With Orlando, Phoenix and Washington playing "let's make a deal" over the weekend, eight players - including some pretty big names - are filling out change-of-address cards this weekend, and quite a few others are now in playing time limbo. Here's a look at the primary players and potential opportunities for fantasy owners:
The most obvious winner is Marcin Gortat (16% owned), who goes from being Dwight Howard's backup to a potential starter in Phoenix. Gortat is reportedly a pretty good finisher on the pick-and-roll, which should make him a nice complement to Steve Nash. That, and the fact that he's signed through 2027 or so, tells me he's going to have every opportunity to win the Suns' starting job.
The short-term outlook for Mickael Pietrus (3% owned) is murkier. It's easy to see him getting a "Phoenix offense bump" to his stats - but the Suns are fairly well loaded at the wing positions. I want to see how much of a role he'll have before jumping on the bandwagon.
That said, there have been some reports that Vince Carter (87% owned) is mulling knee surgery. That move won't do much to endear him to Phoenix fans, but it could clear up the playing time situation and create opportunities for Pietrus, Josh Childress (9%), and Jared Dudley (5%). Dudley would most likely get the call to start at shooting guard should Carter elect to go under the knife.
In Washington, Rashard Lewis (87% owned) will be slotted into the small forward spot that has been manned by the likes of Al Thornton (11%) and Josh Howard (18%). Nick Young (43% owned) probably gets the biggest upgrade, as he'll become the team's new starting two guard. Kirk Hinrich (52% owned) also looks like a buy - he'll be the starter at the point until John Wall is healthy, and with Arenas gone figures to have a more significant role once the backcourt is at full strength.
The situation in Orlando is harder to figure; that team has gone through such a transformation in the last few days, it's difficult to project how roles will shake out. For now, Gilbert Arenas (92% owned) will be the third guard in the rotation, backing both Jameer Nelson (85%) and Jason Richardson (98%), while Hedo Turkoglu (84%) moves into Lewis' small forward position. The trade probably represents a major upgrade for Arenas and Turkoglu, while Richardson's stays flat - but you're only getting those guys on the wire in the shallowest of leagues.
Brandon Bass (28% owned) represents a better opportunity in most leagues; his starting spot was really solidified by the deals, and with Orlando now super-thin in the frontcourt, he could log very heavy minutes.
Some of Orlando's bench players could be deeper sleepers, as Jason Williams (1% owned), Chris Duhon (1%) and Quentin Richardson (3%) will be shopped heavily as Orlando looks for a big man to back Dwight Howard. If one of them lands with, say, the Knicks - a team known to be looking for point guard help - he could get a major boost in fantasy value. (That said, I don't believe that the Knicks would give much consideration to the "Duhon for Ronny Turiaf" offer that has been making the rounds.)
Picks for the Week:
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who may be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Ben Gordon (62% owned) - Moving into the starting lineup, replacing Rip Hamilton. That doesn't necessarily meanů
Richard Hamilton (47% owned) -- is a must-drop. In fact, players in deep leagues might want to stash him in the bench in the hopes that he's traded. Could he be re-united with old pal Larry Brown in Charlotte?
Taj Gibson (49% owned) - Will move into the starting lineup in Joakim Noah's place - but only when he's fully-recovered from a concussion he suffered on Saturday. He won't play Tuesday against the Sixers; his status for Wednesday's game against the Wizards and Friday's against the Knicks is uncertain. Until he's ready, veteran Kurt Thomas (1%) will get the nod.
Mike Miller (42% owned) - He's back, and already taking over as Miami's primary long-range threat, though he missed all four attempts in his season debut.
Keyon Dooling (11% owned) - Should be a nice add as he fills in for Brandon Jennings for the next month-plus.
James Posey (2% owned) - Coming off the bench, but making himself a more important part of the Pacers' power forward mix.
Ekpe Udoh (1% owned) - The plan was to bring him along slowly, but Andris Biedrins' ankle injury may speed up Udoh's integration into the lineup significantly.
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