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NBA Waiver Wire: Working the Wire-Week 10

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.

Working the Wire
By Charlie Zegers
RotoWire Hoops Editor

Turns out Nenad Krstic isn't the only ex-NBA player returning to the fold this week.

Krstic, as we've discussed in this space for the last couple of weeks, signed an offer sheet to play for Oklahoma City. The Nets had the option to match, but declined.

It will be interesting to see how Thunder coach Scott Brooks uses his new seven-footer. Oklahoma City has a number of candidates for minutes at the center spot - they've used Robert Swift, Chris Wilcox, Nick Collison and Johan Petro at the five this season - but none of the incumbents have been particularly productive. Krstic can also play the four, but second-year man Jeff Green seems pretty firmly entrenched at that spot for now.

Don't expect immediate results - Krstic will need a little time to get acclimated to his new surroundings. His conditioning may also need work; Russian league teams play about two games per week on average - about half the action that NBA teams usually get. But it's hard to imagine another player with his potential simply appearing on the waiver wire again this season - make your claim when he becomes available.

The other returnee is one of my all-time favorite players - Dikembe Mutombo, who will bring his cookie monster voice and finger-wag back to Houston for the remainder of this season.

Mount Mutombo is officially 42 years old - three years older than the second-oldest player in the league (Boston's Sam Cassell, who is more coach than player at this point). But last season, when Yao Ming was lost for an extended period, Mutombo was surprisingly effective, both in real basketball and fantasy terms.

He probably isn't worth a roster spot unless/until Yao sustains his annual injury.

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 Leagues

Mike James (WAS) - With Washington's season already lost, there's really no reason to rush Gilbert Arenas back until he's fully healthy. That means James, who has been starting in Arenas' spot, should continue to produce for another few weeks at least.

Larry Hughes (CHI) - The fact that he's not starting - and his well-publicized complaints about playing time - have probably depressed Hughes' "percent owned" numbers. Don't let the minutes - and the whining - fool you; he's actually been productive in his current role. It remains to be seen what that role will be once the Bulls are back at full strength, (more on that in a bit) but in the short term he's worth a look.

Mike Dunleavy (IND) - Dunleavy had a setback in his injury rehab this week - but it was the flu bug that's hit several members of the Pacers and not anything related to his ailing knee. Before getting sick, he was participating in 5-on-5 scrimmages. He's been sidelined for the entire season with an injury that was initially described as a day-to-day thing; he's probably available in lots of leagues where owners got impatient with the slow pace of his rehab.

Kirk Hinrich (CHI) - Another guard on the way back from a significant injury, Hinrich is reportedly about two-to-three weeks away from a return. With the emergence of Derrick Rose as Chicago's point guard and alpha dog, the best case scenario for Hinrich fantasy-wise is probably a two-week showcase and then trade.

Deep Leagues

Erick Dampier (DAL) - Dampier will never be a big scorer, but he's a consistent source of boards and blocks, averaging nine boards and two blocks per game over his last five.

Rasual Butler (NOR) - Butler has moved into the Hornets' starting lineup at shooting guard, and has scored in double-figures in four of five games, including a team-high 21 in Tuesday's win over the Wizards.

Joel Anthony (MIA) - Like Dampier, scoring isn't a big part of Anthony's repertoire. But he's averaging 1.7 blocks per game since being installed as Miami's starting center.

Worth a Second Look

Article first appeared on 12/31/08