NBA Trade Deadline - Recap, Fantasy Implications

NBA Trade Deadline - Recap, Fantasy Implications

This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.

The NBA trade deadline was wild. We saw big stars traded and a flurry of moves on the final day. There is a lot to break down from a fantasy basketball perspective, so let's get right to it and highlight some players who saw their values increase or decrease because of moves made by their respective teams.

A big shakeup in Brooklyn

Trade season started with a bang when Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Nets. The team quickly worked to move him, ultimately sending him to the Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks. They didn't stop there, sending shockwaves throughout the league late Wednesday night by sending Kevin Durant to the Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder and a bevy of first-round picks.

There is a lot to digest here. First, for the Mavericks, getting Irving gives them a legitimate star to pair with Luka Doncic. Irving has had his share of off-the-court issues, so things can turn sour at a moment's notice. However, he is motivated to play for a new contract this offseason and seems happy in his new surroundings. Both he and Luka Doncic should remain excellent fantasy options, while Josh Green could step into an expanded role with Finney-Smith gone. Over his last four games, Green has averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 three-pointers over 34 minutes per game.

For the Suns, getting Durant makes them one of the top title-contending teams.

The NBA trade deadline was wild. We saw big stars traded and a flurry of moves on the final day. There is a lot to break down from a fantasy basketball perspective, so let's get right to it and highlight some players who saw their values increase or decrease because of moves made by their respective teams.

A big shakeup in Brooklyn

Trade season started with a bang when Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Nets. The team quickly worked to move him, ultimately sending him to the Mavericks for Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith and draft picks. They didn't stop there, sending shockwaves throughout the league late Wednesday night by sending Kevin Durant to the Suns for Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, Jae Crowder and a bevy of first-round picks.

There is a lot to digest here. First, for the Mavericks, getting Irving gives them a legitimate star to pair with Luka Doncic. Irving has had his share of off-the-court issues, so things can turn sour at a moment's notice. However, he is motivated to play for a new contract this offseason and seems happy in his new surroundings. Both he and Luka Doncic should remain excellent fantasy options, while Josh Green could step into an expanded role with Finney-Smith gone. Over his last four games, Green has averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 three-pointers over 34 minutes per game.

For the Suns, getting Durant makes them one of the top title-contending teams. They gave up a lot to get him, but they kept Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. They have some depth issues, but expect them to be active in the buyout market. Booker could see a slight decline in his scoring numbers when Durant returns, while Ayton could also take a hit. However, all four of the Suns' top players should remain excellent fantasy options.

The Nets are where things get interesting. They have a completely different roster with a logjam of forwards. Dinwiddie is their starting point guard, so no worries there. Cam Thomas could also be their starting shooting guard, but he will be hard-pressed to get as many shot attempts as he has the last few games with them being so shorthanded. When the dust settles, he's likely to average closer to 15 points per game than 20.

The forward spots are where it gets tricky for the Nets. They have Finney-Smith, Bridges, Johnson, Ben Simmons and Royce O'Neale. O'Neale could spend some time at shooting guard and Simmons at point guard, but they also have some depth at guard with Seth Curry and Joe Harris. Bridges is probably locked into a huge role, and he should be one of the Nets' top scoring options. However, it's difficult to get too excited about the prospects of Simmons, Finney-Smith and O'Neale. Even Johnson might be hard-pressed to provide significant fantasy contributions.

The Lakers retool around LeBron James

The Lakers had a glaring hole on their roster. They needed to add shooting around LeBron James. They didn't sit on their hands at the deadline, making a few moves to help their quest for a playoff spot. When the dust settled, Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Thomas Bryant were all gone. Replacing them were D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba.

Russell and Beasley are the big names to focus on because they give the Lakers the three-point shooting they desired. However, Russell goes from leading the Timberwolves' scoring attack with Anthony Edwards to playing third fiddle alongside James and Anthony Davis. It wouldn't be a surprise to see his scoring numbers slightly decline. Vanderbilt's arrival deals a blow to Rui Hachimura, who was averaging 29 minutes as a starter over the last six games. Even if he continues to start, Hachimura might be hard-pressed to consistently play more than 25-28 minutes a night.

The Jazz dive further into their rebuild

Entering the season, it looked like the Jazz were going to be one of the worst teams in the league after trading away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. However, they brought in some quality depth in those deals and a treasure trove of draft picks. They got off to a hot start but ultimately couldn't maintain it as the season moved along. That led to them trading Mike Conley Jr., Vanderbilt and Beasley in their three-team deal with the Lakers and Timberwolves.

The Jazz acquired Westbrook from the Lakers, but the expectation is that he will be bought out. They didn't add any other players of note, so the depth that they have built up is gone. That means that Collin Sexton and Kelly Olynyk should receive a boost in fantasy. Outside of Sexton and Jordan Clarkson, the Jazz are thin at guard. Sexton moved into the starting five Wednesday against the Timberwolves, posting 22 points, five rebounds, five assists and four three-pointers across 31 minutes. Olynyk is also primed to play a lot more with Vanderbilt gone.

It's an interesting trade for the Timberwolves, who go from Russell to Conley at point guard. They are very different players, with Russell more of a scorer and Conley a better passer. It's an ideal move for Conley for fantasy, since he should be locked into a boatload of minutes on a team pushing for a playoff spot. With Anthony Edwards at his side, he should be able to rack up assists in bunches.

The Raptors were buyers, not sellers

With the Raptors getting off to a disappointing start, there were plenty of rumors about them potentially being sellers at the deadline. OG Anunoby was their most popular name in the rumor mill, while Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. were also mentioned as possibly being on the move. In the end, all three players stayed put. The Raptors' only move was acquiring Jakob Poeltl from the Spurs for Khem Birch and draft picks.

Poeltl no longer has to worry about rest days like he did on the rebuilding Spurs, but he didn't land in an ideal situation for fantasy. The Raptors often deploy Pascal Siakam at center, and Precious Achiuwa has also played well. Poeltl should still carve out enough minutes to provide value in most leagues, but for fantasy managers who need to free up a roster spot, it's time to drop Achiuwa.

The most significant fantasy impact from the Poeltl trade is what is left on the Spurs. Zach Collins is set to step in as the starting center, making him someone to add off waivers. Across seven games as a starter this season, he has averaged 10.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 54.4 percent from the field. The Spurs also traded Josh Richardson to the Pelicans, potentially setting up adding minutes for Malaki Branham down the stretch. He has already been playing well in an expanded role while filling in for injured players, averaging 16.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 three-pointers over the last four games.

Warriors, Pistons and Hawks swing a three-team trade

It was widely rumored that the Hawks were pushing to trade John Collins, but he ultimately wasn't dealt. Instead, they added yet another forward, getting Saddiq Bey from the Pistons. The Pistons landed James Wiseman from the Warriors in the deal, while the Warriors gained second-round picks that they eventually used to get Gary Payton II back from the Trail Blazers.

Bey's arrival on the Hawks further muddies the waters for Collins, who has a career-low 17.0 percent usage rate this season. It also complicates matters for De'Andre Hunter, who has averaged 15.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 three-pointers in 32 minutes per game. Collins is someone to hold onto, but Hunter and Bey aren't must-roster players anymore.

The Wiseman arrival in Detroit complicates things for Jalen Duren, who has played well since moving into the starting five. Initial quotes from the Pistons are that Wiseman will play right away and could even become a starter. Don't drop Duren just yet, but if Wiseman replaces him as a starter, it will likely be time to move on.

Clippers Add Depth

The Clippers were already one of the deepest teams in the league. They added to their depth by bringing in Bones Hyland, Eric Gordon and Mason Plumlee in separate trades. They sent out John Wall, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard, with Wall and Jackson as two players who didn't have significant roles. Hyland still isn't someone to add in fantasy, while Gordon won't have a large enough role to be worth rostering in most leagues, either. Plumlee goes from a starting role on the Hornets to likely backing up Ivica Zubac, making him safe to drop in most leagues. Hang onto Zubac, but his production could take a hit with a capable backup finally behind him.

With Gordon no longer in the picture for the Rockets, Kenyon Martin Jr. is primed to be someone worth rostering in most formats. He has been starting because of injuries, which has led him to average 14.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 0.9 three-pointers over the last 14 games while shooting 58.5 percent from the field. Even when Kevin Porter Jr. (hamstring) eventually returns, Martin should remain a member of the starting five.

Maybe the biggest fallout from the Clippers' moves is that the Hornets are now primed to unleash Mark Williams at center with Plumlee gone. The 15th overall pick in the 2022 Draft, Williams has averaged 7.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks over just 14 minutes per game. With the potential to play 20-25 minutes a night moving forward, he is one of the top players to add off the waiver wire after the trade deadline.

Miscellaneous Notes

The Thunder entered the deadline with little size at center, and they responded by trading away Mike Muscala and Darius Bazley. They acquired Dario Saric from the Suns -- an interesting player to watch. They likely also opened up playing time for Jaylin Williams, who is worth a look in deeper leagues until Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (ankle) returns.

The Knicks brought over Josh Hart from the Trail Blazers, adding some flexibility to their roster. He is one of the best rebounding guards in the league and should steal minutes from Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley. Grimes is a drop candidate for those who need an open roster spot.

With Hart and Payton gone, the Trail Blazers brought in Matisse Thybulle and Cam Reddish. They will battle with Nassir Little for minutes at small forward, which makes none of them must-adds. However, if Thybulle can carve out enough playing time, he can be a difference-maker in the steals department.

In addition to trading away Plumlee, the Hornets also moved Jalen McDaniels to the 76ers. They acquired Reggie Jackson from the Clippers but are expected to buy him out. Gordon Hayward and P.J. Washington should be primed for even more playing time moving forward with McDaniels gone.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. In 2018, he was a finalist for the FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Mike also won the 2022-23 FSGA NBA Experts Champions league. In addition to RotoWire, Mike has written for Sportsline, Sports Illustrated, DK Live, RealTime Fantasy Sports, Lineup Lab and KFFL.com.
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