Patrick Patterson (knee) looked good during Wednesday's practice, according to coach Dwane Casey, and he's expected to play on Friday.
Patterson missed the Raptors' final six games before the break, and he's had 12 DNPs in Toronto's past 19 games. His return to health is great news for the team's frontcourt depth, but most fantasy owners won't care now that Serge Ibaka has slotted into the starting PF job.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks said that Ian Mahinmi's playing time will increase "a little, not a lot."
Washington's offseason acquisition has averaged 13.3 minutes per game since his return on Feb. 8. Brooks has vowed to keep Jason Smith in the rotation, and as long as Smith and Marcin Gortat are healthy it's unlikely that Mahinmi will emerge as a standard-league asset.
Jimmy Butler (rest) got a precautionary day off during Wednesday's practice.
Butler's name has been swirling in the trade rumor-mill for weeks, and his absence on Wednesday won't quiet the chatter, but he's said that he expects to remain in Chicago barring "something crazy." The Celtics seem to be balking at the Bulls' asking price, and for now it seems like Jimmy Buckets will remain in Chicago through Thursday's deadline. Stay tuned.
The Bulls have reportedly been shopping Nikola Mirotic in recent trade talks.
Mirotic is a restricted free agent but the Bulls appear to have soured on him, and coach Fred Hoiberg hinted on Wednesday that Bobby Portis has leap-frogged him in the rotation. Mirotic could have interesting fantasy appeal in the right situation, but he's been maddeningly inconsistent as an NBA player. It's worth noting that he was an apparent DNP-CD on Feb. 16, the Bulls' final game before the break.
The Bulls have "continued to push on a trade" for Jahlil Okafor, according to The Vertical.
Chicago and Philadelphia are having ongoing discussions and if Okafor doesn't end up with the Bulls, it's still likely that he'll find himself wearing another jersey after the break. The Celtics, Pacers and Kings have also been tied to Okafor -- it depends upon the players involved, but Sacramento looks like the ideal team for fantasy purposes.
Tiago Splitter will reportedly be dealt to the 76ers as part of a package for Ersan Ilyasova.
The Sixers have three centers on their roster, with Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel already mentioned in trade talks, and Splitter has yet to play this season due to injuries. His contract is expiring and this is entirely about the salary cap, draft picks, and clearing room for Dario Saric. Saric was already trending up and he's simply must-own as the obvious starting PF with Ilyasova out of town.
The 76ers are finalizing a trade that will send Ersan Ilyasova to Atlanta in exchange for Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Sixers are expected to receive one second-round pick, while swapping another one. The Hawks are buyers at the deadline and Ilyasova gives them some welcome frontcourt depth, adding a stretch-PF behind Paul Millsap, but his fantasy value takes a hit with the move. If your waiver wire is barren he might be worth holding, to see how the rotation plays out, but the trade deadline is likely to create many more intriguing rest-of-season pickups.
The Pelicans are close to signing Hollis Thompson to a 10-day contract, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
New Orleans lacks depth in the backcourt and wings, following their splashy trade for DeMarcus Cousins, and they recently auditioned Thompson in addition to Mario Chalmers, Quinn Cook and Reggie Williams. He'll be a bit player, assuming he does crack the Pelicans' rotation, and the vast majority of owners can leave him on the wire.