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NBA trade deadline breakdown

by | Fantasy Writer
  •  

Another trade deadline has come and gone, and again none of the trades managed to move the earth. Still, enough small-to-medium sized deals took place to alter the Fantasy landscape, even if the tremors were slight. If you feel like going the lazy route, you can listen to this column instead, as we navigated the ins and outs of these deadline deals on Thursday's Fantasy Basketball podcast. Otherwise, here's our take on what went down this week.

Nets get: Marcus Thornton
Kings get: Jason Terry and Reggie Evans

Brooklyn's wing rotation was already pretty jumbled, with Paul Pierce, Alan Anderson and Andrei Kirilenko all vying for defined roles. On one hand Thornton does offer the Nets some young firepower with range, but it seems the minutes just aren't there for him to become Fantasy relevant. I'd let Thornton sit out in free agency outside of deep Roto leagues, where is threes carry some weight.

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This trade will likely have a greater effect on Ben McLemore's value, as he had been shoved to the background following Sacramento's trade for Rudy Gay. Terry's only played in two-thirds of games this season dealing with a sore knee, so McLemore shouldn't have a problem getting 25 minutes a night as a starter. He's worth a flier if you're desperate, but even when he was getting 27 minutes a night to as a starter he only averaged 8.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. And that was without Rudy Gay taking shots away. He got in foul trouble in his first post-trade start, only scoring four points in 19 minutes. Even when he logs heavy minutes, don't expect much from this rookie. Just not the right situation for him to grow.

Lakers get: Kent Bazemore and MarShon Brooks
Warriors get: Steve Blake

This move might be great for Steve Blake, who will go to a team with championship ambitions, but for Fantasy owners this likely spells the end of Blake's relevance. He'll still hit threes, as the Warriors have been known to do, but the 7.6 assists per game Blake's averaged so far will no longer reflect reality. Take Jordan Crawford for example, who was dishing out around six assists per game when he played for Boston. He started the year on a surprisingly strong note -- just like Blake. But since the move to Golden State, Crawford's only managed 6.6 points and 2.2 assists per game. You can give it a few games if you want, but I would go ahead and drop Blake if I was stashing him. Without a central role in D'antoni's offense, Blake should regress to the miniscule numbers he's had most of his career. Probably a bit more than the three points and two rebounds he registered in his first game as a Warrior, but not enough to warrant a roster spot.

On a more positive Fantasy note, this move likely cements Kendall Marshall as a Fantasy mainstay. He passed out 16 dimes Wednesday night, and I think it's almost guaranteed that he finishes among the top three players in assists per game (currently at 9.8, second to Chris Paul's 11.1). His minutes might fluctuate a bit here and there as the injured guys return, but even if he's pushed to the bench he'll stay productive -- evidenced by his recent 7.6 assists average over the five games he was bounced out of the starting lineup.

The Lakers received a guy known for his excessive sideline celebrations and a guy known for pouting in a press conference. Still, there's a good chance that one of them will receive minutes, as Los Angeles has a difficult time assembling a team of eight active players on a consistent basis. Nick Young is still day to day and Steve Nash will only play a game here and there for the rest of the season, meaning D'antoni might have no choice but to send one or both of them out there for 15-20 minutes a night. Don't pick up either of them, but don't be surprised if one of them goes for 20 points sometime soon. This offense has made Fantasy contributors out of Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Chris Kaman, so anything is possible.

Cavaliers get: Spencer Hawes
76ers get: Two second round picks and Earl Clark

Bad news for Fantasy owners has been the theme of this trade deadline, and it continues here as Spencer Hawes leaves Fantasy-haven Philly for frontcourt-jammed Cleveland. His value for the rest of the season will entirely hinge on Anderson Varejao's health. Varejao had a cortisone injection in his back Wednesday -- not a great sign that he'll be jumping back into the lineup sometime soon. So if he's out for a while, Hawes retains most of his value. But if Varejao makes a quick recovery, Hawes will likely become droppable in 12-team leagues. There are only a handful of backup centers worth owning in the league. Best case, he's Andray Blatche -- a guy you grab here and there when someone's injured. Worst case, he's Kelly Olynyk -- a shooter who only gets enough minutes to matter every five games or so. The 76ers waived Earl Clark immediately, so no need to worry about this trade from their end.

Bobcats get: Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour
Bucks get: Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien

Sessions has the best chance of improving his Fantasy value from this deal. The problem is he's going to Milwaukee, where the starting lineup seems to change with every blink of an eye. Since he's a score-first guy, the Bucks might opt to use him off the bench. He averaged 10.5 points and 3.7 dimes in 23.7 minutes per game for the Bobcats, so a bump in minutes could bring him up to respectable 13 and five production. The biggest challenge will be cementing his role on a team that seems to have a new Fantasy flavor every week.

Gary Neal to the Bobcats is much harder to buy into. I wrote about Neal as a sleeper because of what he showed in the Finals last year, but now I think I probably fell victim to San Antonio's nearly flawless system, which currently has Patty Mills exploding for 25-plus with the greatest of ease. Neal will have to score a lot to earn a spot on your team, which he's capable of. But for now, leave him alone.

Wizards get: Andre Miller
Nuggets get: Jan Vesely
76ers get: Eric Maynor and two second-round picks

Andre Miller is the only person to pay attention to here, and even that is a bit of a stretch. The Wizards are especially shallow, so he'll get minutes. But oddly enough, the latest instance of Miller thriving in an offense featured him posting up smaller point guards in the playoffs and scoring at will. A score-first Miller doesn't sound like anything I want a part of, and when you look at who he might try and assist to in the Wizards' second unit, things look even worse for Mr. Miller's Fantasy value.

Nuggets get: Aaron Brooks
Rockets get: Jordan Hamilton

Nothing really to see here. You know what you're getting in Brooks, and he might have some value while Ty Lawson is hurt. But there are better options out there. Move along.

Hawks gets: Antawn Jamison
Clippers get: Cenk Akyol's draft rights

Yawn.

76ers get: Byron Mullens and a second-round pick
Clippers get: A second-round pick

Yawn agai--wait a tick! Didn't the 76ers just trade their starting center? Isn't the center they drafted recovering from knee surgery? Haven't they been one of the best Fantasy teams in the league because of their ridiculously quick pace, which maximizes the number of possessions? Yes, yes and yes. Mullens is not good, but he has a similar skill set to Hawes as a center who can stretch out to the three-point line. He averaged 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the first half of last year with the Bobcats -- one of the slowest teams in the NBA. So it won't be a shocker if he puts up some empty -- but satisfying -- Fantasy numbers in the breakneck, no-defense 76ers starting lineup. The fear here is that Philadelphia, the one terrible team you could count on for Fantasy, becomes just like the other terrible teams that drive you crazy: the Lakers and the Bucks. If the 76ers pin down a lineup quickly, their pieces will carry value simply because of their playing style.

Spurs get: Austin Daye
Raptors get: Nando De Colo

Yaaaawwwwwnnnnn.

Kings get: Roger Mason Jr (who's almost guaranteed to be waived).
Heat get: A highly protected second-round pick (which it's almost guaranteed they'll never get to use)

zzzZZZZZzzzzZZZZZzz.

Pacers get: Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen
76ers get: Danny Granger

Zzzzz-cmphk-huh? What? What!? This one came right at the buzzer. Maybe even a little after the buzzer. All year we've been warning Fantasy owners that Turner was destined for a precipitous fall in value, and that day has finally come. Instead of being the focal point on the team that leads the league in offensive possessions, he'll now be the seventh or eighth option on a defensive-minded team that runs at a snail's pace on offense. Thanks for the memories Mr. Turner -- it was fun while it lasted. The absolute only way he keeps any kind of Fantasy value is by becoming a facilitator in the second unit and averaging five assists per game. Indiana does need some passing back there, as its second point guard -- C.J. Watson -- is a shoot-first player. But Turner has seemed reluctant to embrace the role of distributor, evidenced by his 3.7 assists per game on the season. Don't drop him immediately, but don't hesitate when you see someone you want out there.

Turner does leave behind a sizable void, one that streaming options such as Tony Wroten and James Anderson may pounce on. But I think it's more likely that Michael Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young absorb those shots, rebounds and assists. It's hard to believe, but the 76ers just got a lot worse by losing what amounts to half of their core talent. Anderson couldn't break 10 points per game on the season in 28.4 minutes per game before the trade, so I'm not convinced he'll be able to excel with opposing defenses paying even more attention to him. Wroten has a better chance of boosting his numbers with more minutes, but I see him continuing to only be used in bursts, as he's basically served as Philly's backup point guard (which Eric Maynor may cut into), and his turnover rate is one of the worst in the league. They'll take on bigger loads, but I'm not betting on two guards after a team trades a center and a forward.

Granger is intriguing when you consider how great Turner was for Fantasy in the Philadelphia offense. The problem is he's older and slower, while the 76ers are younger and faster. If they want to do anything, it's run. If there's one thing Granger can't do, it's run. It's also widely speculated that the 76ers will buy out of Granger's contract, allowing him to sign with a contender looking to bolster its bench. But if that doesn't happen, there's a chance Granger could log enough meaningless minutes to warrant keeping him on your roster. If he's been dropped in your league, he's worth a flier for the simple fact that -- for now -- he plays for the 76ers. Still, I'm betting this relationship doesn't last long.

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Player News
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. 


Eric Gordon cleared for contact
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9/17/2014) Pelicans guard Eric Gordon has been cleared to take part in full-contact offseason drills ahead of training camp, The Times-Picayune reports.

Gordon underwent season-ending knee surgery last April, but is expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. 


 
 
 
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