Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Every day, we're confronted with dire news about the unemployment rate. Today, a more positive story of three laid-off workers who have apparently found new jobs.
Of course, it helps that the workers in question are veteran NBA power forwards. There's a fairly limited universe of people that are 6'10" with the ability to fight the likes of Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett for rebounds.
I'm talking, of course, about Joe Smith, Drew Gooden, and Stromile Swift. Smith, until recently a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder - will become a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers when he officially clears waivers later today. Gooden -- who was sent to the Kings at the trade deadline - is set to join the Spurs at about the same time, and Smith - bought out by the Nets - will become a Phoenix Sun.
Of the two, Smith is probably a better short-term bet. Ben Wallace's broken fibula leaves the Cavs short-handed in the frontcourt. Smith is getting on in years, but unlike Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson, he's a capable scorer and should complement the other guys nicely.
Gooden, on the other hand, has been fighting a groin injury - it's unclear when he'll actually be able to take the floor for his new team. The injury - and Gregg Popovic's penchant for resting key players down the stretch - makes Gooden's value harder to project. He could wind up, simply, as insurance on the bench… but he could also wind up starting some games in Tim Duncan's place.
Swift has been a major disappointment for most of his NBA career, but joining the Suns gives him some upside. With the shift from Terry Porter to Alvin Gentry at coach, the Suns have re-claimed their "every player on this roster is worth a look in fantasy leagues" status. With Amar'e Stoudemire out, Louis Amundson is the only natural four on the roster, and Grant Hill has been starting in that spot - Swift could see significant minutes.
Because all three were waived before the midnight Sunday deadline, they will be eligible for inclusion on their new teams' playoff rosters.
Rodney Stuckey (DET): The entire Piston team seems to be clicking with Rip Hamilton back in the starting lineup. Check if Rip is available - he was dropped in a lot of leagues while he was languishing on the bench, and his percent owned is still only in the 80s. If not Hamilton, teammates Stuckey (56% owned) and Antonio McDyess (50%) are looking a lot better of late.
Carl Landry (HOU): Ankle seems to be better - Landry scored a career-high with 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the Rockets' win Tuesday, grabbed six boards and was 8-for-8 from the line.
Glen Davis (BOS): Kevin Garnett and Brian Scalabrine are unavailable and Mikki Moore is an estimated two-to-three weeks away from knowing the Celtic system well enough to make a big contribution. Meanwhile, "Big Baby" has scored 14, 18 and 18 in Boston's last three games.
Rashad McCants (SAC): McCants is working his way into an integral role in the Kings' rotation. He's averaging over 16 points and 1.5 steals per game since arriving in Sacramento, and scored 20 points in 30 minutes off the bench on Tuesday.
Article first appeared on 3/3/08