Under the Radar
By Kevin Payne
RotoWire Staff Writer
The trade deadline has come and gone, so let's take a look at what happened now that the dust has settled.
Amare Stoudemire is staying put. The Heat, who were interested in acquiring the 6-foot-10 center, were wise here knowing that losing Dwyane Wade this offseason is a real possibility. They didn't want to give up Michael Beasley and possible picks for Stoudemire, who could bolt this summer as well. After the deadline, rumors surfaced that the Heat took a late run for Carlos Boozer. The Heat in this case appeared to balk at the idea of sending away expiring contracts in addition to Beasley. I'd also have to wonder how bad Wade's calf injury is and if that played in at all to their trade strategy.
Best-case scenario in Miami is it re-signs Wade in the offseason with another superstar, possibly Stoudemire. The worst possible scenario (which isn't the end of the world) is to lose Wade to another team, sign another top free agent or two and build the team around them and Beasley. The Heat even with retaining Wade will have some money to spend this offseason.
Kevin Martin was dealt from the Kings and will now suit up for the Rockets. Sacramento in return gets breakout player Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey from Houston and Larry Hughes from the Knicks. Sergio Rodriguez (see below) goes to New York from the Kings as does the well-rested Tracy McGrady. The Knicks free up a ton of money (about $30 million) on July 1 and send Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries to the Rockets. The Knicks sent their 2012 first-round pick plus the right to swap their first-round pick for a lower one in 2011. So that leaves the Knicks with: A) a bunch of cap space and B) not a lot of use for the draft in the near future. This means a couple of superstars will be lighting up MSG next year.
Cleveland landed Antwan Jamison for a first-round pick and Zydrunas Ilgauskas' expiring contract. Immediately Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee (see below) become fantasy relevant for Washington and showed a lot of promise Wednesday night. The Cavaliers gain a quicker, better scoring option in the paint to play against someone, like ... maybe the Lakers? Cleveland has basically mortgaged its future sending picks and contracts; I'd really be shocked if they don't figure out a way to bring Lebron James back next season.
Nate Robinson (see below) and baseball's equivalent of the PTBNL were traded from the Knicks to the Celtics for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker. The Knicks also dealt Darko Milicic (see below) to the Timberwolves for Brian Cardinal.
John Salmons was traded to Milwaukee, which gives his fantasy value a nice increase. Scoring options are pretty limited for the Bucks, so don't be surprised if Salmons is shooting a lot more with his new team. Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander go to the Bulls; neither player is likely to make a huge fantasy impact. Tyrus Thomas and all of his hype were dealt to the Bobcats. Am I the only one seeing a nice second-half in store for Taj Gibson (see below)?
I'm going to keep my back patting to a minimum, but here it goes. You could find these three quotes in this column this year:
"and Marcus Camby a prime-trade target for a contender (I keep mentioning Portland)."
"I have a hard time believing [Robinson] won't be logging significant minutes for some team this year, it just probably won't be the Knicks. They would be very wise to dangle Nate as trade bait, even if only to try and recoup some of the $4 million he's owed this year. I have nothing to back this up other than my own hunch, but would it be that crazy to think he could end up on the Celtics, a la Stephon Marbury?"
OK, feel free to call me a blind squirrel in the comments section. I don't get everything right, but as a whole the writers on RotoWire put a lot of time and research into our columns to try and make the best determinations about players for you. Hopefully, we've helped your fantasy squad this season.
Now onto our weekly look at player minutes, roto categories that waiver-wire players can help with and new position eligibility.
Sergio Rodriguez, G, NY - There are rumblings that Sergio could become the starter once he gets up to snuff with Mike D'Atoni's offense. He's an excellent passer, Nate Robinson is gone and Chris Duhon has been on the hot-seat all season. Take a speculative pick on him if you need assists and three-pointers.
JaVale McGee, C, WAS - Everyone pounced on Andray Blatche once the Antawn Jamison trade was announced, and Blatche responded with a career night on Wednesday. You'll likely not find Blatche on your waiver wire, but McGee is still available in many leagues. He also entered the starting five and responded with a stellar 14 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and a steal. The blocks were no fluke either, he's averaged more than a block per game this year despite only averaging eight minutes a contest this season. I won't impress you with my Archimedes-like math skills; if he sees even just 24 minutes a night, he'll help you with blocks. The Wizards are in full rebuilding mode, and it appears that Drew Gooden's contract will be bought out, eliminating any competition. Right now view him as a No. 2 center with solid upside.
Shannon Brown, G, LAL - Brown had a dazzling performance on Tuesday night, scoring 27 points, grabbing 10 boards and recording two steals and a block. Brown has averaged 30.1 minutes per game in February and made at least one three-pointer in each of those contests. The bad news is Kobe Bryant is expected back soon, which will delegate Brown to the second unit. Brown has taken the "next step" in his game and appears to have a decent future in the league at only 24-years-old. Owners in keeper-leagues should take notice; he could be in the starting five in Los Angeles when Derek Fisher retires.
Darko Milicic, C, MIN - Everyone has the tendency to get excited over the playing time of Milicic, given the hoopla he entered the league with. Yet, he's never panned out but always seems to suck owners into his world of fantasy disappointment. Could this time be different? Probably not. Of course, Al Jefferson's knee has supposedly been bothering him, Minnesota has nothing to lose by playing him, and he's well rested from watching the Knicks games from courtside. This column is called "Under the Radar" for a reason, and it looks like the Wolves will give him a trial. If you're in a deep league and desperate for blocks, take a flier.
Here are some players who can help your fantasy squad in specific categories.
Nate Robinson, G, BOS - Nate's trade to the Celtics helps boost their second team, inserts some youth and energy into an aging club and provides some Will Ferrell sightings at the Garden. I'm still puzzled by the Knicks signing him and not giving him a long run with significant minutes. Look for Nate to get consistent time and eclipse his 13.2-point average he held with New York.
Rebounds and Blocks
Taj Gibson, F, CHI - I talked a few weeks back how Gibson made for a nice sleeper pick next year, and it looks like he won't have to wait that long. Tyrus Thomas and John Salmons are both gone and new addition Hakim Warrick didn't show too much playing for the hapless Bucks. Joakim Noah still isn't back and is a possible candidate to get shut down later this season if he doesn't recover. This will give Gibson toward 30 minutes a night. He channeled ex-Bull Dennis Rodman on Wednesday night, scoring 14 points, grabbing 16 boards (11 offensive) and blocking three shots. Grab him if you need help.
Every league has different rules regarding eligibility. Always check your rules to make sure your league recognizes the new position a player may be eligible to play.
C.J. Watson, GS - Now eligible at small forward.
Article first appeared on 2/18/10