By Shannon McKeown
RotoWire Staff Writer
Trade Deadline Nears
For those not in the know, the NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 19 Rumors have been bandied about for weeks, but most of them will end up being hot air. But what happens to your fantasy squad when one of those rumors ends up becoming reality?
Last week, we saw the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors swap Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks for Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon. This deal should have an impact in fantasy, with both Marion and O'Neal moving to offenses that better fit their games. While neither player is expected to relive his glory days, both should see a statistical increase across the board.
The opposite end of the spectrum came earlier this season when Allen Iverson was dealt to the Pistons. By moving from a team that relied on his ability to fill it up to a squad that shares the offensive load, Iverson has seen his scoring drop nine points below his career average. The drop in scoring production has knocked AI out of the top-tier of fantasy guards.
Not all trades will have a fantasy impact, but if the players involved are assuming a different role with their new squads than they held with their old team, you should take notice.
With that in mind, here are a few players rumored to be on the move who could see a boost or hit to their fantasy production.
John Salmons (SAC) - The Kings have been listening to offers for Salmons all season, but haven't taken the bait. Salmons has a manageable contact (three year, $16 million) and is the type of versatile swingman who would help almost any squad in the Association. He's currently the starting small forward for the Kings, but would likely be turned into a sixth man if he's shipped out of town. On the Kings, Salmons is the second or third scoring option most nights. If he gets dealt to a contender, he'll be the fourth or fifth option.
Amare Stoudemire (PHO) - It seems odd to think a player would see an increase in value if he's dealt away from Steve Nash, but that's what I think would happen with Stoudemire. The Suns roster full of scorers and Shaquille O'Neal clogging up the lane have led to Stoudemire's decline this season. If he's shipped to a squad that needs a number one scorer, his stats will approach the 28.8 points and 8.8 boards he averaged after the break last season. Stoudemire might be the rare player who would be happier putting up stats than playing for a contender.
Vince Carter (NJ) - Vinsanity falls into the same boat as Salmons - a new team means a decreased role. The latest rumor has Carter being shipped to the Spurs for a handful of bums. With New Jersey, Carter is the go-to guy. The only player he has to share the rock with is Devin Harris. With Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili already putting up significant stats in San Antonio, it would be almost impossible for Carter to continue posting the 21/5/5 lines we've all become accustomed to seeing on a nightly basis.
Ron Artest (HOU) - Artest has an expiring $8.4 million contract that has rival general managers hoping to dump salary salivating at the mouth. Houston will only trade Artest if they get a package that would help them win this year. With these parameters, it wouldn't surprise us to see Artest sent to a cellar-dwelling team that lacks a prime-time scorer. In Sarcamento last season, Artest put up over 20 points per game, playing second fiddle to Kevin Martin. Artest has spent time coming off the bench in Houston and has to concede to Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming when all three are on the court together, leading to his lowest scoring average (15.8) since his first season in Indiana. If Artest becomes a top scoring option with a new team, he'll be able to approach his averages from Sacramento the past two seasons.
Around the League
Every week, we'll use this space to track players whose fantasy value is improving, declining or uncertain. We're not particularly concerned with hot or cold streaks - all players toss up a 2-for-10 every now and again - unless they're extreme or seem to indicate an underlying problem or injury. Instead, we'll be looking at changes in playing time or role or skill level.
Gilbert Arenas (WAS) - The latest reports out of Washington have Arenas eyeing a return for the Wizards final 15 games of the season. He returned in April last season and averaged an unimpressive 14.6 points in five games. It's hard to imagine Arenas coming back this season and putting up numbers on par with his production prior to his injury troubles, but he could still help most squads in need of a boost during the playoffs. There's plenty of risk involved in relying on Arenas to actually suit up this season, but if it pays off, you could walk away with a championship.
Antonio McDyess (DET) - Coach Michael Curry hinted at the possibility of inserting McDyess into the starting lineup a few weeks ago, but backed off after the veteran admitted he preferred the role of sixth man. All of that changed over the All-Star break, as McDyess backed off his stance and accepted a promotion to the first unit. At 34, McDyess might not be able to log 30 minutes per game anymore, but he should still see a significant boost across the board.
D.J. Augustin (CHA) - A groin injury sidelined the rookie for a couple of weeks in January, but he returned to the lineup on Feb. 6 and appears to be at full health. Injuries to Gerald Wallace (broken rib) and Raja Bell (groin) opened up a spot with the starting unit, spurring Augustin to averages of 19.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 three-pointers the past three games. Wallace and Bell are both expected back soon, which may knock Augustin out of the starting lineup, but he should still hold plenty of value coming off the bench.
Michael Beasley (MIA) - The trade of Marion to Toronto should result in a promotion into the starting lineup for Beasley. He's been erratic all season, but so has his playing time. Hopefully with the Matrix out of town, Beasley will start seeing the 30-plus minutes he deserves and will finally start living up to his high draft stock.
Andrea Bargnani (TOR) - Bargnani's in the same boat as Beasley. Bargnani thrived earlier this season when O'Neal was on the shelf and should do so now that JO is headed to South Beach.
Steve Nash (PHO) - The recent firing of Terry Porter means a change in philosophy for the Suns. Porter steered away from the up-tempo game, stressing defense first. Interim coach Alvin Gentry has already stated his desire to revert back to the seven seconds or lessÓ version of the Suns, meaning the reins will be off of Nash. He's a year older and is dealing with health issues, but his stats should go up with the return of a fast-paced offensive scheme.
Luke Ridnour (MIL) - Ridnour (thumb) took part in practice on Monday and could return later this week. The original timetable had Ridnour missing over a month, but he appears well ahead of schedule.
Gerald Wallace (CHA) - The aforementioned Wallace is back to practice and should make a return later this week. It may take him a few games to get back to playing shape, but owners have to be relieved getting Crash back so soon after he suffered a broken rib and a collapsed lung less than three weeks ago.
Jason Richardson (PHO) - Richardson was arrested on Sunday for reckless driving and has been suspended for one game by the Suns. He had a run-in with police in December, when he was cited for suspicion of drunk driving, so it's possible the league could step in and dole out further disciplinary action.
Greg Oden (POR) - Oden missed Friday's Rookie Challenge after dealing with a sore left knee. He underwent an MRI that revealed chipped patella bone, but all reports so far have been that the injury is minor. The Blazers plan to re-evaluate Oden's knee on Tuesday, so check back for an update before inserting him into your lineup.
Manu Ginobili (SA) - After dealing with pain in his surgically repaired left ankle, Ginobili has been ruled out of Tuesday's game against the Knicks. The Spurs will administer further tests on Tuesday to determine the cause of the pain. Coach Gregg Popovich wouldn't shy away from limiting Ginobili's minutes down the stretch to keep him healthy for the playoffs.
Tyson Chandler (NO) - Chandler, who has been out since Jan. 21 with a sprained ankle, suffered a setback in practice on Monday and was doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Thunder - that is, until he got traded to the Thunder. While Chandler, when healthy, should log heavy minutes in Oklahoma, it will be hard for him to produce at the same clip without Chris Paul throwing him alley-oops.
Tracy McGrady (HOU) - T-Mac is currently on the road seeking second opinions on his injured knee. There have been whispers that McGrady could shut it down for the season. Don't cut him yet, but start window-shopping in case the news does indeed worsen.
Article first appeared on 2/17/08