Oh, the disappointment. Consider Thursday’s NBA Trade Deadline as a bad blind date for Fantasy owners, who awoke with optimism that a blockbuster move would enhance the value of a Dwight Howard, Trey Burke, Ryan Anderson or Ty Lawson. Hopes sparked, as the prospects of DeMarcus Cousins violently bringing down lobs from Derrick Rose, or even the happily ever after Fantasy numbers of Kevin Love in Celtics green left many flushed with thoughts of double-doubles cluttering their minds.
We can all breathe easy now, duped by the flood of rumors that left us all refreshing Twitter for the season-altering deal that would move the needle. With the huge raise in the salary cap arriving this summer and many teams refusing to take on salaries that would cripple their chances to participate in the potentially smash hit summer show, “Let’s Buy Kevin Durant,” those trade winds we felt were going to crash ashore turned out to be a mild breeze on a starless night on the shore. Still, there are some Fantasy winners, as at least two moves directly improved the fortunes of several players, including a star on the rise in the Valley of the Sun.
The Trade: The Rockets send C/F Dontas Motiejuans and G Marcus Thornton to the Pistons for C Joel Anthony and a protected first-round pick.
Injuries and the presence of Clint Capela kept Montiejuans from following up on his solid 2014-15 season; plus, his impending free agency made him a nice prospect for Darryl Morey to pitch him for Anthony, who was then moved to the 76ers, who will likely release him. Montiejuans is hitting at a 41 percent clip from beyond the arc this season and will have little Fantasy relevance scraping for minutes behind newly acquired Tobias Harris and All-Star center Andre Drummond. Thornton has had flashes of scoring production, but is strictly a one-category performer whose limited value will take a hit. Capela’s minutes, which has dipped to just 15 per game this month, should see an uptick. He’s still an intriguing prospect worth stashing if you have the roster space, as his yo-yo scoring numbers will be offset by his rebounding and blocked shots. With Howard all but out of H-Town this summer, the remainder of the season could be a springboard for what Capela could do in a starting role. He’s averaged 8.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in about 24 minutes per night over ten starts this season, while his 17.2 PER suggests a breakout if given more time on the court.
The Trade: The Magic send F Channing Frye to Cavaliers, who then traded C/F Anderson Varejao and a protected first-round pick to the Trail Blazers and G Jared Cunningham to the Magic.
There’s not much for Fantasy owners to chew on here. Varejao was averaging just ten minutes per game in Cleveland and was waived by the Blazers later Thursday afternoon (come on, Portland….at least let him fly in long enough to eat at Dog Eat Dog or chill at Portland Hot Tub). Frye will give the Cavs an extra-long range weapon off the bench, but he’ll do little for your Fantasy team.
The Trade: The Suns trade F Markieff Morris to the Wizards for C Kris Humphries, F DeJuan Blair and a protected first-round pick.
If Devin Booker is somehow sitting available in your league, GET. HIM. NOW. Booker is averaging 17 points per game this month, and with Morris no longer taking shots away from him, Booker’s 12.8 field goal attempts per game will climb. He still has moments that remind us he’s only 19 years old, but the 15-point, seven-rebound and seven-assist outing he had against the Warriors in the last game before the break is a precursor of what Booker is capable of doing the rest of the season. G Archie Goodwin’s value will also see a rise, as he and Booker have comprised a backcourt that could be productive in DFS formats. Booker, Goodwin, Alex Len and currently injured T.J. Warren comprise a young foundation brimming with upside, with Booker possibly emerging as a Top 40 pick next season. Whether Morris can keep up his recent tear (15.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists in his last ten games) in Washington remains to be seen, as Jared Dudley should remain the starter at power forward in the near future. Considering the Wizards coughed up a first rounder for the talented yet petulant Morris, expect him to be a vital part of their Playoffs or Bust push. He’s still worth keeping, but his numbers stand to take a hit with John Wall and Bradley Beal hoisting the bulk of the shots.
The Trade: The Nuggets trade G Randy Foye to the Thunder for G D.J. Augustin, F Steve Novak and a pair of second-round picks.
Again, there is little of note for Fantasy owners. Foye, a career 37 percent 3-point shooter, adds no value in almost all leagues. Augustin has played all of 32 minutes since the start of the calendar year, yet should see some time as the backup to rookie Emmanuel Mudiay. If you were also stunned to know that Novak is still drawing game checks, then that’s all you need to know about his Fantasy upside.
The Trade: The Bulls send G Kirk Hinrich to the Wizards for a second-round pick. Hinrich can still shoot threes (41 percent this season, 37 percent in his career), but can do little else at 35. You can do much, much better on your waiver wire.
The Trade: The Clippers send G Lance Stephenson and a first-round pick to the Grizzlies for F Jeff Green.
Between Stephenson, Tony Allen, Matt Barnes and Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies have a quartet that would more than hold their own in a dark alley. Unfortunately, ejections and suspensions aren’t Fantasy categories, which takes away from Stephenson’s strength. Memphis got hosed on this deal, with “hosed” about the most sanitized word we could use. The Clippers may have finally solved their yawning hole at small forward, as Green will offer a huge scoring upgrade over the previous timeshare of Wesley Johnson, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and what’s left of Paul Pierce. Green averaged 17.9 points per game while shooting 49.6 percent per game over his last ten outings, and he should continue to be a steady source of offense once he gets in tune with the offense. Blake Griffin is still at least 3-4 weeks away from returning, so Green should able to thrive in a more up-tempo attack. He’s owned in about 60 percent of standard leagues, so his current owners should hold onto him and let Green eventually get into gear.
The Trade: The Hawks send G Shevin Mack to the Jazz for second-round pick.
The Trade: The Heat trade F Jarnell Stokes to the Pelicans for protected second-round pick.
Nothing to see here.
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