The first of March, on the other hand, is one of those dates that sneaks up on you. Sort of like your anniversary. But it can be nearly as important for fantasy players.
March first is the last day NBA players can be waived and still be eligible for a new team's playoff roster. So that's the day that a lot of veterans on non-contenders, or recently-traded buyout candidates, will get their walking papers. (Think Stephon Marbury, circa 2009.)
ESPN's Chris Sheridan has a rundown of this year's buyout free agents. Some of these guys could be pretty decent pickups if they land in the right situation.
Michael Finley, for example, was cut loose by the Spurs and will look to catch on with a contender. He might make sense for a team like Boston, as Danny Ainge always seems to be on the lookout for proven veterans and bench strength. But he might be more valuable to fantasy players if he landed in Charlotte, where he could become a key reserve on a team that looks awfully thin on the wing.
Charlotte was close to signing ex-Knick Larry Hughes - cut loose by the Kings after the Tracy McGrady/Kevin Martin trade - but the Bobcats decided they didn't want to wait out his finger injury. Hughes should be good to go in about a week; if the Bobcats haven't found another wing by then, they could re-initiate talks. Don't forget, Hughes has a history with Larry Brown, dating back to their days in Philadelphia.
Travis Diener could be headed to Portland, a team that lost one of its primary three-point threats by dealing Steve Blake. He's worth watching, as is Mark Blount, who - despite his well-documented shortcomings - could land a short-term job with a team in need of size.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Randy Foye (25.5% owned) -A disappointment for most of this season, Foye has been coming on of late. He's scored 14 or more points in four of his last five games and is generating good assist totals (10 against New York, seven against the Grizzlies). Maybe he's more comfortable in the Wizards' revamped post-deadline rotation.
Delonte West (4.9% owned) - West has been getting heavy minutes and producing accordingly; he has played 30-plus minutes in three of the Cavs' last four games, the lone exception being a blowout win over New York that featured extensive garbage-time for the subs.
J.J. Hickson (1.6% owned) - In Cleveland's first game without Shaq, Hickson got the start at center. Mike Brown may have been playing matchups against New York's small front line, but even if Varejao becomes the starter and Hickson the first big off the bench, he'll be worth a look.
Article first appeared on 3/3/10