The Hornets were close enough to getting under the tax threshold that dealing Brown - even though he's in the midst of his best season as a pro - makes good economic sense. The deal, combined with the trade of little-used backup point guard Bobby Brown to the Clippers for a conditional second-round pick - puts New Orleans under that magic tax number. Now, instead of cutting a check at the end of the season, they'll receive a payout worth as much as $5 million. And if you believe the league's financial situation is even half as dire as some have reported, you know that $5 million can make a very big difference for a small-market team like New Orleans.
For fantasy owners, Brown's arrival in Chicago probably hurts his fantasy outlook - but there's a chance that he could fill the role of designated scorer on the Bulls' second unit; a spot that's been vacant since Ben Gordon signed with the Pistons over the summer. Meanwhile, Marcus Thornton (just 1.4% owned) becomes a viable play in most fantasy formats as the Hornets' new starting two.
The most popular adds in ESPN NBA.com Leagues this week:
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who will typically 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. The third batch of players will be guys I've mentioned in previous columns that still seem to be available in a lot of leagues and worth a look.
All "percent owned" stats are taken from ESPN NBA.com Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.
Mike Miller (35.1% owned) - Miller moved into the starting lineup this week, ahead of DeShawn Stevenson. With Gilbert Arenas officially done for the season, Miller's scoring touch might be needed more - though he's also a candidate to be traded before the deadline.
Beno Udrih (32.7% owned) - His fantasy value has tanked since Kevin Martin returned from injury - but the Kings have been god-awful during that same stretch. That would seem to increase the likelihood of either a Kevin Martin trade or a move to a more traditional lineup with Tyreke Evans playing off the ball. Either way, Udrih could be poised for a return to prominence.
Carlos Delfino (19.9% owned) - Delfino has emerged as a highly productive player for Milwaukee, making major contributions in scoring and boards.
Corey Brewer (19.2% owned) - Lost amidst this horror of a season for the T-Wolves is Brewer's improving game - particularly his long-range shooting.
Luke Ridnour (12.2% owned) - Ridnour continues to - very anonymously - have the best season of his career. He's averaging 13.6 points and 4.5 assists for the month of January.