially bumping up against the start of the regular season. Analysis: Anthony struggled throughout the playoffs with his shot, but he was clearly limited by the injury. When healthy this season, Anthony was tremendous, averaging 28.7 points per game en route to his first scoring title. We will keep an eye on his recovery throughout the offseason, as there appears to be an outside chance this could impact his availability for the start of next season. Fantasy owners will want to keep an eye on this injury heading into Draft Day, but Anthony should still be a first-round Fantasy option in all formats.
News: The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports good news from Heat practice Sunday for guard Dwyane Wade. His hobbled knee limited him in the first-round series against the Bucks, and he aggravated it in Game 4 vs. the Bulls, but then returned to help close out the Bulls in Games 4 and 5. Going forward, it's not that Wade can or cannot play, it's to what level he can be effective. Facing a physical, bruising defense in Indiana in the Eastern Conference Finals, Wade's going to be even more banged up. Luckily, he still has another two days to see if he can get even a little bit better. But for the most part, this is kind of standard operating procedure for Wade. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers is Wednesday in Miami. Analysis: It sounds like Wade will be fine for Game 1 against the Pacers, and hopefully he doesn't suffer a setback with his knee moving forward in the playoffs. When healthy and active, Wade is a standout Fantasy option in all leagues, and we hope this knee problem is rectified during the offseason so he's back to 100 percent for the start of next season.
News: With the Lakers hoping for a swift decision from Dwight Howard on his free agency this summer, the All-Star center has given no indication he will rush the process and has privately indicated he plans to give strong consideration to multiple teams, league sources told CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger. Though Howard is adamant his free agency not be marred by the circus-like environment that surrounded his departure from Orlando last summer, word already has spread to multiple levels of his support staff that Howard re-signing with the Lakers is far from a done deal. With six weeks to go before Howard becomes an unrestricted free agent, the team that is said to intrigue him the most is the Rockets, according to multiple people briefed on internal conversations surrounding Howard's free-agent decision. The Rockets have a young star, James Harden, who has proved himself worthy of playing the leading role for the franchise; a budding 3-point shooting threat in Chandler Parsons; a defensive-minded coach in Kevin McHale; and Omer Asik, the kind of 7-footer Howard is believed to want next to him in the frontcourt. Analysis: The Mavericks represent another franchise that intrigues Howard, and Dallas is a minor transaction or two away from having enough room to sign Howard outright as an unrestricted free agent. Howard plans to explore all such options, and a person briefed on his plans told CBSSports.com that there are "several" teams the free-agent center is "going to take a hard look at." The Lakers still have a strong chance of signing Howard, especially from a financial standpoint, so keep an eye on what develops. No matter where Howard plays this season he would remain a No. 1 Fantasy center in all leagues and worth at least a pick in Round 2.
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.