Given the amount of access that NBA fans have to players and reporters because of social media in 2015, it’s rare that we’re blown away or caught off guard by anything. It’s also rare that our expectations are exceeded, but the 2015 NBA trade deadline did just that. It shocked and surprised us all.
There were 12 trades involving 38 players. It was real, and it was FANtastic!
Here’s a rundown of all of the moves that were made, their fantasy implications, and the RotoWire rest-of-season rankings for eight-category rotisserie leagues, which have been updated to reflect the deadline moves.
To MIA: Goran Dragic, Zoran Dragic
To NOP: Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, Shawne Williams
To PHX: Danny Granger, John Salmons, 2 1st round picks
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Pat Reilly might really be an illuminati or a witch or some sort of inhuman force designed to build great basketball teams. Thats \my only explanation for the fact that in the span of eight months he has recovered from losing the best player on the planet by creating a lineup that, when healthy, looks like this: Dragic, Wade, Deng, Bosh (get well soon!), and Hassan Whiteside. Like everyone else, I’m hoping Bosh recovers completely from the blood clot found in his lung.
Goran Dragic (ranked 43rd before the deadline and 34th after the deadline): It’s worrisome that Dragic is moving from the Suns (the second fastest team) to the Heat (the slowest team in the league), but Dragic’s splits when he is the primary ball handler should give fantasy owners a lot of optimism.
Last season, Dragic averaged 22.1 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per 36 minutes when Bledsoe was off the court and just 18.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per 36 minutes when Bledsoe was on the court. If Dragic can approach something close to that level of production in Miami, then his rest-of-season ranking of 34th overall will be too low.
To MIL: Michael Carter-Williams, Tyler Ennis, Miles Plumlee
To PHI: LAL pick (protected)
To PHX: Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall
This was the trade that put the deadline over the top – the trade that no one saw coming and that was completed (mostly) for basketball reasons (as opposed to salary cap reasons). The most surprising part for me was that the Bucks essentially chose Carter-Williams over Goran Dragic when deciding who to take back in the trade for Knight. In the end, it was a bold move by all three teams, and there’s a very good chance that in a couple of years one of these teams will look like a genius and another will look foolish. I just have no idea which team will be which. Did I mention how great this trade deadline was?
Michael Carter-Williams (24th to 66th): MCW’s move from the 76ers (who play at the seventh fastest pace) to the Bucks (who play at the 15th fastest pace) seems to be bad news for his fantasy value all the way around. Coach Jason Kidd runs a deeper rotation than coach Brett Brown does in Philly, meaningless minutes for MCW, and MCW is no longer the unquestioned number one option on his team, which should decrease his opportunity to fill the box score when he’s on the court. It’s possible that his shooting percentages improve as he’s surrounded by a full compliment of legitimate NBA teammates for the first time in his career, but this trade is bad news for his value in the other fantasy categories.
Brandon Knight (23rd to 23rd): Knight’s fantasy value should remain largely unchanged. The increase in fantasy value for Knight brought about by the Suns’ fast pace of play (second in the league) will be counterbalanced by the fact that Knight will be sharing the ball-handling duties with Eric Bledsoe.
To BOS: Isaiah Thomas
To PHX: Marcus Thornton, CLE pick
Considering some of the negative things we’ve heard recently about Thomas’ inability to mesh with teammates, not to mention the challenges that his size creates on the defensive end, I was surprised that it cost the Celtics a first-round pick to acquire the dynamic guard, particularly when it seemed like part of the reason they moved Rondo was to give the point guard reigns to Marcus Smart. However, Danny Angie rarely makes a bad move, so I’m intrigued to see how Thomas is integrated into the Celtics’ rotation.
Marcus Smart (63rd to 59th): While Smart’s ranking and projection didn’t change much, my confidence that he’ll be able to perform at this level has moved from “sure thing” to “I’m uneasy now”. There is a real chance that Thomas could limit Smart’s offensive production and possibly cut into his playing time.
Isaiah Thomas (83rd to 68th): Thomas will likely play at least as much in Boston (23-25 mpg) as he did in Phoenix’s more crowded backcourt, and he will be the best offensive weapon for the Celtics when he’s on the court.
To DET: Reggie Jackson
To OKC: D.J. Augustin, Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, Kyle Singler
To UTA: Grant Jerrett, Kendrick Perkins, OKC pick (protected), 2nd round pick
The Pistons got Reggie Jackson for D.J. Augustine and Kyle Singler? The Pacers reportedly had serious interest in Jackson, but their bid fell short. What were they offering? A bag of basketballs and a day old doughnuts? I don’t mean to disparage Augustine and Singler, they are fine players, but I certainly don’t think they are capable of doing something like this in the NBA playoffs:
This move left me wondering if Thunder GM Sam Presti has lost a little on his fastball.
Enes Kanter (109th to 138th): The Thunder’s frontcourt now features Serge Ibaka, Steven Adams, Nick Collison, Mitch McGary, and Kanter. Unless Kanter proves to be more effective than McGary, Collison, AND Adams, I think Kanter actually sees less playing time in Oklahoma City than he did in Utah, probably close to 24 mpg.
Reggie Jackson (161st to 82nd): While you can debate whether Jackson is a star-caliber player (most advanced metrics suggest “no”), there is little debate about his fantasy value for the rest of this season. During 13 starts this season, he averaged 20.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. While it’s true that he put up those numbers in just under 39 mpg, and Van Gundy rarely plays his guards over 30 mpg, if you were smart enough to pick him up before the deadline, you made an excellent move. Enjoy the ride.
Rudy Gobert (67th to 28th): It’s kind of crazy that the Jazz are giving their starting center job to a player that played less than 10 mpg last season and who played in the Summer League this past summer, but given Rudy’s production earlier this season, it’s easy to see why they made the move. Gobert has averaged 12 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per 36 minutes this season, and now that he has a starting job secured, he may approach that level of production over the next 30 games. If so, then his current ranking of 28th will be too low. I’m fascinated to see where Gobert and Whiteside go in fantasy drafts next season.
To BKN: Thaddeus Young
To MIN: Kevin Garnett
I always like it when the all-time greats get a chance to finish their careers on their terms. I was kind of hoping to see Garnett make an impact in the playoffs, but Garnet held all of the power here (he had a no-trade clause), so this is presumably what he wanted. It was a nice move by the Nets to pick up Young in the process without giving any of their precious few future assets.
Thaddeus Young (29th to 63rd): Young was playing 38.4 mpg so far in February on the Timberwolves, a mark he’s unlikely to hit in Brooklyn’s crowded frontcourt. I’d expect him to be closer to 30 mpg for the rest of the season.
Gorgui Dieng/Anthony Bennett/Adreian Payne/Garnett: Presumably, one or more of these players will fill the void Young left in the rotation. Dieng is worth owning in all leagues and is up to 70th overall in our rankings. The other three are speculative adds until we see how the rotation shakes out.
To BOS: Luigi Datome, Jonas Jerebko
To DET: Tayshaun Prince
This trade is a nostalgic homecoming for Prince, but I think the Pistons are much more interested in Prince’s on-court production than nostalgia as they look for help to make a playoff push. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Prince, and Caron Butler take most of the small forward minutes in Detroit down the stretch.
Tayshaun Prince (289th to 258th): Prince isn’t relevant in standard leagues but could have value in deep leagues if he gets the playing time. He’s shooting a career-best 49% from three-point range.
To HOU: Pablo Prigioni
To NYK: Alexey Shved, 2 2nd round picks
I was surprised the Knicks made a move and didn’t do enough to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold (they were only over by about $2 million). Otherwise, there’s not much to see here from a fantasy perspective.
To HOU: K.J. McDaniels
To PHI: Isaiah Canaan, 2nd round pick
As one of the few people who still believe McDaniels should have been a top-10 pick in last year’s draft, I’m disappointed to see him go to a deep team that is much more interested in preparing to make a playoff push than developing young players. Through just a few months in the league, he’s already blocked a shot so hard that he gave someone a concussion! What’s not to like?
Isaiah Canaan (Not Ranked to 214th): Perhaps no player’s value changed more at the deadline than Canaan’s did. Canaan has only played in 25 games this season, but Sam Hinke and Brett Brown seem very committed to playing Canaan and are optimistic about what he can bring to the table:
'He is an interesting prospect. Anything but a throw-in. Someone we have high hopes for.'-Hinkie on Canaan
— Section 215 (@Sec215) February 20, 2015
Brett Brown on Isaiah Canaan: "That kid can score." Said he asked former teammate Robert Covington about him.
— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) February 20, 2015
As we often mention, minutes is the most important stat in fantasy basketball, and Canaan should see plenty given the state of the 76ers’ roster. While our projections don’t love Canaan, extrapolating a roleplayer’s production on a playoff team to his production as a starter on a poor team isn’t an exact science. (For example, my personal projections suggest he’s a top-100 player). Considering Philadelphia’s lack of talent and their fast pace of play, I think Canaan is a must-own in all leagues, and he should shoot up these rankings fairly quickly.
K.J. McDaniels (156th to 251st): Considering the crowded wing position in Houston and the team’s emphasis on preparing for the playoffs, it’s hard to see how McDaniels sees enough playing time to be relevant in standard leagues this season.
To PHI: JaVale McGee, OKC pick (protected)
It always interesting to see how much a first-round pick costs in the NBA, in part because the price changes so frequently. For example, in the recent past, the Jazz bought what became the Rudy Gobert pick from Denver for $3M and also got two first-round picks for renting out over $25M+ of salary cap space to the Warriors before they signed Andre Iguodala. During this offseason, Milwaukee got a first for taking on Jared Dudley’s $8.5M salary, and Boston got a first and Tyler Zeller for taking Marcus Thornton’s $8.6M contract. This is the first time Hinke has bought a first-round pick using only cap space, and it cost him. Hinkie had to take McGee’s $11.5M contract this season and $12M contract next season, but it’s no big deal considering the 76ers were, and still are, below the NBA’s salary floor.
While it seems like McGee will get a shot to make an impression in Philadelphia, it also seems like Hinke was primarily after the draft pick, and not McGee, in this trade:
#Sixers Hinkie on JaVale McGee: 'We'll see what happens. he may have a fresh start here but he was moved in large part because of the pick.'
— Tom Moore (@tmoore76ers) February 20, 2015
I would stay away from McGee (and his potential for blocks) until you see him on the court for an extended period of time, even in deep leagues.
To SAC: Andre Miller
To WAS: Ramon Sessions
Although Andre Miller has never played for the Kings prior to this move, this trade also felt like a coming home of sorts as Miller reunited with his soul mate George Karl. It’s highly unlikely that either of these players have any standard-league value over the rest of this season.
To DEN: Will Barton, Victor Claver, Thomas Robinson, POR pick (protected), 2nd round pick
To POR: Arron Afflalo, Alonzo Gee
A Blazers-Nuggets trade was rumored to be in the works for the majority of the season, with the only intrigue here being which Nuggets player would end up in Portland: Wilson Chandler or Arron Afflalo. I’m skeptical that Afflalo will be an appreciable improvement over the Blazers’ current bench options – he’s a poor defender by any metric and is shooting under 34% from three this season, but Neil Olshey has done such an excellent job of team building, earning him the benefit of doubt here.
Arron Afflalo (125th to 167th): Afflalo will come off of the bench in Portland, which means his minutes will likely dip from the 32 mpg he saw in Denver to 24-26 mpg in Portland. As a result, he’s droppable in standard leagues.
Nicolas Batum (38th to 54th): Batum has been playing the majority of this season with an injured wrist, and it’s entirely possible that Afflalo’s biggest contribution to the Blazers will come by allowing Batum to rest and get healthy for the post season. If so, Batum’s playing time, and fantasy value, will likely decrease as a result of this trade.
Danilo Gallinari (186th to 124th): Gallinari is now the starting shooting guard for the Nuggets, which should bump his playing time and fantasy production to a level that’s ownable in deep leagues and is at least interesting in standard leagues (that is unless he gets hurt again).
|After Deadline||Player Name||Team||Pos||Before Deadline|
|168||L. Mbah a Moute||PHI||F||170|