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Waiver Wire: Week 1 speculations

by | Fantasy Writer
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With the preseason over and the regular season yet to begin, we find ourselves in limbo as far as free agency goes — caught somewhere between devaluing preseason stats and overreacting to injury concerns. Still, there are moves to be made if you need to replace one of your injured draft picks or to want speculate on someone stepping into a new role.

The results from Week 1 should answer a lot of your lineup questions, but until then, why not try and get ahead of the trends? We'll have a more in-depth waiver column next week, but in the meantime, here are a few free agents whose value could see a boost as the regular season gets under way.

Will Bynum, PG, Pistons (5 percent): Between Detroit trading for Brandon Jennings, drafting Peyton Siva and signing Chauncey Billups, it seemed like Will Bynum would fade into irrelevance. Heck, he wasn't very relevant to begin with. But inspired play this preseason should have Fantasy owners paying closer attention to the lesser-known veteran. Bynum finished second in preseason in assists per game (trailing Chris Paul by just 0.1), and capped it off with a 17-point, nine-assist performance in Detroit's final exhibition. On one hand, it's difficult to take preseason stats seriously. On the other hand, with Brandon Jennings projected to miss four games and Chauncey Billups expected to receive ample rest, the Pistons could decide to ride the hot hand this first week. Bynum also showed a knack for feeding Andre Drummond down low, which should help his chances of playing time going forward. Jennings owners especially should consider picking up Bynum as a potential handcuff.

Jamaal Tinsley, PG, Jazz (1 percent): You might have just looked up at the top of the page to make sure you weren't reading a column from 2006, but rest assured this is indeed up to date. Utah reached an agreement with 10-year veteran Jamaal Tinsley out of necessity, with rookie point guard Trey Burke sidelined for two to three months. At 35 years old, Tinsley isn't an exciting long-term prospect, but he could be useful in the early going -- especially if you drafted Trey Burke, Russell Westbrook or any other injured point guard. He'll likely start out backing up John Lucas, but even off the bench Tinsley could end up running the Jazz offense -- similar to how Andre Miller orchestrates for the Nuggets. Utah's young lineup provides the perfect situation for Tinsley's pass-first skillset, and he should be able to get close to his career average of 8.3 assists per 36 minutes.

Miles Plumlee, PF, Suns (27 percent): We knew Phoenix would likely deal Marcin Gortat at some point, but the Suns went ahead and got it over with before the season even began, leaving them with a starting job to fill at center. Because first round pick Alex Len isn't quite healthy enough to log big minutes, Phoenix will turn to a player who most regarded as a throw-in from the Luis Scola trade. Miles Plumlee only logged 55 total minutes in his rookie season, but he'll begin the year as the de facto starting center in a hollowed out Suns frontcourt. You'd have to go back to his senior year at Duke to see Plumlee logging anything close to significant minutes, but he did look competent enough in summer league play -- capable of scoring, rebounding and blocking shots with the sound fundamentals typical of a former Blue Devil. Until Len and Channing Frye get up to speed, consider Plumlee a low-end pickup for the foreseeable future. Those who drafted Kevin Seraphin might consider dropping him for Plumlee, as Gortat's arrival will force Seraphin back onto Washington's bench.

Jeremy Lamb, SG, Thunder (36 percent): If you want to speculate on a bench player's upside, you probably can't do much better than Jeremy Lamb. The Thunder had enough confidence in his offensive abilities to let last year's sixth man, Kevin Martin, walk away in free agency, so Lamb will at least get the opportunity to prove he can carry the offense when Durant needs a break. He's only owned in 32 percent of leagues -- probably because he didn't exactly dazzle in the preseason, averaging 11.6 points in 31.9 minutes per game. But if Lamb can find his footing and shoot a higher percentage this week, his ownership should see a sizable increase. Critics of the Thunder's personnel decisions will have no choice but to compare Lamb's production to James Harden's, but Fantasy owners can be more realistic with their expectations of a 21-year-old about to play his first meaningful NBA minutes. Lamb will have the green light to fire away, so consider him a low-risk, high-reward pickup this week.

Lance Stephenson, SG, Pacers (23 percent): Danny Granger owners shouldn't hit the panic button just yet, but those who were looking to start him this week might be in the market for a short-term plugin -- as it looks like Granger will miss about three weeks with a calf injury he sustained in the preseason. Lance Stephenson showed what he can do as a starter in last year's playoffs, making him a useful Granger replacement for the time being. Attempting to win back the role he played in last year's playoffs, Stephenson reached double-figure scoring in three out of six preseason games. One night when he only scored six, he still contributed with eight assists and zero turnovers in a win over Atlanta. He's the kind of player whose hustle alone is enough to keep him on the court, so if that motor translates into stats of any kind, Stephenson could become a regular contributor or even land a starting role ahead of Granger.

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Player News
Report: Bulls G Jimmy Butler leaning toward taking five-year deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:20 am ET) Bulls swingman Jimmy Butler could be sticking around for a while. He is leaning toward accepting the five-year, $90 million max contract offered by the team rather than a shorter one that would result in a quicker possibility of unrestricted free agency, per ESPN.

Butler proved to be one of the most surprising breakout players in the NBA last season. He averaged career-highs in points (20.0) and rebounds (5.8) in 39 minutes per game. He shot a respectable 46.2 percent from the floor.


Report: F Paul Millsap choosing between Hawks, Magic
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Standout free agent forward Paul Millsap met Wednesday morning with the Magic, according to TNT, and could bolt the Hawks to play for their Southeast Division rival.

Millsap, who might also choose to remain in Atlanta, played a big role in its push to the Eastern Conference finals. He averaged 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds in about 33 minutes per game. But he struggled at times in the sweep by Cleveland that left his team out of the title round.


Report: Bulls agree to three-year deal with G Mike Dunleavy Jr.
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:17 am ET) The Bulls have agreed to re-sign guard Mike Dunleavy Jr. to a three-year, $14.4 million deal, sources have told Yahoo Sports. 

The 35-year-old Dunleavy had 10.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season. 


Heat, Goran Dragic agree to five-year, $90 million deal
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:05 am ET) League sources have confirmed that the Heat have agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract with guard Goran Dragic, according to CBSSports.com NBA Insider Ken Berger. Dragic had opted out of his contract to become a free agent last week, but the Heat were expected to be aggressive to re-sign him.

Dragic had 16.3 points per game last year, splitting time between the Heat and the Suns. 


Report: Blazers sign Al-Farouq Aminu
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:38 am ET) The Trail Blazers agreed to a four-year, $30 million contract with free-agent forward Al-Farouq Aminu, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Aminu averaged 5.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 74 games last season for the Mavericks.


Report: Spurs sign Kawhi Leonard to five-year extension
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) The Spurs have agreed to a five-year contract extension with forward Kawhi Leonard, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The five-year deal is believed to be worth more than $90 million. Leonard won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year last season. He averaged 16.5 points and 7.2 rebounds.


Report: Pelicans sign Anthony Davis to five-year extension
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:08 am ET) The Pelicans agreed on a contract extension with forward Anthony Davis, sources told Yahoo Sports.

The extension is worth $145 million over five years. Davis made the All-Star team last season after averaging 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.


Report: 76ers decline option on Henry Sims
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) The 76ers will not offer center Henry Sims a qualifying offer, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sims will become an unrestricted free agent. In 73 games last season, Sims averaged 8.0 points and 4.9 rebounds.


Hawks' Kyle Korver has successful surgery, should be back by camp
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Hawks SG Kyle Korver had successful surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow on Tuesday, per NBA.com

It's Korver's third surgery since March. Previously he had procedures to repair a broken nose and ligament damage in his right ankle. 

Korver is expected to return by the start of training camp. 


Lakers plan to have Kobe Bryant join meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) The Lakers are bringing in the star power for their meeting with free agent LaMarcus Aldridge

The Lakers will meet with the Trail Blazers free agent PF at 12:01 AM Eastern Time, as soon as free agency opens. 

In addition to president Jeanie Buss, GM Mitch Kupchak and coach Byron Scott, Lakers great James Worthy is expected to attend the meeting, as is Kobe Bryant, per the Los Angeles Daily News


 
 
 
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