The Nets have started making roster moves intended to jump-start their next round of rebuilding. If you'd prefer to refer to their moves with a metaphor involving deck chairs, a doomed cruise ship and an iceberg, we wouldn't argue - the team is 3-34, after all.
First, the Nets bought out the contract of veteran point guard Rafer Alston. Then, in what amounts to a trade of backups, they acquired Chris Quinn from the Miami Heat in return for a future second-round pick and cash, and Alston signed with Miami, taking Quinn's place.
Then they waived talented-but-troubled forward Sean Williams to clear space for a two-for-one deal with the Mavericks, in which they acquired forward Kris Humphries and swingman Shawne Williams in exchange for veteran banger Eduardo Najera.
Should you care? Maybe. Alston immediately stepped in as Miami's starting point guard, and has played just under 30 minutes on average in his first three games. He hasn't put up great numbers yet, but an adjustment period is to be expected. Don't grab Alston for high assist totals - he's never been one to generate gaudy averages that category, and D-Wade dominates the ball too much for any Miami point guard to rack up huge assist numbers. He could emerge as a reliable source of threes, though.
The only other player involved in these deals that might warrant attention is Humphries, who is expected to become a key bench player for the Nets.
An equally important consideration: who to drop? The acquisition of Alston would seem to indicate that Mario Chalmers won't win back his starting gig any time soon. The second-year pro is ahead of Carols Arroyo in Miami's revamped guard rotation, but since Alston's arrival he's only getting about 15 minutes per game. Humphries' arrival might push Josh Boone and/or Jarvis Hayes further down the depth chart, but if you own either of those guys you're either in a Mariana Trench-deep league, or you have roster problems this column can't possibly solve.
Utah Done Making Moves?It seems reasonable to expect more money-only moves between now and the February 19 trade deadline… but the Utah Jazz might not be involved. Most observers expected Utah to move Carlos Boozer's expiring contract in the hopes of getting under the luxury tax number, but their trade of Matt Harpring and Eric Maynor cut their potential tax bill to a number they might be able to live with. They reportedly passed on a deal that would have sent Boozer to the Mavs for the non-guaranteed contract of Drew Gooden and the same players Dallas shipped to Jersey.
Utah coach Jerry Sloan reportedly hopes the Jazz will hang on to Boozer through the end of this season.
Of course, if that happens, it means the players that would have gotten a late-season value boost from Boozer's departure - most notably Paul Millsap and Andrei Kirilenko - are a lot less useful than we thought.
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.
Randy Foye (33.9% owned) - Technically, this is a second look, because I wrote about Foye last week in the wake of Gilbert Arenas' suspension. But it's worth noting - in three starts since Agent Zero's exile, Foye is averaging over 20 points and eight dimes.Kenyon Martin (33.9% owned) - K-Mart is averaging 12 boards per game since Christmas.Jarrett Jack (17.4% owned) - Continues to hang on to the starting job in Toronto, even though Jose Calderon is back.
Martell Webster (9.9% owned) - Webster has seen a major uptick in playing time of late, playing 40-plus minutes in four of the Blazers' last five games (and 37 in the fifth). He's scored in double figures in all five, including three games over 20 points.Rasual Butler (4.3% owned) - Averaging over 13 points, two threes and a block per game since he was moved into the starting lineup.Vladimir Radmanovic (0.6% owned) - Don Nelson's latest lineup shuffle - inspired by Anthony Randolph's ankle injury - made Radmanovic a starter.
Article first appeared on 1/13/10