Hello and welcome back to the NBA Roundtable! There was a total of 15 trades in February including 12 on deadline day, a decent number since it was widely reported on Thursday morning to expect a “quiet” deadline. There are a ton of fantasy implications and Jared Johnson did a great job breaking down those trades in Thursday’s Daily Dose, so be sure to check that out here! As for the biggest winners and losers (in terms of reality or fantasy), let’s see what the Rotoworld Hoops crew has to say:
Ethan Norof (@Ethan_Norof)
Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers got out of long-term money, acquired Isaiah Thomas for pennies on the dollar, extracted a first-round pick in a draft where they won't have their own, and created enough cap space to lure two max free agents this summer if desired. It's hard to criticize that.
Dwyane Wade & the Miami Heat: Wade 1, Pat Riley 0. In all sincerity, this is a reunion that needed to happen and both sides are absolutely thrilled.
George Hill & Larry Nance Jr: Hill should step right into a meaningful role on LeBron's team as the Cavs starting point guard, and almost anywhere would have been better for his fantasy value than toiling in Sacramento. Landing in Cleveland is a winning lottery ticket given Isaiah Thomas is now in purple and gold. As for Nance, the Cavs are desperate for talent along the front line, and the high-flyer's ability to play both the four and the five will undoubtedly be an asset. Nance can be a sneaky source of defensive stats when the minutes are there, too.
Emmanuel Mudiay: The former No. 7 overall pick definitely wasn't going to be the future in Denver, and now he heads to a Knicks team where he'll at least get an opportunity. On the surface, it's puzzling that the Knicks would have interest given the need to develop Frank Ntilikina, but it's also important to remember that Phil Jackson is the one who drafted the French point guard, not Scott Perry.
In the Middle
Cleveland Cavaliers: I had to create a different category for the Cavs. There was short-term gain made on Thursday in addition by subtraction as well as the talent that joined the roster, but the long-term picture of the franchise was not clarified with any of Cleveland's moves. If LeBron James does indeed depart via free agency this summer, the Cavs will be left to start over again and will begin with $45.7M committed to the trio of George Hill, J.R. Smith, and Jordan Clarkson in 2018-19.
Jordan Clarkson: Clarkson will get a real chance to contribute in Cleveland—as well as head to the playoffs for the first time in his career—but as a ball-dominant player who is best with the rock in his hands, Clarkson faces a similar challenge to a player the Cavs just jettisoned, Isaiah Thomas.
Memphis Grizzlies: Nobody knows what the Grizzlies are doing, and it doesn't make any sense that a bottom-feeding Memphis club in desperate need of direction would stand pat with the exception of a minor James Ennis deal. Given the current trajectory and salary commitments of the franchise, the refusal to listen to Marc Gasol offers is indefensible, and the inability to construct a Tyreke Evans deal is baffling.
Orlando Magic: At this point in the process, it's almost impossible to have faith in what Orlando is building. Elfrid Payton will be a restricted free agent this offseason and is more in the Rajon Rondo mold than a lot of people might like, so I understand the logic behind the move. But if all you can show for a former top-10 lottery selection is a chance at a chance—AKA a second-round pick—while your franchise is moving in reverse as a whole, it's not a good look.
Matt Stroup (@MattStroup)
Winner: D.J. Augustin
D.J. Augustin hasn’t done much as a starter this year (7.3 ppg, 5.0 apg, 1.4 spg, 0.7 3s in his seven starts), and in fact, he hasn’t put up notable numbers in a starting role for a few years now. Just in case we’ve forgotten, this is a reminder that he is capable of going on a run if he gets the chance. Example: Back in January/February 2015, when he was with the Pistons, Augustin started 10 consecutive games, and posted 20.3 ppg, 8.2 apg, 0.8 spg and 1.9 3s during that stretch. We obviously can’t expect anything like that three years later and in a totally different situation, but I’ll be aggressively adding Augustin wherever he’s available. Even with Shelvin Mack likely to play plenty, Augustin can easily reach something like 15 points and 5 assists with plenty of 3s as Orlando’s new starting PG.
Jared Johnson (@JaredJ831)
To me, one of the biggest winners from deadline day was Tyreke Evans for the mere fact that he didn't get dealt. He'll now finish out the year with Memphis, where he's a lock to produce top-40 value. There's still a shutdown risk here, as the Grizzlies are nowhere near being playoff relevant, but Tyreke’s owners have now bought themselves some time to try and float out some sell-high offers. Remember how you felt when you realized that you should have moved Evans prior to him getting shutdown? Don't make that same mistake twice.
Larry Nance Jr. and George Hill have to be the two biggest winners from an actual trade, as Hill is no longer looking at a potential shutdown and Nance could be flirting with 30+ minutes a night as the starting power forward in Cleveland. Both those guys should be owned everywhere.
While Evans was a winner for not getting dealt, I feel like Marc Gasol is a loser for remaining in Memphis. I would honestly be shocked if he didn't get shut down, so owners should be frantically trying to sell high on Big Spain.
Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer)
Tyreke Evans - The Grizzlies had every intention of trading Evans, but couldn’t find a team willing to pony up a first-round draft pick. Thus, Evans stays put in Memphis, where he has been a beast over the first half of the season. He currently ranks 41st overall in nine-category leagues, and he will continue to put up monster numbers as the focal point of a shorthanded Grizzlies squad desperate for offense. Evans will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, which means he is motivated to turn in a strong second half and then cash in this summer.
Julius Randle: Randle has logged at least 25 minutes in each of the Lakers last eight games and is averaging 18.9 points (on 57.8 percent shooting), 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists over this eight-game stretch. Now, with Larry Nance Jr. shipped out to Cleveland, that should equate to more consistent minutes for Julius.
D.J. Augustin: DJA’s ceiling isn’t overly enticing, but he has a high floor now that Elfrid Payton has been relocated to the Valley of the Sun. Shelvin Mack will eat into his playing time a bit, but Augustin will start and should log nearly 30 minutes a night.
Boban Marjanovic - Those of us that stashed Boban did so in the hopes that the Clippers would deal DeAndre Jordan at the deadline. Instead, the Clippers stood pat, blocking Marjanovic’s path to playing time. Montrezl Harrell also takes a hit with Jordan staying in L.A. #FreeBoban
Jordan Clarkson - Clarkson was averaging 14.5 points and posted a 27.5% usage rate with the Lakers. Now that he's in Cleveland, his scoring average and usage rate will plummet.
One other trade deadline winner: Adrian Wojnarowski... Woj dominated Shams on Thursday!
Jonas Nader (@JonasNader)
I’m seeing a lot of D.J. Augustin love and definitely agree. He becomes the starter by default with Elfrid Payton in Phoenix and showed what he’s capable of last night, putting up 18 points with three rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 35 minutes. A veteran on a tanking team makes me nervous, but not when Orlando’s only other option at the position is Shelvin Mack.
George Hill will be thrilled to be out of Sacramento where he never knew if he would play or rest. He becomes the starting point guard in Cleveland, but he’s better off the ball and that makes him an excellent fit in LeBron James’ offense. He’ll need to stay healthy, but Hill offers mid-round upside for his points, 3s, dimes and steals going forward.
Tyreke Evans has been a monster like you guys have said, but the only concerns here are an injury or a potential shutdown. He’s playing for a new contract, so hopefully that doesn’t happen.
Kyle Kuzma, Julius Randle and Brook Lopez have one less body in the frontcourt to worry about, and they should all be must-own players moving forward, at least until the final few weeks — I’m hearing that the Lakers may take a look at backup centers Ivica Zubac and Thomas Bryant later on.
Larry Nance is a better player than Tristan Thompson, and he’s also a much better fit in Cleveland for his ability to run the floor and defend the rim. He only needs 24 or so minutes to be effective in fantasy leagues, something that he should easily see with Kevin Love (hand) out several weeks.
There are a lot of losers in Memphis starting with Andrew Harrison and Wayne Selden, as Evans back in the lineup lowers both of their ceilings. However, the biggest loser may be Marc Gasol, as the shut-down risk for a 33-year-old center that recently had a major foot injury on a tanking team is a recipe for a disaster. I’d be surprised if he’s playing in late March.
Elfrid Payton may actually take a hit in Phoenix when you think about it, as Payton needs the ball in his hands to be effective. How often is that going to happen with Devin Booker running the show? If Payton wants a future in Phoenix, he’ll have to keep making significant progress with his perimeter shooting.
Mike Gallagher (@MikeSGallagher)
Good news! I'll add a few more.
Josh Hart - He's basically become peak 2016-17 Avery Bradley lately, averaging 13.5 points, 11.0 boards, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.5 treys in his last three. The Lakers first unit continues to roll and play 20 minutes per game together over their last four (all wins), so it's going to be really hard to take Hart out of the lineup. You have to love his multiple-category upside and the Lakers pace yields plenty of fantasy goodness.
Spencer Dinwiddie - Him staying put is huge for his value, so expect him to be a difference maker the rest of the way. Jarrett Allen and Dinwiddie are going to be on a lot of winning rosters.
Emmanuel Mudiay - He's not very good, but the Knicks may want to try him out. Also, Luke Kornet time!
Royce O'Neale - It feels like he's the reason they dumped Hot Rod Hood. O'Neale has been getting easy buckets and the Jazz becoming such a strong offense has made several players valuable. He could be sneaky. Basically, all of the Jazz are winners here because they didn't sell of their team. They're playing very well.
Stashes - I've been playing fantasy for way too long, and for years identifying the bad teams that will be unloading players at the deadline has been a profitable research topic. This year, we didn't get that with basically just the Magic making their team worse. Teams were holding their first-round picks like never before. Remember when the Heat gave up two second-round picks for Goran Dragic at the 2015 deadline? Plus, the 2018 draft has potentially 11 picks being swapped because of trades. Also, Elfrid Payton better not take minutes from Josh Jackson.
Grizzlies - After the Dwyane Wade deal, nothing was more shocking than the Grizzlies keeping Tyreke Evans. Why? According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Wizards offered two seconds. Why not just take that? Why would Tyreke even want to play on this team after shutting him down? Are they going to cut his playing time to tank/develop the team? Can he stay healthy? It's a terrible look and this front office has some serious explaining to do.
Boban Marjanovic - Doc should be sued for malpractice for this one. Free Boban.