Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Pau Gasol traded. Expected.
Shaquille O'Neal traded. Unexpected.
There are nine days left until the trading deadline. Here's our best guess at some other players who might be hitting up the mailman for those change of address forms, and what waiver claims you should consider if the potential deals go through.
Ron Artest- SAC
Likelihood of a move: 90% or higher. Artest has a reasonable contract, and with his ability to play multiple positions, he fits in theory, anyway on lots of different teams. In an ironic twist, the fact that he's actually been very reasonable about his status he's disappointed to be leaving Sacramento, but knows that the team is better off making room for the younger guys makes a trade more likely.
If he's traded: The first guy to claim is John Salmons. He was a fantasy force when Artest was out of the lineup, but has faded back to obscurity since. His emergence as a legit player is one of the reasons the Kings are looking to move Ron-Ron.
Fallback Position: If you can't get Salmons, take a long look at Francisco Garcia.
Jason Kidd NJN
Likelihood of a move: 25% and falling. Kidd makes a ton of money and is insistent on landing with a contender the Lakers, Mavericks and Cavaliers are reportedly his destinations of choice. Nets team president Rod Thorn isn't one to get snookered in deals, and he's not about to give up the guy who turned his franchise around for a package of spare parts. Besides, moving Kidd only really makes sense for the Nets if they can get out from under Vince Carter's contract as well. What are the odds Thorn can move two $20 million contracts in the next 10 days?
Andre Miller PHI
Likelihood of a move: 15% and holding steady. While no one was watching, the Sixers started playing some truly inspired ball and have crept back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Miller has been at the heart of that. On the other hand, a playoff run might not be the best thing for this club right now. Perhaps interest in Miller will heat up as it becomes clear that Kidd isn't going anywhere.
If he's traded: Figure Louis Williams to be the main replacement and beneficiary.
Fallback Position: Willie Green might have more of a role in the offense if Miller were moved. And veteran Kevin Ollie might have to step up and play bigger minutes, depending on who came back in the deal.
Eddy Curry NYK
Likelihood of a move: 25%. Remarkable as it seems, Curry is still just 25 years old. And his contract though uninsured due to his history of heart problems is far more reasonable than a lot of the other deals being peddled currently. The trend over the last few weeks has been for potential contenders to add size the Lakers got bigger with Pau Gasol, the Suns got much bigger with Shaq. Curry's overall play has been disappointing, but you can't question his bulk and ability to score on the low block.
If he's traded: Expect David Lee to (finally) get a crack in the starting lineup.
Fallback Position: You'd think the Knicks would like to take an extended look at Randolph Morris, wouldn't you? But it might be more likely that they'd move veteran Malik Rose into the regular rotation. Rose has played very well of late when given the opportunity.
Zach Randolph NYK
Likelihood of a move: 10%. It seems that Isiah Thomas understands that Curry and Randolph can't or won't play nicely together, and one of them has to go. Randolph is probably a better all-around player he's certainly more polished on the offensive end and is a far better rebounder. He's also better-paid. Significantly so. In the last year of his current deal, Curry is scheduled to make $11.3 million. Randolph's number is $17.3. That fact alone makes it far more likely that Randolph will remain in orange-and-blue despite Thomas' best efforts.
If he's traded: As with the potential Curry trade, David Lee is the most likely beneficiary.
This Week's Picks:
The first set of picks is intended for players in shallow leagues. The recommendations will be players who are available in 40-70 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues on NBA.com. The second group is for deep leagues more speculative picks, more "sleepers" guys who are available in more than 70 percent of Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues. Feedback and questions are always welcome look me up over on The Opening Tip blog and give me a shout.
Josh Childress ATL [SG]: Childress inspires many a raised eyebrow when his name appears at the top of player raters. He comes off the bench, but makes the most of his playing time, contributing good-to-great numbers in boards, dimes and steals, and he'll occasionally score in the 20-point range. He's been on a nice roll of late, scoring 18 or better in three of five games, which has increased his "percent owned" a bit but he's still available in just under 60 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues.
Mike Conley MEM [PG]: There's just no way that a player of Conley's skill should be available in around 55 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues. He's back in the starting lineup. Go get him.
Yi Jianlian MIL [PF]: Jianlian should be back in Milwaukee's starting lineup this week he's fully recovered from a shoulder injury, and Charlie Villanueva, who had replaced him in the rotation, suffered a sprained ankle in the Bucks' last game.
Joe Smith CHI [PF]: Smith has been on a tear since returning from a bout with the flu and a variety of nagging injuries. In Chicago's last four games, he's averaging 20.5 points and 6.8 boards and is one of the only options left for the injury-riddled Bulls. He's owned in just 7.2 percent of all Ultimate Fantasy Commissioner leagues.
Brandon Bass DAL [SF,PF]: The Mavs' burly forward has emerged as a key bench scorer, posting double-figures in points in five of seven games. He's under five-percent owned.
Andray Blatche WAS [PF]: Blatche has been a real bright spot for Washington of late, stepping up with Caron Butler on the shelf to post double-doubles in three-straight games before a sub-par outing on Monday against the Warriors. He projects as a good value at least until Butler is back at full strength, which may not be until after the break.
Thaddeus Young PHI [SF,PF]: Young has been a big part of the Sixers' recent hot streak, starting six straight games and averaging 11.8 points and 6.3 boards in that span. He's "zero percent" owned.
Article first appeared on 2/12/08