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NBA Waiver Wire: Educated Guesses

Charlie Zegers

Charlie has covered the NBA, NFL and MLB for RotoWire for the better part of 15 years. His work has also appeared on,, the New York Times, ESPN, Fox Sports and Yahoo. He embraces his East Coast bias and is Smush Parker's last remaining fan.

To summarize the last 36 hours' worth of NBA trade rumors in two sentences or less:

OMG! The Nets are about to complete the Carmelo Anthony trade!
Hang on... Denver still wants more, Detroit doesn't really want Johan Petro, and if the Nets don't stop dropping hints to the media, Masai Ujiri is going to trade 'Melo to the Knicks just for spite.

Or something to that effect.

At this point, Anthony's destination is far from assured, and this saga could easily drag on for another month - maybe more. So making fantasy moves based on a possible 'Melo trade is way premature.

Or is it?

The time to find real bargains on the waiver wire isn't when you're reacting to something that has already happened. It's when you're making an educated guess based on what is likely to occur. And the trade rumors centered on Anthony give us just enough information to hazard guesses in a more-educated-than-usual manner.

To me, the biggest potential gainer is Ty Lawson (24% owned). Just about every version of the trade rumor has Chauncey Billups getting shipped somewhere. And even if Devin Harris comes back, Ujiri is reportedly eager to use him in a secondary deal. In other words - the Nuggets are clearing the way for their second-year point to take over.

Troy Murphy (54% owned) also has the potential to step up. As recently as last year, Murphy was a real value in fantasy leagues - a center qualifier who ranked among the league leaders in both threes and boards. He hasn't had near as much value this season because Avery Johnson hasn't been playing him - but don't you think he could put up numbers in, say, Detroit?

Richard Hamilton (44% owned) could also be worth a look; he'd certainly get a lot of open looks running the floor with Billups, Anthony and Brook Lopez. Kris Humphries (57%) would theoretically be the fifth member of that starting five and would likely get a value bump as well.

For Lawson especially, waiting until the deal is finalized might mean missing out.

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.

All "percent owned" stats are taken from Yahoo! Fantasy Basketball - your mileage may vary.

Standard Leagues:

JJ Hickson (67% owned) - Lots of people - myself included - were very high on Hickson coming into this season. And lots more - myself included again - gave up on him after a tremendously disappointing start to the season. But Anderson Varejao's injury makes Hickson relevant again -- let's hope he makes the most of a second chance.

Shannon Brown (28% owned) - Matt Barnes will be sidelined for a month or more. His minutes will be divided among several Lakers, but Brown is the only one you're going to find on the wire.

DeShawn Stevenson (23% owned) - Shawn Marion (70% owned) looked like the biggest beneficiary of Caron Butler's injury, but Stevenson has gotten the biggest boost, providing owners with good scoring and over four threes per game in his last five outings.

Tyler Hansbrough (23% owned) - Jim O'Brien's latest lineup shuffle has Psycho-T starting at the four spot.

Greg Monroe (17% owned) - Monroe now has three straight double-doubles, and could be in line for a more significant role even after Ben Wallace is completely healthy. The Pistons are getting ready to cut ties with both Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince -- they have little to gain by giving minutes to Wallace at this point, right?

Deep Leagues:

Kurt Thomas (4% owned) - I keep expecting Taj Gibson (33% owned) to take over the starting center job in Chicago, but Thomas has been holding down the fort admirably and giving fantasy owners quality production in blocks, steals and boards.

Kendrick Perkins (4% owned) - Perkins has been cleared to participate in full-contact practices; a return to the lineup should follow soon.

Jordan Hill (3% owned) - Hill has been getting a consistent 20-30 minutes per night with Chuck Hayes sidelined.

Follow Charlie on Twitter - @charliezegers