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Waiver Wire: Trades making an impact

Fantasy Writer
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This was one of the busiest weeks of the year for player movement so far, as no fewer than 27 separate players were either added or dropped in 10 percent or more of CBSSports.com Fantasy Basketball leagues. We lost a handful of major players across the league to injury, while a six-player, three-team trade last Wednesday shook up a few rotations in a big way.

The biggest gainer and loser came from the same team, as Magic rookie forward Maurice Harkless was added in 42 percent of leagues, the same number that dropped Glen Davis in the same time. Davis suffered a broken foot that required surgery and will likely cost him most, if not all, of the remainder of the season. Another Magic forward, Andrew Nicholson, also saw his ownership jump from 7 percent to 17 percent, so we need to see which of these two rookies is going to see the biggest jump from Davis' absence.

The early returns suggest it will be Harkless who sees the lion's share of the minutes with Davis out, as he was already working his way into the starting lineup prior to Davis' injury. In the four games since Davis went down, Harkless is averaging 10.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while shooting just 36.3 percent from the field.

Nicholson has also recently joined the starting lineup with Harkless, and he has shown flashes of possibly being a better option at this time. In three starts, Nicholson is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 56.0 percent from the field. He has been more efficient and effective than Harkless, however he has been unable to take on quite as heavy a load, averaging just 23.7 minutes per game to Harkless' 37.8 per game.

Nicholson was selected four spots after Harkless, and is four years older, so the Magic may be faced with a conundrum moving forward -- Harkless' development is more important for the long-term future of the franchise, while Nicholson may be able to provide more immediate value, based on the small-sample size data.

I would guess Harkless is going to see more consistent playing time than Nicholson, despite Nicholson looking more capable of making an impact right now. On the season, Nicholson is averaging 3.5 minutes per game fewer than Harkless, but is contributing more points (7.4 to 4.7) and only slightly fewer rebounds (3.3 to 3.7). Both players are going to see bigger roles moving forward, but Harkless' upside makes him worth hanging on to. He could end up putting up solid numbers on a bad team over the second half of the season.

Most Added Guards

Nate Robinson, Bulls: Robinson and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau have made an odd pairing all year long, with Thibodeau's intense, defense-first style seemingly at odds with Robinson's shoot-first (and if that doesn't work, shoot-always) approach. And yet, necessity has brought the two together and has produced some rather impressive results recently. "Nate has always been a shot-maker, and that was a need," Thibodeau told Grantland.com Tuesday. "I think he's capable of playing good defense when he's focused. He's older now. He's gained some experience." Robinson is on fire recently and Thibodeau has been relying on him heavily, to prop up an offense that has struggled at times. The diminutive 28-year-old has now scored in double-figures in each of the last 11 games, while averaging 28.1 minutes per game. One thing to keep in mind with Robinson is that this ride is almost certainly going to come to an end before long, as the Bulls expect Derrick Rose to return from knee surgery soon, possibly in the next few weeks. That will almost certainly lead to Robinson's return to Fantasy irrelevance, which explains why so many Fantasy owners are hesitant to use a roster spot on him. I think he is worth snagging in all available leagues right now; handle Rose's return when it comes. (66 percent owned; +35 percent)

Jerryd Bayless, Grizzlies: Somewhat surprisingly, Bayless has been the biggest beneficiary of the Rudy Gay trade, as the Grizzlies have left him in the starting lineup since losing their starting small forward. Bayless got hot with Mike Conley dealing with an injury, and coach Lionel Hollins has opted to keep him in their smaller starting lineup even with Conley back. Bayless got off to a disappointing start to the season, and it has taken him a long time to actually get going. He averaged less than 7.5 points per game in each of the first three months of the season, though he has been showing plenty of life recently. Bayless is averaging 10.1 points per game over the last 10 games, and 19.6 over the last five, as his resurgence has come very recently. Bayless is not particularly efficient as a scorer, and he does not always do well when asked to create for others, but the Grizzlies are sill badly in need of some offensive help. Bayless should continue to see solid minute, as the Grizzlies' 18th-ranked offense needs off-the-dribble creation whenever possible. Don't expect 20-plus points consistently, but I would continue to suggest grabbing Bayless. (57 percent owned; +25 percent)

Eric Bledsoe, Clippers: Chris Paul has missed eight of the last nine games, and while this has been a boon for Bledsoe's Fantasy value, it has brought the Clippers' rise to prominence to a screeching halt. Los Angeles has lost seven of the last nine games, despite Bledsoe stepping his game up and averaging 12.8 points and 5.9 assists over that span. Bledsoe's increased role, and the improved numbers that have come with it, have led to an increase in Fantasy value, but owners need to be aware that it is an improvement that is unlikely to be sustained. ESPN.com reported Tuesday that Paul expects to be back by the weekend, which will move Bledsoe back to the bench. Bledsoe averages just 8.4 points and 2.6 assists per game when coming off the bench, so be prepared to drop him one Paul returns. (73 percent owned; +16 percent)

Most Added Forwards

Taj Gibson, Bulls: In the span of one week, Gibson has gone from a Fantasy non-entity to one of the hottest commodities around, as injuries have decimated the Bulls' frontcourt. Forward Carlos Boozer was forced to miss three of the last four games with a hamstring injury, while center Joakim Noah was forced out of the last three due to a plantar fasciitis issue. Those injuries have left the Bulls stretch, and coach Thibodeau has relied heavily on Gibson as a result. Gibson has played at least 40 minutes in each of the three games since Noah was sidelined, and he is averaging 15.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game. As with all players who see a big boost due to injury, Fantasy owners will obviously need to keep an eye on the Bulls' injury report. Clearly, all Gibson needs to be a Fantasy contributor is a chance; unfortunately, his chance depends on other players getting hurt. As long as Noah remains out, Gibson is worth keeping on the roster. (47 percent owned; +42 percent)

Michael Beasley, Suns: I expected a breakout season from Beasley, on a rebuilding Suns team that seemed likely to need an offensive boost. While Phoenix's 24th-ranked offense has certainly needed help this season, Beasley has very rarely provided the sort of lift we thought was coming when he signed a three-year deal this offseason. Lately, however, there have been signs that Beasley is finding his comfort zone as a scorer, as the former No. 2 overall pick has reached double-figures in seven of the last 11 games, including four 20-point efforts. Many Fantasy owners have hung on to Beasley, but there has still been enough room for movement for him to have been the sixth-most added player this week. Beasley is still maddeningly inconsistent, scoring in single-digits in four of the last 10 games, despite averaging 15.8 per game. The Suns seem to have developed a policy wherein they ride Beasley when he is hot, and give him a quick yank otherwise; he has played fewer than 28 minutes in each of his single-digit scoring games. Fantasy owners will not like the day-to-day production Beasley is providing, but his overall production is starting to push him back into low-end starting territory, despite being unpredictable. (82 percent owned; +24 percent)

Jimmy Butler, Bulls: Like his teammate Gibson, Butler emerged as a Fantasy option due to injuries in the Bulls' rotation. Unlike Gibson, Butler has been able to prove his worth even with the team healthy, as he is still seeing upwards of 30 minutes per night with Luol Deng back. Butler first made his name a few weeks ago by stepping up in Deng's absence, but he has slid in nicely at the shooting guard spot next two Deng, while also showing the ability to guard three positions. He is still developing as a shooter, but it looks like he has worked his way safely into coach Thibodeau's circle of trust. Butler should be good for a dozen points and five-to-six rebounds per game moving forward, so continue to add the 23-year-old. (62 percent owned; +23 percent)

Most Added Centers

Aaron Gray, Raptors:Gray exploded with a 22-point game last Monday, and has been on Fantasy owners minds since. He is averaging 28.8 minutes per game in the last four games, and seems to be cemented in as the team's starting center in the aftermath of the Ed Davis trade. Gray has 21 total points in the three games since Davis was moved, however he has grabbed 35 rebounds in that same span. Fantasy owners snagging him are surely hoping that he can fill in as a low-end option in the shallow center position, but I would not do more than pencil him into the lineup. At 28, we pretty much know who Aaron Gray is, and there is little to indicate that he will be worth keeping on the roster for long. Don't rush out to grab him, despite his entrance into the starting five. (17 percent owned; +16 percent)

Byron Mullens, Bobcats:Mullens was one of the more unique players in Fantasy prior to his injury, as he was averaging 7.9 rebounds per game while attempting more than one-third of his shots from three-point range. That combination led to some ugly efficiency numbers for a center, but it also gave you a rare combination of three-point shooting and rebounding that proved useful in category-based Fantasy formats. He is back from a 19-game absence, and was inserted right back into the rotation Monday, playing 28 minutes in a loss to the Heat. Mullens can be an incredibly frustrating Fantasy option, as there are plenty of nights where he struggles to get his shots to fall. Still, this was a center who scored in double figures in 17 of 27 games prior to the injury, and is worth picking up in most Fantasy formats. (75 percent owned; +5 percent)

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Player News
Rockets guard Jason Terry will return next season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:23 am ET) Rockets veteran guard Jason Terry is planning to return to basketball next season, according to ESPN.com.

Terry, who is set to become a free agent this offseason, was asked after the game if he is considering playing again in 2015-16.

"One hundred percent," Terry said before Monday's tipoff.

Terry averaged 7.0 points and 1.9 assists per game in the regular season.


Warriors big man Marreese Speights seeks return for finals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:12 am ET) Warriors backup center/forward Marreese Speights, who missed his seventh playoff game with a right calf sprain, plans to be back by the start of the NBA Finals on June 4, assuming his team advances, per the Contra Costa Times.

Speights only averaged 7.6 minutes per game in seven playoff games before going down. He played 17 minutes per game in the regular season.


Warriors F Draymond Green doubles up in loss to Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Warriors forward Draymond Green posted a double-double in Monday night's 128-115 loss to the Rockets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. 

Green scored 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. He also brought down 15 rebounds and recorded four assists. Green made two of his five three-point attempts as well. 

This is Green's 10th double-double of the postseason and second in a row. 


Rockets G James Harden drops 45 in Game 4 win
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Rockets guard James Harden had a magnificent game to help keep his team alive in the playoffs. 

Down 3-0 entering Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Harden scored 45 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the field in Houston's 128-115 win over Golden State. This marked the second time Harden has scored over 40 times during the postseason. 

Harden made 7 of 11 three-pointers and made sank 12 of his 13 free-throw attempts. He also had nine rebounds and five assists. 


Warriors G Stephen Curry (head) returned to Game 4 vs. Rockets
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Warriors guard Stephen Curry was able to return to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Rockets after sustaining a head contusion in the second quarter. 

It was a scary moment for Curry, who hit his head on the court after flipping over Trevor Ariza under the basket. Curry was forced to exit the game but was able to walk under his own power with some assistance. 

Curry was tested for a concussion and then did some jogging in the tunnel by the locker rooms. After the game, Warriors general manager Bob Myers was asked if Curry did sustain a concussion. 

"If he did, he wouldn't have played," Myers said, via ESPN. "That's pretty hard line"

Curry finished the game with 23 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field. He made six of hi 13 three-point attempts. After the game, he said he would be ready for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"It's all kind of minor stuff compared to how it looked," Curry said. "I'll get some good rest tonight and be ready to go. Since it happened to now, nothing's gotten worse. I expect that to continue in the hours leading to Wednesday."


Warriors G Stephen Curry injured during Western Conference finals
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Warriors guard Stephen Curry was injured during the second quarter after falling on his head during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. 

Curry is questionable to return due to a head contusion

On a fast break, Curry trailed down the court and jumped in the air to contest a shot from Rockets forward Trevor Ariza, who was pump-faking under the basket. Curry connected with Ariza's back and rolled over him, hitting his head on the court. 

Team trainers came on to the court to evaluate him. He was able to walk off of the court with some assistance. 

When he was injured at the 5:52 mark of the second quarter, Curry had scored 11 points.


Lebron James: Cavaliers should keep Tristan Thompson
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Cavaliers forward LeBron James made a pitch for the team to hold onto center Tristan Thompson.

The Cavs passed on the chance to extend Thompson prior to the season, but, after he averaged 8.5 points and 8.0 rebounds this year, James is ready to endorse him for the long term.

"Tristan should probably be a Cavalier for his whole career," James said on Monday, per Cleveland.com. "There's no reason why he shouldn't. This guy is 24 years old. He's played in 340?plus straight games, and he's gotten better every single season. It's almost like, 'What more can you ask out of a guy?'" 


Hawks' Al Horford won't face additional discipline after ejection
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) There will not be any additional discipline subjected to Hawks forward Al Horford following his ejection from Sunday's Game 3 loss to the Cavaliers, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Horford was tossed afterd delivering an elbow above the shoulders of Cavs guard Matthew Dellavedova after the two were tangled up with one another. This appeared to be in retaliation after Dellavedova dove toward Horford's knees.

Horford received a Flagrant 2 and Dellavedova received a technical foul. 

With the NBA making this decision, Horford will be available for Game 4. The Cavaliers lead the series 3-0. 


Report: Paul Pierce may opt out with Wizards to join Clippers
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) There was talk last week, after the Wizards' elimination from the playoffs that Paul Pierce might choose to retire instead of playing another season. 

On Monday, NBA.com's David Aldridge reported that Pierce may opt out of his Wizards' contract this offseason to sign with either the Clippers or Celtics. 


Kyrie Irving practices for Cavaliers, still a game-time decision
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving participated in practice on Monday, per the Associated Press.

Irving is hampered by a knee injury that kept him out of Game 3. 

Coach David Blatt said that Irving is still a game-time decision for Wednesday's Game 4. Blatt said that the team's medical staff wants to see Irving have several good days of work in a row. 


 
 
 
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