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What's on the Schedule: Week 9

Fantasy Writer
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Fantasy Week 9 (Feb. 20-26) will be the shortest period of the season, as games only run Monday through Thursday with the NBA's All-Star break starting at the end of the week. There are only 66 games scheduled over the next seven days with most clubs slated to play twice. However, eight teams will play three times, while the Raptors and Bobcats will play just once over during the upcoming scoring period.

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With so few games scheduled this week, Fantasy owners will have little room for error when setting their lineups. One bad game can put teams in an insurmountable hole, which is why it is important to pay a little more attention to matchups this week. Luckily for Fantasy owners, we have gone through this week's schedule with a fine-tooth comb and highlighted the teams with the most intriguing matchups. While we strongly recommend doing your own homework, the information below should give owners some insight on which teams have the best and worst matchups over the next seven days.

The team we feel has the most intriguing schedule this week is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder is one of eight teams slated to play three times during Week 9, although it is the only team with three home games on the docket. Oklahoma City will open the scoring period on Monday night against the Hornets in its third and final matchup of the season against New Orleans. After a day off, the Thunder will close out the scoring period with a back-to-back set against the Celtics and Lakers on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

While facing the Lakers and Celtics in the same week is never an easy task -- especially with both teams ranked in the top five in points allowed -- the Thunder look more than up to the challenge. Oklahoma City has been one of the highest scoring teams this season, averaging nearly 102 points per game. The Thunder put up roughly 104 points per game at home and is shooting a league-best 51 percent from the field at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Despite the defensive prowess of the Lakers and Celtics, we expect Kevin Durant and Co. to score some points this week, so Fantasy owners should feel free to get most of Oklahoma City's Fantasy options active. Other than the obvious choices of Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, owners should be sure to get Serge Ibaka active in most leagues. Even Kendrick Perkins – if healthy -- and Nick Collison could be worth using in deeper formats.

Northwest: Minnesota Timberwolves (@DEN, UTA): The Timberwolves are one of the many teams slated to play twice during Week 9, although Minnesota looks to have some favorable matchups on the docket. Coach Rick Adelman's squad will begin the week in Denver on Monday night before returning home to take on the Jazz on Wednesday evening. While Minnesota will have played a stretch of five games over eight days when all is said and done, owners couldn't have asked for better matchups. Utah and Denver are ranked in the bottom tier in points allowed this season and both teams are allowing opponents to shoot more than 45 percent from the field. Minnesota has also been clicking on offense over the past week and is averaging 99.7 points over its last five games. All signs point to the Timberwolves playing in some high-scoring affairs over the next few days, so owners should not hesitate to use some of Minnesota's lower-end options. Besides must-start options Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, owners should make sure Nikola Pekovic and Luke Ridnour are active this week. Even the head-scratching Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams could be worth using in deeper formats.

Northwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Nuggets MIN @LAC SA
Timberwolves @DEN UTA
Thunder NO BOS LAL
Trail Blazers @LAL SA
Jazz SA @MIN

Southwest: New Orleans Hornets (@OKC, @IND, @CLE): The Hornets are slated to play three times during Week 9, including in their first and only back-to-back-to-back set of the season. All three of New Orleans contests will be played on the road, starting Monday night against the Thunder. The Hornets will take on the Pacers on Tuesday before wrapping up the first half of the season on Wednesday against Cleveland, which will conclude a grueling five-game road trip that spanned over eight days. While fatigue and depth will likely play a big factor for the Hornets this week, points could also be come to tough by. New Orleans is already averaging a league-worst 86.3 points per game on the road this season and now will have to face two of the better defensive teams. Both Indiana and Oklahoma City rank in the top five in opponent field-goal percentage, while the Hornets have scored more than 90 points just once over their last five games. However, there are still some Fantasy options worth using on the Hornets, despite their gloomy upcoming outlook. Chris Kaman has been playing well and is worth starting this week in most formats as well as Gustavo Ayon. However, owners may want to leave the consistently inconsistent Trevor Ariza reserved in most formats as well as Jarrett Jack since he is still working his way back from a knee injury.

Southwest Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Mavericks BOS LAL
Rockets MEM PHI
Grizzlies @HOU PHI DAL
Hornets @OKC @IND @CLE
Spurs @UTA @POR @DEN

Pacific: Los Angeles Clippers (@GS, DEN): The Clippers are slated to play twice during Week 9 and look to have some favorable matchups on tap. Los Angeles will start the week on the road at Golden State on Monday night before returning home for a matchup against the Nuggets on Wednesday. While two games don't leave Fantasy owners much room for error in case of a down performance, the Clippers should be able to score some points this week. Both Denver and Golden State are allowing more than 100 points per contest and Los Angeles has put up over 100 points against each team once already this season. Despite the light schedule, Fantasy owners should have no qualms about using most of the Clippers' main Fantasy options this week. Make sure Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Caron Butler and DeAndre Jordan are all active for the scoring period. Even Randy Foye could be worth a look in deeper leagues.

Pacific Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Warriors LAC @PHO
Clippers @GS DEN
Lakers POR @DAL @OKC
Suns WAS GS
Kings @MIA @WAS

Central: Milwaukee Bucks (ORL, @CHI): The Bucks have two games scheduled this week, although both are against two of the league's better defensive teams. Milwaukee will begin the week with its third matchup of the year against the Magic on Monday night before wrapping up the scoring period on the road at Chicago on Wednesday night. Both Orlando and Chicago are ranked in the top 10 in points allowed and opponent field-goal percentage, plus the Bucks are winless against both clubs this season. Milwaukee has also been struggling to light up the scoreboard over the past week, as the Bucks have averaged just 91 points per game over their last four contests. Playing the Magic and Bulls this week likely won't help coach Scott Skiles' club solve their offensive issues, so owners may want to try and avoid using some of Milwaukee's Fantasy options during the upcoming scoring period. Brandon Jennings' recent shooting woes make him a candidate to sit this week and Drew Gooden is dealing with wrist and knee issues, making him an injury risk. Surprisingly, Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino have been Milwaukee's two most consistent producers of late, so owners may want to consider rolling with those two this week.

Central Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Bulls ATL MIL
Cavaliers DET NO
Pistons @CLE @TOR
Pacers NO @CHA
Bucks ORL @CHI @SAC

Southeast: Charlotte Bobcats (IND): The Bobcats are one of two teams slated to play only once during Week 9, but at least their lone game is at home. However, it will be against the Pacers on Wednesday night, one of the better defensive teams in the league. Indiana is surrendering an average of 92.8 points per game and is allowing opponents to shoot just 43 percent from the field. Charlotte was held to just 77 points in its lone matchup against the Pacers this season and there is little reason to think that Charlotte won't have trouble scoring when these two clubs meet again. While the Bobcats are finally starting to get some key pieces healthy, they are still nowhere near full strength, which makes players like D.J. Augustin and Corey Maggette risky plays with only one game on the docket. Fantasy owners should try and avoid using any of the Bobcats' Fantasy options this week -- if possible. If you have no choice, Austin, Maggette and Kemba Walker are the only players we recommend for the week.

Southeast Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Hawks @CHI @NY ORL
Bobcats IND
Heat SAC NY
Magic @MIL @NJ @ATL
Wizards @PHO SAC

Atlantic: Toronto Raptors (DET): The Raptors are the other team with just one game on the docket for Week 9 and just like the Bobcats, it will also be at home. Toronto will play host to the Pistons on Wednesday night in the first of three meetings between the two teams. While Detroit is not known as one of the stingier teams in the league, Fantasy owners should still try and avoid using most of the Raptors' Fantasy options where possible. Toronto has really had problems scoring points since Andrea Bargnani went down with a calf injury and receives sporadic production from most of its main options. DeMar DeRozan continues to struggle shooting the ball, while Amir Johnson and Ed Davis have been non-existent at times this season. The Raptors' most consistent producer this season has been Jose Calderon, who is the only player we feel comfortable endorsing this week. Fantasy owners should consider starting any of Toronto's other options at their own peril.

Atlantic Division schedule
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Celtics @DAL @OKC
Nets @NY @ORL
Knicks NJ ATL @MIA
76ers @MEM @HOU
Raptors DET      
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Player News
Wizards sign Paul Pierce to two-year deal on mid-level exception
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) The Wizards and forward Paul Pierce agreed on a two-year contract at the mid-level exception, according to ESPN's Marc Stein on Saturday. Pierce will have a player option in the second year of his deal.

Pierce averaged 13.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season for the Nets, the lowest averages of his career across the board.

Hornets ink Marvin Williams to two-year deal
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) Free agent forward Marvin Williams has agreed to a two-year, $14 million contract with the Hornets, according to ESPN on Saturday. Williams averaged 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 66 games for the Jazz.

LeBron James signs two-year deal with Cavaliers
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) If LeBron James agreeing to join the Cavaliers Friday came as a surprise, the contract his signed Saturday is just as surprising.

James has signed a deal for just two years with the Cavaliers according to ESPN.com, an it also includes an opt-out after the first season. He will be paid $42.1 million over the course of the deal, and he plans to re-sign following the 2015-16 season. The league's new television contract is expected to kick in for the 2016-17 season, raising the value of the salary cap -- and the maximum contract value as well.


Pau Gasol announces signing with Bulls
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) Free agent center Pau Gasol announced he is signing with the Bulls Saturday, confirming multiple reports that he was leaning that that way.

Yahoo.com reported the Bulls were working on a sign-and-trade with the Lakers for Gasol, but that deal fell through, limiting how much the Bulls can offer. Gasol will sign a mulit-year deal with a starting salary of approximately $6.5 million according to report, though exact details are not yet known.

Gasol played in 60 games last season, averaging 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. 


Trevor Ariza signs four-year deal with Rockets
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) Free agent forward Trevor Ariza is repeating history, as he opted to sign as a free agent with the Rockets for the second time in his career, as first reported by USA Today.

Ariza has agreed to a four-year deal worth $32 million, with Yahoo.com reporting he will have a declining salary in each year, starting at $8.6 million in 2014-15.

Ariza put together one of the finest seasons of his career last year, averaging 14.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for the Wizards. He also shot a career-best 40.7 percent from three-point range, after posting a career-best 36.4 percent mark the previous season. 


Cavs send Alonzo Gee to New Orleans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) The Cavaliers completed a trade sending forward Alonzo Gee to the Pelicans Saturday, in exchange for a second-round pick.  

Gee is expected to either be traded or waived by the Pelicans in the coming days, thanks to his $3.2 million unguaranteed contract for next season, according to The Times-Picayune. 


Hornets, Cavaliers announce minor move
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) The Cavaliers acquired center Brendan Haywood and the draft rights to Dwight Powell from the Hornets for guard Scotty Hopson, the team announced Saturday.

Haywood did not play at all for the Bobcats last year.  


Anthony Morrow signs for three years in Oklahoma City
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) The Thunder have added free-agent guard Anthony Morrow on a three-year deal, The Oklahoman reports Saturday.

Morrow's deal is reportedly worth $10 million with a team option for the third year. He averaged 8.4 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in 76 appearances for the Pelicans last season, and is a career 42.8 percent three-point shooter. 


Carmelo Anthony returning to Knicks
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) Free agent forward Carmelo Anthony has decided to re-sign with the Knicks, CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger was able to confirm Saturday.

Exact details on the contract are not yet known, but Anthony is expected to sign a five-year max contract which could pay him $129.5 million total. That deal would begin with $22.5 million in 2014-15.

Anthony missed the playoffs with the Knicks last season for the first time in his career, but still averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. 


Vince Carter signs three-year deal with Grizzlies
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(7/12/2014) Free agent guard Vince Carter is jumping from one Western Conference playoff team to another, after he agreed to terms on a three-year deal with the Grizzlies Friday.

According to multiple media reports, Carter will sign a three-year deal worth $12.2 million with the Grizzlies. ESPN.com reports the Mavericks offered Carter a two-year deal worth $8 million to return, but could not officially make that offer with their cap space tied up in other offers.

Carter had a solid age-37 season, averaging 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 24.4 minutes per game. 


 
 
 
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