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Courtside Seat: Lin is prime trade bait

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We interrupt Linsanity to bring you another topic facing Fantasy owners -- the NBA trade deadline. March 15 is just a month away, and several prominent players could be on the move, which will impact all Fantasy leagues.

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Here are five players who could be traded before the deadline, and where they end up could change their Fantasy value. If you know they are on the move, you might want to buy or sell in your league now before their value either improves or declines.

As for Linsanity, we'll address Jeremy Lin further down as we explain why he is someone to sell high before this phenomenon ends.

Dwight Howard, C, Magic
Key stats: 20.1 points, 15.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks
Rumored destinations: Lakers, Nets, Knicks and Bulls
If traded his Fantasy value would: stay the same
Howard is going to remain a beast wherever he goes, but it would be interesting to see him play with someone like Kobe Bryant, who commands the ball. At least we know his rebounding would remain high. Going to the Nets might increase his value since he would likely have to do more scoring, but he would also see more double teams. A trade to the Knicks seems unlikely at this point, and the Bulls don't seem ready to blow up their roster to bring in Howard. We know Howard's list of trade partners is growing, but the Lakers and Nets seem the most likely.

Stephen Jackson, SG, Bucks
Key stats: 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists
Rumored destinations: Clippers and Hornets
If traded his Fantasy value would: improve dramatically
Everyone knew Jackson and Scott Skiles wouldn't mix, and we've seen Jackson more on the bench than on the court. He needs to get out of Milwaukee as soon as possible, and going to the Clippers makes the most sense after losing Chauncey Billups (Achilles tendon). Jackson has scored at least 18.5 points in each of his past four seasons, and his scoring would rise in a new city. This is the time to trade for Jackson because he will only improve on a new roster, and it would be a shock to see him finish the season with the Bucks.

Chris Kaman, C, Hornets
Current stats: 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.3 blocks
Rumored destinations: Pacers, Rockets, Heat and Bucks
If traded his Fantasy value would: decline
A Kaman-for-Jackson trade would help both players since Kaman could help replace the injured Andrew Bogut (ankle) in Milwaukee and remain a solid Fantasy option. A trade to the Pacers or Heat would hinder his value, and he might not benefit much if he goes to the Rockets. He's playing well now with the Hornets as they continue to showcase him, and he has four double-doubles in his past five games with seven blocks over that span. It might not be a bad thing if he remained in New Orleans, but we know the Hornets need to trade him, which will definitely happen.

Steve Nash, PG, Suns
Current stats: 14.6 points, 10.7 assists, 2.6 rebounds
Rumored destinations: Magic, Knicks and Trail Blazers
If traded his Fantasy value would: decline
Nash has been in the same system since 2004, and he has averaged a double-double in points and assists in all but one year. So a trade to the Knicks, to be reunited with Mike D'Antoni, would benefit Nash the most. However, following the emergence of Lin, that move is not likely to happen. CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger recently went on the Jim Rome radio show and mentioned Nash going to Orlando (with Howard staying). Berger said Nash running the Magic offense with all those 3-point shooters would be solid. Nash will still remain a quality Fantasy option wherever he goes, but his best value would be if he stays with the Suns.

Ramon Sessions, PG, Cavaliers
Current stats: 10.2 points, 5.7 assists, 3.2 rebounds
Rumored destination: Lakers
If traded his Fantasy value would: improve slightly
The good thing about Sessions is we've seen what he's been capable of doing as a starter since he has two double-doubles in points and assists in his past four games with 41 assists over that span in place of Kyrie Irving (concussion). He would likely start for the Lakers or play the majority of minutes at point guard, but I wouldn't get overexcited about that. The Lakers don't have a need for a ton of production at point guard with Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Still, the increased minutes would help his value, and he is someone to target in trade now.

Each week we will take a look at a variety of topics around the NBA. We will look at guys to trade, trade for, add off the waiver wire and also answer some of your social media questions, among other things. It's our CBSSports.com potpourri look at Fantasy Basketball.

Sell-high candidates

Brandon Jennings, PG, Bucks
Why you should trade him: Jennings has struggled of late. In his past five games he is averaging 14.4 points, 4.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 31.2 percent from the field. Those stats are down from his season averages, and he could be trending in the wrong direction. You might want to sell him now in case this continues.

DeAndre Jordan, C, Clippers
Why you should trade him: Jordan has been a serviceable No. 2 center for most of the season, but his value is on the decline. He has one double-double in his past six games, and he has just one game with more than 24 minutes over that span. He is losing playing time to Kenyon Martin, and the Clippers will likely continue to give Martin an increased opportunity.

Jeremy Lin, PG, Knicks
Why you should trade him: We all know Lin has been awesome. In his past five games, he is averaging 23.6 points, 9.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds. But you have to be concerned if he can keep this up, especially once Carmelo Anthony (groin) returns. The smart play is to trade him now while his value is at an all-time high. You can probably get something great in return.

Tony Parker, PG, Spurs
Why you should trade him: Parker is having an amazing season at 19.0 points and a career-high 7.8 assists, but with Manu Ginobili back after missing 22 games with a broken hand you will see Parker's production decline. In the first two games since Ginobili returned, Parker averaged 13.0 points and 6.0 assists, and he might continue to suffer going forward.

Kemba Walker, SG, Bobcats
Why you should trade him: Walker has filled in admirably in place of D.J. Augustin (toe) and Gerald Henderson (hamstring), but Augustin is back now. Augustin's return is expected to put Walker on the bench, and Corey Maggette is also healthy. Walker will still get plenty of playing time, but he won't average 15.2 points like he's done to start February.

Buy-low candidates

Carmelo Anthony, SF, Knicks
Why you should trade for him: Fantasy owners are sprinting from Anthony because of Lin's explosion on the scene, but let's keep things in perspective. Anthony is still averaging 22.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists in a down year. If you can find an owner willing to unload him for the right price then acquire him now because when healthy he will produce.

Jamal Crawford, SG, Trail Blazers
Why you should trade for him: Crawford has scored at least 17 points and dished out five assists in four of his past six games. He is seeing increased playing time with Raymond Felton struggling, and Crawford will continue to improve unless Portland makes a trade for someone like Nash. We like Crawford to keep getting better as the season goes on.

Zach Randolph, PF, Grizzlies
Why you should trade for him: Randolph has been out with a knee injury, but he is expected to return in early March. He will be a great addition to a Fantasy playoff run, especially if he gets close to 100 percent. When healthy, Randolph is capable of averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, which is something he's done each of the past three seasons.

Derrick Rose, PG, Bulls
Why you should trade for him: Rose is dealing with a back injury, which has hampered him of late and caused him to miss the past three games. His Fantasy owners are frustrated, which is the perfect time to strike. Prior to sitting out, Rose averaged 29.0 points, 13.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds in two games, and he should be a beast when he returns at 100 percent.

Greivis Vasquez, PG, Hornets
Why you should trade for him: Jarrett Jack (knee) should return soon, but that shouldn't matter to Vasquez now that Eric Gordon (knee) is out for another six weeks. Vasquez will continue to get plenty of playing time, and he is worth buying now. We've seen what Vasquez can do when he gets an opportunity, and you can probably trade for him for a low price.

Free agent watch

Here are five guys I am looking at in my leagues:

Tristan Thompson, PF, Cavaliers
Owned: 44 percent of leagues

Carlos Delfino, SG, Bucks
Owned: 43 percent of leagues

C.J. Watson, PG, Bulls
Owned: 32 percent of leagues

J.R. Smith, SG, free agent
Owned: 29 percent of leagues

Chris Wilcox, PF, Celtics
Owned: 4 percent of leagues

Thompson should get an increased look with Anderson Varejao (wrist) out, and he is someone to put on your radar in case he starts to play well. Delfino has been on a tear of late with 17 3-pointers in his past five games, and his playing time has been consistent at 30 minutes per game over that span. Watson is taking advantage of Rose being out, and Wilcox should benefit with Brandon Bass (knee) out. Smith and Wilson Chandler (35 percent ownership) are looking for new teams after playing in China and they could be valuable additions in the right city.

Social media corner

@Matt Salter on Twitter wants to know: I need a center or forward and available are Trevor Booker, Kaman, Corey Brewer, Trevor Ariza and Gustavo Ayon.

I'd roll with Kaman since he's playing well now, especially with Emeka Okafor (knee) banged up, and he could see an increase in value if he's traded. Ariza is also solid, and Booker has played well with Andray Blatche (calf) out. But Kaman has the most upside of this group.

@nate mcwilliams on Twitter wants to know: Would you rather have Drew Gooden or Luis Scola for the rest of the year?

Gooden is the better option because he has been on a tear since Bogut went down. Scola has played well at times, but he's been more of a bust this season than a star. Gooden could lose value if Bogut returns early or the Bucks add someone via trade, but ride him now while he's hot.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyNews . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Lakers sign Wayne Ellington right before training camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9/22/2014) With one week before the start of training camp, the Lakers have signed five-year veteran guard Wayne Ellington to a contract, the team announced. Ellington is now with his fourth team since June, after failing to crack the rotation with the Mavericks in 2013.

Ellington averaged 3.2 points on 43.7 percent shooting from the field over 45 games for Dallas.

Andray Blatche heading to China
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) Free-agent center Andray Blatche has signed a one-year deal with the Xinjiang Guanghui Flying Tigers in China. Blatche's deal with pay him almost $2.5 million, and he'll be able to rejoin an NBA team in March, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Report: Kings add Ramon Sessions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/20/2014) The Kings have agreed to a two-year, $4.2-million deal with free-agent guard Ramon Sessions , Yahoo! Sports reports.

The team is reportedly using its bi-annual exception provision to sign Sessions, who averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 83 games between two teams last season.


Omer Asik ready to clean up in return to starting role
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Last season was a rough one for Omer Asik, who had to deal with returning to a reserve role after really shining as a starter the previous year. He should be much happier with his role this season, as the Pelicans acquired him this offseason with the intention of installing him as the starting center.

The Pelicans should have a fearsome frontcourt with Asik starting next to Anthony Davis, and Davis' presence should free Asik up to do the kind of work he excels at. Asik isn't a great offensive player, but he can be a dominant offensive rebounder, and should have many chances to clean up the boards with teams keying in on Davis offensively. Among players who have logged at least 5,000 minutes in the NBA, Asik is 22nd all-time in offensive rebounding percentage.

Asik had trouble staying healthy last season, but that was the first time he had ever missed a regular-season game in his career, so we can probably write that off as a fluke. He averaged a double-double with 1.1 blocks per game in 30.0 minutes per game two years ago, and should be capable of similar production as he returns to a starting role.

Asik should be viewed as a starting Fantasy option this season, though he may not have the upside of some other younger centers at this point. 


Tobias Harris' Fantasy value a mystery at this point
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Perception is a funny thing. Just ask Magic forward Tobias Harris, who enjoyed by far the most productive season of his career in 2013-14 but was somehow viewed as a Fantasy disappointment.

Part of that stemmed from Harris' issues with availability, as he missed 20 games and got off to a slow start to the season as a result. It really took until January for Harris to find his stride, but he averaged 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game from Jan. 1 on, without missing a contest.

Harris was probably better than the general perception of him a year ago, but the power of expectations hurt him. And now he enters his fourth season as something of a career crossroads, and it is hard to say just how Fantasy owners should approach him this season.

The Magic added Channing Frye and Aaron Gordon to the roster this season, further confusing what was already one of the most crowded frontcourts in the league. Harris can play both forward spots, but he is probably best used as a small-ball power forward; the presence of Frye, one of the league's elite stretch-fours certainly complicates matters for Harris, then.

At just 22, Harris still has a world of potential ahead of him. However, he probably profiles best as a reserve Fantasy option heading into the season, given concerns about his role.   


Hype may be too high for Giannis Antetokounmpo
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) No matter what he accomplishes in his second NBA season, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is likely to be a historical outlier, given his age. The question is, how much of a leap can the now-20-year-old take next season.

Only 15 players in NBA history have logged as many minutes in a single season as a teenager as Antetokounmpo's 1,897, so he is occupying fairly rarified air already. His age is a big part of why he is considered a big-time breakout prospect for Fantasy purposes, but he has a long way to go from a statistical standpoint.

Antetokounmpo was good for a 19-year-old rookie, but his season averages of 6.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game left a lot to be desired. It is easy to dream about a Antetokounmpo taking a big step forward, but that next step is never guaranteed -- for every Anthony Davis there is a Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whose development follows a slower, less linear path. 

Antetokounmpo was very good -- for a 19-year-old. However, Fantasy owners don't get extra points, rebounds or assists if the degree of difficulty is higher, so you are betting on Giannis taking a huge step forward at the age of 20. Antetokounmpo has become something of an internet darling, and his play in Summer League and the FIBA World Cup dominated much of the offseason discussion, which only helped build the hype to potentially unsustainable levels. 

He is a lottery ticket, for sure, but he is one that might not be worth the cost at this point. 


Improved jump shot all Jimmy Butler needs
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Bulls guard Jimmy Butler had the breakout season many expected from him a year ago, but there were still plenty of flaws apparent in his game as he finished his third NBA season. With a better team around him, Butler just might have enough help to vault him to stardom.

Butler's jump shot abandoned him last season, especially after a toe injury forced him to miss 11 games in November and December. He was shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from three-point range prior to the injury, but connected on just 39.3 percent of his shots overall and 27.1 percent from three-point range from that point on.

We can blame Butler's season-long shooting slump on the injury or his increased offensive role, but he should have neither excuse available for him this season. Butler should be healthy, and the Bulls added plenty of offensive firepower this offseason, in the form of Pau Gasol and Doug McDermott, not to mention a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose. Butler took 154 shots off the dribble last season, per Stats.NBA.com, and made just 30.7 percent of them. With a better team around him, Butler should get many more opportunities to shoot with his feet set.

Butler has the skill set to be a tremendously efficient offensive player, given how often he bullies his way to the free-throw line. Last season, Butler filled up the box score extremely well, but his poor shooting limited his Fantasy value somewhat. If a new role helps his efficiency, he could be one of the very best guards in the league in category-based formats. 


Lance Stephenson set for bigger role in new setting
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Though there were fits and starts, Lance Stephenson finally began to live up to his considerable promise last season. Now in a new home in Charlotte, will Stephenson take another step forward in 2014-15?

By the end of last season, the Pacers were a mess, and Stephenson caught plenty of the blame for that. Still, he might have been arguably the team's most consistent player throughout the season, averaging between 25.8 and 29.7 Fantasy points per game from before and after the All-Star break as well as the playoffs. For as much of a mess as that team was, Stephenson emerged as something of a rock, at least for Fantasy purposes.

The Hornets are actually built in a somewhat similar way to the Pacers, so there wont' be much of a stylistic shift for Stephenson to get used to. Per MySynergySports.com, 11.8 percent of the then-Bobcats' possessions ended in post-ups, actually down from the 13.2 percent mark the Pacers' posted. Stephenson struggled at times with his post-entry passing, though his off-target feeds might find their mark more often when being lobbed in to the soft hands of Al Jefferson, as opposed to Roy Hibbert.

The Hornets might lean even more heavily on Stephenson than the Pacers did, since Indiana liked to spread the ball around with their starting five. The Hornets, on the other hand, look to be extremely top-heavy, and Stephenson will get plenty of chances to be the second or third option. We have him projected for 29.1 Fantasy points per game, and consider Stephenson a borderline top-50 Fantasy option for this season.  


Move to Houston won't alter Trevor Ariza's trajectory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Trevor Ariza parlayed a career-year into a lucrative free-agency contract with the Rockets this offseason -- stop me if you've heard this story before.

Ariza was largely a disappointment in his first stint with the Rockets, though it did lead him to the best per-game numbers of his career. Still, Ariza was obviously miscast as a primary offensive option the last time he was in Houston, and that won't be a problem this time around.

Ariza joins a Rockets team with two established stars, and will likely spend much of his time trying to fill the departed Chandler Parsons' role. That should suit him nicely, as Ariza has just enough of an off-the-bounce game to serve as the team's third ballhandler when the shot clock gets deep. Ariza attempted 11.1 field-goal attempts per game last season, and should see a boost given Parsons' role; he attempted 13.3 shots per game.

Ariza's improved three-point shot seems legitimate, as he is shooting 38.6 percent from long range over 738 attempts since 2012. However, he will no longer have John Wall feeding him for juicy corner 3-pointers; Wall to Ariza was the league's most productive corner-three combination last season. His shooting numbers may take a hit with his move.

Even acknowledging the loss of Wall's help, we know the Houston offense is set up to get every player the most efficient shots possible, so Ariza shouldn't see much of a dip in his efficiency. His ability to fill up the box score makes him a perfect No. 2 option at forward in category-based leagues, especially now that he is a high-volume shooter. 


Despite new role, don't write off Isaiah Thomas entirely
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Suns guard Isaiah Thomas might see one of the biggest dropoffs in his Fantasy value from last season to this, as he joins the crowded Suns' backcourt.

The Suns might have three All-Star caliber guards in the backcourt now, with Thomas likely to backup Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe this season. That should put a serious dent in Thomas' value; Thomas finished 13th in Fantasy scoring among guards a year ago, but is projected to finish just 43rd this season.

Still, Thomas is definitely someone you'll want to add to your team when drafting, and almost certainly before the rest of the No. 4-type guards he is grouped with. Thomas is likely to see his numbers fall off from the 20.3 points and 6.3 assists he averaged a year ago, at least at first. However, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up starting upwards of 25 games throughout the year, given Bledsoe's injury-proneness. Bledsoe has missed at least 25 games in two of the last three seasons for knee issues.

Thomas probably profiles as more of a bench option for Fantasy purposes next season, but you'll be targeting him much earlier than nearly any other reserve. His upside as a handcuff option for either Bledsoe or Dragic is sky-high, and will make him well worth your attention on Draft Day. 


 
 
 
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