This article is part of our NBA Waiver Wire series.
Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor
Teams could be very active at the trade deadline this year. Several clubs are still trying to clear cap space for the free agent class of 2010. Others are trying to get below the luxury tax threshold. And a select few - the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder, most notably -- seem to be trying to load up on players and picks the rest of the league is eager to dump.
With just over a month to go before the February 19 deadline, now is the time to pay particular attention to trade rumors. Players stuck in unfavorable situations might suddenly become a whole lot more valuable in the next few weeks.
That doesn't mean you should jump at every player whose name comes up in the rumor mill. For every legit lead, there are dozens of trade rumors that are simply pulled out of some writer's… vivid imagination. Do your homework. Look for rumors that seem plausible - where both teams get some sort of benefit, where the salaries actually match.
We'll take a look at some of the more plausible rumors in this week's picks.
Follow Up on McGradyLast week in this space, we talked about Tracy McGrady's balky knee and how Houston management was trying to pressure their star into taking some time off. Apparently, management has won out - McGrady is reportedly shutting things down for at least two weeks.
With McGrady - as well as Ron Artest and Shane Battier - banged up, Houston's eight-through-ten players suddenly become five-through-eight in the rotation. That makes guys like Von Wafer, Chuck Hayes and Aaron Brooks legitimate short-term targets in just about every fantasy format.
Picks for the Week:The first set of picks is for players in standard leagues… guys who will typically 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. The third batch of players will be guys I've mentioned in previous columns that still seem to be available in a lot of leagues and worth a look.
Standard LeaguesGrant Hill (PHO) - Hill didn't adapt well to a bench role, but he's been producing pretty good numbers since his return to the starting rotation. He's still hovering around the 50% owned mark - probably because his season averages don't yet reflect his recent level of performance.
Luke Ridnour (MIL) - Very few people thought Ridnour would hold on to the starting job for this long -- Ramon Sessions had to win the gig eventually, right? Well, according to some pretty credible trade rumors, Sessions is being shopped; looks like Ridnour is Scott Skiles' guy.
Andray Blatche (WAS) - Some owners might be scared off by his recent benching - but he was back in the starting lineup after just one game. Grab him quick - the Wizards play the defensively-challenged Knicks twice this week.
Deep LeaguesMardy Collins (LAC) - Don't know where this came from. Thrust into the starting role due to injuries to Baron Davis and Jason Hart, Collins has been surprisingly effective, averaging 15.8 points, 4.5 boards, 4.8 assists, 1.5 threes and two steals.
Sebastian Telfair (MIN) - Kevin Ollie's injury gave Telfair another crack at the starting job, and so far, so good. 'Bassy is averaging 11 points, seven dimes and 1.6 steals in his last five games. (As an aside… why in heaven's name would a team like the T-Wolves give extended minutes to a guy like Kevin Ollie in the first place?)
Rodney Carney (MIN) - Speaking of the T-Wolves, Kevin McHale also changed his rotation to make Carney his primary bench scorer. The second-year pro has now scored 14 or more in three straight games and left Rashad McCants sitting on the bench and wondering what happened.
J..J. Redick (ORL) - Redick has been lighting it up from long range of late - hitting four three-pointers in each of Orlando's last three games. Ride the hot streak while it lasts.
Worth a Second Look:
- Keyon Dooling (NJN) - 14 points and 5 assists against OKC, even with Devin Harris back.
- Trevor Ariza (LAL) - Not a big scorer, but his other contributions should add up to a "percent owned" way higher than 10%.
- Courtney Lee (ORL) - Seems to be hanging on to the starting job despite Keith Bogans' return and Redick's hot shooting.
Article first appeared on 1/14/08