Yesterday's trade that sent Jason Hart to Phoenix for Alando Tucker was one of those "money only" deals NBA fans have come to despise. Both teams save a couple of dollars. Neither player is expected to get much run with his new team. In fact, Hart - who has a non-guaranteed contract - may not ever suit up for the Suns.
The deal that almost happened would have been a lot more interesting from a fantasy perspective. That trade would have sent Hart to New Orleans in exchange for Devin Brown.
Brown has been starting for the Hornets, and playing the best ball of his career. In Minnesota, he might have been a worthwhile fantasy option, filling the T-Wolves' opening at shooting guard. And his departure from the Hornets would have created an opportunity for another player to step in - most likely rookie Marcus Thornton.
That deal was reportedly scuttled when Brown refused to waive or reduce a trade-kicker in his contract.
There are quite a few teams eager to make changes over the next few weeks, whether they're reducing salary to get under the luxury tax threshold (New Orleans, Utah), clearing salary for a run at next summer's free agent class (New York, New Jersey, Miami, Chicago), tweaking their rosters for the playoffs (Cleveland, Boston, Orlando), or just pinching pennies (Phoenix, Milwaukee). So keep an eye on the trade rumors, and be ready to make a claim.
The most popular adds in ESPN NBA.com Leagues this week:
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.
Yi Jianlian (34.8% owned) - Yi has been on a tear since returning to the lineup, scoring 17 or more in all three games, including a 29-point outing that matched his career high.
Beno Udrih (39.1% owned) - Udrih has been playing well since re-taking his place in the starting lineup. But he may be a short-term option, as Kevin Martin is expected back in early January, which would likely shift Tyreke Evans back to the point and Udrih to the bench.
Leandro Barbosa (36.6% owned) - Barbosa is back in the rotation after missing 12 games with a badly sprained ankle. As a key member of the Suns' high-powered attack, he should get plenty of opportunities to put up numbers.
Erick Dampier (19.4% owned) - Dampier will never be a popular fantasy player, but he's consistently generating double-digit rebounds and shooting nearly 70 percent from the floor on the season.
Jared Dudley (1.7% owned) - Dudley has emerged as a key bench player for Phoenix, and is averaging 16.0 points, four boards and 2.1 threes per game in his last three games.
Article first appeared on 12/30/09