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NBA Waiver Wire: Working the Wire-Week 16

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

Not to take pleasure in another man's suffering… but for players scouring the waiver wire, the best injuries are the ones that end some poor guy's season.

Think about it. When Elton Brand's injury was announced, you knew you could pick up a Thaddeus Young or Mareese Speights and get value from him for the rest of the year. When Michael Redd tore up his knee, the run on Ramon Sessions looked like Toys R Us at Christmas. But with Andrew Bynum or Jameer Nelson or Andrew Bogut - even Carlos Boozer or Gilbert Arenas, you don't have that certainty. There's a good chance they won't play again this season, but you just don't know. If you're holding 'em, you can't really drop 'em. You might get value out of their understudies, but you don't know how long it'll last.

As the season goes on, more and more injuries will be declared "season-ending." Pay special attention to those announcements; they'll give you a good idea of who you can safely drop and which injury replacements will have the most value.

Case in point, with Al Jefferson done for the year, a guy like Ryan Gomes becomes much more valuable than the variety of players who might fill in for Jason Terry for the next several weeks.

Trade Deadline News

As analyst David Aldridge points out on, the economy is driving the trade market as the February 19 deadline approaches. That means we could see more moves like last year's "Pau Gasol for expiring contracts and a bag of chips" deal, with players like Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Charlie Villanueva and Chris Kaman actively being shopped by teams looking to save some coin.

In such a market, the most valuable player out there is probably Portland's Raef LaFrentz. His $12.7 million deal expires after this season, and 80 percent of it is being picked up by insurance. That means instant relief - both on the cap and in real dollars -- to any team that can swing a deal with the Blazers. But when Raef LaFrentz is a more valuable commodity than Stoudemire or Chandler, the market becomes impossible to predict.

Another complication - let's say the Suns deal Stoudemire, or the Hornets deal Chandler. The Suns and Hornets are actually pretty thin in the frontcourt - you can't necessarily say if Stoudemire is dealt, Louis Amundson will become a valuable fantasy player.

The best advice we can offer - keep a close eye on the transaction wire as February 19th approaches, and be prepared to move quickly.

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 Conley, Jr. (MEM) - Conley is averaging 15 points, over six assists and more than a steal per game this month. Is he finally playing up to his potential? Or has he just been forced to step up due to all the Grizzlies' injuries? Who cares - enjoy the production for as long as it lasts.

Jason Kapono (TOR) -Toronto coach Jay Triano reportedly gave Kapono these instructions: "Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more." If you're a fantasy owner, that's exactly what you want.

Jose Juan Barea (DAL) - Barea is the likely replacement for Jason Terry, though Gerald Green will also get additional run.

Deep Leagues

Danilo Gallinari (NYK) - The rookie has been moved into the starting lineup - and with Quentin Richardson hurting, he should have ample opportunity to win a long-term job there.

Brandon Rush (IND) - Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy and Marquis Daniels are all hurting - someone's gotta put the ball in the hoop for the Pacers.

Vladimir Radmanovic (CHA) - Outside shooter should be a nice complement to Okafor, Diaw and Diop - at least until Gerald Wallace is back to full strength.

A Second Look

Article first appeared on 2/11/08