Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
A couple of weeks ago in this space, I wrote about Antonio McDyess - just returning to active duty after a month in limbo - as the most valuable player likely to be added to the player pool during the season.
This may shock you, but I may have been wrong on that.
Last summer, several NBA free agents - unhappy with the level of offers they were getting stateside - chose to pursue bigger dollars in Europe. Now one of those free agents is looking to come back.
Center Nenad Krstic - still technically a restricted free agent and property of the New Jersey Nets - has reportedly signed a three-year offer sheet to join the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Nets have ten days to match - but most observers think Jersey will pass, preferring cap flexibility in 2010 over Krstic's services - especially given that they're currently overloaded with young bigs. Don't be surprised, though, if Rod Thorn and Kiki Vanderweghe try to turn this into a sign-and-trade.
If the Nets don't match, Krstic could be suiting up for OKC by New Year's Eve.
Krstic didn't produce much last season, playing just 18 minutes per game and scoring 6.6 points on average. But remember, he was recovering from a torn ACL - before the injury, he was playing 30-plus minutes per night and scoring in the mid-teens.
He's not a major defensive presence (under a block per game) and doesn't grab a ton of boards (6.8 per game was his best mark). But he's a skilled offensive player with center eligibility - hard not to like that combination.
Tyrus Thomas (CHI) - Currently sitting out after suffering a concussion last week… which means he hasn't been picked up yet in a lot of leagues. He's expected back by the end of this week.
Louis Williams (PHI) - Williams seems to have shaken his early-season slump… and is picking up some of the slack for the injured Elton Brand. Williams has scored 13 or more in eight straight games (with a DNP on December 12 as the only blemish on his game log), and posted a career-high 26 against the Wizards on December 19.
Luc Mbah a Moute (MIL) - Bucks coach Scott Skiles and his… "fluid" (I'm being charitable) substitution patterns and lineups will drive you nuts. But Mbah a Moute has the potential to be a tremendously valuable fantasy garbage man if he gets regular minutes. He's played 30-plus in three-straight games now, and seems to be set - as set as any Skiles player can be, anyway - as the Bucks' starting four.
Mareese Speights (PHI) - Another beneficiary of Elton Brand's injury, rookie Speights has scored in double figures in three straight games. Speights has the potential to really blow up - if he keeps playing well, he could potentially steal playing time from incumbent center Sam Dalembert.
Chris Andersen (DEN) - The Birdman's return to fantasy relevance might be short-lived - Andersen posted 11 points, six blocks, and three rebounds in 21 minutes during Monday's win over Portland, but that production was due, in part, to Carmelo Anthony's absence.