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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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.