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NBA Waiver Wire: Working the Wire-Week 17

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

It's official… the worldwide economic downturn has hit the NBA.

The New Orleans Hornets agreed to send center Tyson Chandler to Oklahoma City in return for a has-been -- Joe Smith -- and a never-was -- Chris Wilcox.

The reason? Certainly not basketball. Despite the fact that Chandler is in the midst of a down season, with him the Hornets are generally considered one of the top four teams in the West.

Without him, they're just another good but not great Western Conference squad in the mix for playoff seeds five-through-eight.

From a fantasy perspective, this trade may represent an opportunity. Both Wilcox (26% owned) and Smith (2%) are capable scorers who should get a big boost in minutes now that they've been removed from the youth movement in Oklahoma City. Hilton Armstrong (1%) could get a boost as well.

Coaching Change in Phoenix

The Suns pulled the plug on the Terry Porter experiment over the weekend and installed assistant Alvin Gentry as interim coach. The lone holdover from Mike D'Antoni's staff, Gentry immediately promised to get the Suns back to the breakneck pace that made their offense so powerful - and their players so valuable to fantasy owners - before Porter took over.

The Suns that stand the most to gain from a return to faster-paced basketball - Steve Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire (assuming he isn't dealt), Jason Richardson - aren't available on the wire. But guys like Leandro Barbosa (72% owned), Grant Hill (64%) or Matt Barnes (36%) are in many leagues, and their value should increase significantly.

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

Antonio McDyess (DET) - Another round of lineup changes in Detroit will make Dice a starter. McDyess has too much wear on his tires to play what most would consider "starter's minutes" at this point in his career - but this should mean a nice little boost to his production across the board.

Jamario Moon (MIA) - He was lost in the shuffle too often in Toronto, but Moon's high-energy style should be well-received on a Pat Riley team.

Delonte West (CLE) - Now listed as day-to-day, should be back on the floor some time this week.

Deep Leagues

Yi Jianlian (NJ) - Yi should be back on the floor for New Jersey when the Nets return from the All-Star break. Before getting hurt he was playing well enough to merit a roster spot in most formats, but his production could increase substantially if Vince Carter is dealt.

Gilbert Arenas (WAS) - The latest reports out of Washington indicate Agent Zero will return for the last 15 games of the season. We'll believe it when we see it… but now that there's a semi-official target date, he seems well worth a flyer.

George Hill (SAN) - Manu Ginobili missed Tuesday's game against the Knicks with a sore ankle - he'll have tests later this week to assess the injury. In the meantime, rookie Hill should get extra run.

A Second Look

Luke Ridnour (MIL) - Expected back this week, sooner than expected

Brandon Rush (IND) - Danny Granger, Mike Dunleavy, Marquis Daniels all hurting - someone's gotta play, right?

Vladimir Radmanovic (CHA) - 34 points in his first two games as a Bobcat; may shift to sixth man when Gerald Wallace returns.

Article first appeared on 2/18/08