WARRIORS COME OUT AND PLAY
GOLDEN STATE GETS: Steve Blake
GOLDEN STATE LOSES: MarShon Brooks, Kent Bazemore
Fantasy Impact: Blake owners may want to see how things go in his first game tonight. After all, Jarrett Jack was able to hold value in the type of role that Blake is envisioned to be in. It’s also possible that Blake outplays guys like Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes enough to earn 25+ minutes. But for the most part his value is probably heading south of standard league ownership, so if you see a mid-level free agent you have to make the move. Brooks and Bazemore are waiver wire fodder in most formats.
EVERYBODY GO HUG A KNICKS FAN TODAY
As I said on Twitter, especially if they’re a Mets fan too (I can say that because I’m a Mets fan). Not only have the Knicks destroyed their long-term stability, made idiotic move after idiotic move, been rife with dysfunction, let the wrong people wrest control from the right people, shut out the good media, hidden behind closed doors rather than honestly addressing paying fans and not won anything for more years than I’ve been alive – (deep breath) -- they really blew the sequence of events leading up to this year’s deadline.
They could have had Kyle Lowry much cheaper than they were pursuing him for over the last two weeks, only to see owner James Dolan call the deal off. Then, their only real asset to trade with, Iman Shumpert, gets injured on the night of the trade deadline. We’ll ignore for a second the fact that Tim Hardaway Jr. is being put on the untouchables list like he’s a surefire max contract guy. The Knicks couldn’t simply put this guy on the bench for one game to make sure all of their legwork and the future plans of the franchise weren’t all for naught. The maddening part for fans is that Shumpert not only could use the time off, but he has been struggling terribly. It’s not like he was showcasing himself with his recent play.
The Knicks had talks with the Raptors, Nuggets and Clippers at the top of their list. Though those deals may have fallen apart on their own accord because the Knicks are strapped and offering other teams crap, the complicating factor behind Shumpert’s knee injury will be seen as the thing that pushed these deals into the muck. And chances are that’s an accurate assessment.
If there was going to be a domino effect that kicked off a semi-exciting trade deadline, Shumpert was the one that needed to fall and that didn’t happen. There isn’t too much fantasy impact for the Knicks since Shumpert’s two-week absence probably won’t be noticed a whole bunch. Hardaway was likely to play 25-plus minutes going forward no matter what, but mostly the absence wouldn’t be missed because Shumpert hasn’t been impacting games. But for the rest of the league and fantasy owners a deal here could have triggered any number of things.
ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S TRASHEURE
Gary Neal somehow became the belle of the ball by Wednesday afternoon with as many as six teams interested in him if you believe the Milwaukee-based reports, and two serious suitors in the Bobcats and Thunder by the wee hours of Thursday morning. Once the Thunder were ruled out as partners a deal was done including Neal and Luke Ridnour would be traded for Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien. The deal saves Milwaukee a little bit of money and gets a disgruntled player off their hands, while giving Charlotte some much-needed outside shooting in Neal to help space the floor for Al Jefferson. Ridnour can run the team in a pinch and help provide stable backup duties. For a team like the Bobcats looking to cut their teeth in the playoffs, this is a solid move and it’s a solid move all around.
None of these players will be stepping into immediate fantasy value in their new digs, though it wouldn’t be surprising if Sessions eventually earns some minutes and at a minimum it gives Larry Drew more lineup combinations to scratch off his bucket list. In that respect, Ridnour wasn’t playing and Neal was in and out of the lineup and doghouse. The Bucks basically took back a guy that can make bankable contributions versus two guys that are both capable of making contributions that weren’t. Put that in your hookah and smoke it.
THE ALMOST GRAND FINALE
Part of everybody’s struggle face was the fact that the deadline looked like it would end on a Nando De Colo for Austin Daye trade between the Spurs and Raptors. One of the funnier twitter accounts out there is @DidNandoPlay, which chronicles in great detail Nando’s day-to-day progress in the NBA. There isn’t an add here even in 30-team leagues unless you’re truly bored, but before we pooh-pooh the Daye side of this everybody should recall what happened with Danny Green, who was cut by the lowly Cavs before making a career in San Antonio. Daye has received much more hype among fantasy owners than he has ever returned in kind, but I’ll be keeping one eye on him to see, if anything, if Gregg Popovich can be a rainmaker once again.
The Lakers’ Big Three: Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman were as good as gone by late Wednesday night and it appears that the Lakers didn’t want to back off getting second round picks for both – so they kept these guys. Apparently getting under the tax line wasn’t important to the team, and they’ll need to stay under for the next two seasons to avoid the repeater penalties. I’d have to imagine they have a plan for that because second round picks shouldn’t be worth that much, even if the early second rounders are the new hot thing in the NBA. Pau Gasol didn’t get traded either and it’s almost comical how this team went from everybody on the block to a four-headed timeshare. Look for Kaman to get bounced from the rotation, Hill to play his typical low-minute role and for Robert Sacre to handle the rest. Pau will play as much as his body will allow and he’ll be a primary shutdown risk.
Pierre Jackson: Probably the most hype I’ve seen about a D-League player in some time. I guess that’s what happens when you drop 58 points in a game. Just remember the name and my guess is that he becomes the indie equivalent of an overhyped band by the time he lands. Who knows, maybe it’ll be worth paying $39.99 for a T-Shirt when he rolls into a town near you.
Jarrett Jack was not traded and Kings fans should be happy as his skills appear to be in decline. He opened up about not handling the ball enough this year and that’s why he’s not worth owning in standard leagues. Luol Deng probably isn’t thrilled with not being traded and he had the same gripes, which all point back to Kyrie Irving. I’d hold on for a game or two but if he doesn’t bounce back from his frustrations on the court and off the court then feel free to move on.
Omer Asik could not be moved and he belongs on waivers. Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo stayed put, so Victor Oladipo enthusiasts will have win their buy-low trades the old fashion way. The Magic and Jacque Vaughn would have to be crazy not to increase his utilization while pulling Nelson back.
ODDS AND ENDS
It would have been nice to see Jordan Hamilton make it to New York to play for their shallow team but instead he got traded to the Rockets for Aaron Brooks. Unless the Nuggets know something about Hamilton that makes him expendable, I don’t see how they give up a prospect for a guy like Brooks when they should be shopping in the bargain bin for their emergency point guards but that’s another story.
Hamilton shot his way out of favor in Denver but he has nice physical tools and plenty of upside for Daryl Morey, but he’ll be buried on the roster for fantasy purposes. Brooks, on the other hand, will be backing up Ty Lawson and taking the old Nate Robinson role while competing for minutes with Evan Fournier. Fournier is a guy that the Nuggets regularly try to pump up through their various media channels and he has had a few good games, but this will be a hot hand situation and Brooks may be able to carve out some value in deeper leagues. With low upside, though, owners shouldn’t be racing to the wire to grab him.
The Heat traded Roger Mason to the Kings for cash considerations and the Kings waived him immediately. The Kings sent an extremely late second round pick in return.
NEWS AND NOTES
JaVale McGee had season-ending surgery to repair the stress fracture in his left tibia. I did some poking around through medical journals a while ago and that type of injury just doesn’t heal all that fast, so the result was unsurprising nonetheless.
The Magic are working on a buyout with Glen Davis, which could be the launching point for continually improving Tobias Harris. The buy low window is probably already shut. This will also help lower-end guys like Moe Harkless and Andrew Nicholson regain some relevancy.