I think this week's NBA trade deadline will go somewhat quietly. Dwight Howard's uncertain status seems to be holding up other deals. I'm still not convinced the Magic will deal Howard; there seems to be chance that they'll make other deals in an attempt to improve his supporting cast, but not without some assurance that he'll at least entertain the idea of a contract extension.
That doesn't mean savvy fantasy NBA general managers won't have opportunities to pick up some valuable players this week. Here are a couple of situations I'm watching:
Rumors about a Kyle Lowry trade continue to swirl, which means Goran Dragic (44%/65.3%) could be moved into the Rockets' starting PG job by the end of this week. (And even if Lowry isn't dealt, he isn't exactly Cal Ripken when it comes to durability... Dragic is worth a roster spot in many formats just as insurance against Lowry's next injury.)
If the Lakers can't get Lowry, Ramon Sessions (45%/24.5%) could be next in line. Cleveland is reportedly looking for a first-round draft pick in exchange. He'd instantly become the best point guard on the Lakers' roster. Kirk Hinrich (4%/0.5%) is another possibility.
The Blazers seem eager to break up the Jamal Crawford/Raymond Felton backcourt. They were close to a deal that would have sent Crawford to Minnesota for Luke Ridnour, but that was effectively scuttled by Ricky Rubio's season-ending injury (more on Ridnour in a bit). Any Crawford deal should create an opportunity for Wes Matthews (82%/79.9%).
Rookie Klay Thompson (5%/1.7%) will be a must-add if the Warriors deal Monta Ellis.
A deep, deep sleeper: New York's Toney Douglas (26%/11.9%). He's fallen out of New York's rotation completely, but is still regarded as a pretty decent on-ball defender, and he led the league in made threes during the second half of last season. Could a change of scenery help him bounce back? I don't see why not. And the Knicks would reportedly consider dealing him for a late first-round or early second-round pick.
Picks for the Week:
The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues - guys who may be available in your average 10 team/15 player roster league. The second group is for owners in very deep leagues, and will be based more on speculation than actual numbers.
I'll give percent owned stats for both Yahoo! and ESPN/NBA.com leagues with each pick - first number is Yahoo, ESPN/NBA is second. If you play some other league/format, let me know in the comments and I'll do what I can to accommodate.
Luke Ridnour (62%/95.4%) - This one's sort of obvious... with Ricky Rubio out for the season, Ridnour inherits the starting gig.
Brandon Bass (57%/54.4%) - Bass has been playing starter-type minutes for the last two weeks, consistently scoring in the low teens with some boards and blocks.
Ekpe Udoh (29%/27.8%) - As we mentioned last week, Mark Jackson intends to start Udoh for the rest of the season. He's been playing around 30 minutes per game and averaged three blocks in his last three games... but that's about all you'll get from him at this point.
Gordon Hayward (28%/15.1%) - Raja Bell reportedly had a falling-out with the Utah coaching staff over the weekend, so now Hayward - who has been a consistent double-figure scorer for the last two weeks - is back in the starting lineup.
Kyle Korver (19%/7.6%) - With Rip Hamilton still hurting and Luol Deng nursing another injury, Korver should have plenty of opportunities to contribute down the stretch.
Rodrigue Beaubois (16%/12.8%) - He might get overlooked because his scoring numbers are very inconsistent from game to game, but Beaubois is good for a couple of assists and a couple of steals off the bench per game. And when Rick Carlisle rests Jason Kidd - which he may do more often down the stretch, Beaubois becomes a more important part of the Mavericks' offense (12 points, 2 made threes against the Warriors with Kidd sitting on March 10).
Earl Watson (2%/0.2%) - Haven't seen his name coming up in any trade rumors - but with so many teams looking for point guard help, have to wonder if he'll be involved in a deal.
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