Early season fantasy basketball is all about increasing the value of your team as much as possible, before the season settles into its grind and it just becomes about team maintenance. Picking up the hot free agent is one method of doing this, of course, but the other way is to make smart trades. To give up players that you believe may be a bit overvalued at present in exchange for undervalued guys that hopefully will be worth even more in the long-term. This season there are several star players that have interesting trade potential, so I figured I'd talk a bit about them here. The interesting thing about trading is that there is no one set strategy. As you'll see below, the same player can be either good trade bait or a good trade target, depending on the circumstances.
1) Amare Stoudemire. I didn't draft him in any leagues because I was worried about his knee issues, and early in the season those fears seem justified. So if you used your first round pick on him, and there is another owner in your league willing to pay you first round prices for him now, you might consider making that deal.
On the other hand, because his knee has been causing him to miss action it is possible that the pendelum may have swung the other way. If the Stoudemire owner in your league is panicking and is willing to sell him at say, late 2nd/early 3rd round value, you might consider trying to buy low on him.
2) Jason Kidd. Kidd exploded in the playoffs last season, increasing his already great numbers into the nightly triple-double range. But this preseason he complained of back issues, and even though he is playing now it is possible that his back trouble could affect him, especially in back-to-back situations. Plus, he is well into his 30s and back injuries linger even in younger players. So, if I had him on my team I would consider trading him now, while his numbers still look great.
3) Gilbert Arenas. Arenas has had his knee drained twice already, and his game has not quite lived up to expectations thus far. Like Stoudemire, if I have him and can get full first round quality in return I would probably trade him. But if the Arenas owner in your league is panicking, see if you can snag him on the cheap.
4) Dwyane Wade. Wade has dramatically increased his numbers in every one of his NBA seasons thus far, to the point where he was putting up video game stats last season before his injury. He should be back in games soon, so he makes a very interesting trade case.
Ask yourself this question: what are the odds that his knee and shoulder are sufficiently healed to allow him to reach the lofty stats he posted last season or surpass them? And what are the odds that he avoids injury for the remainder of this season? Your answers to these two questions will determine whether or not he is untouchable (if you own him) or worth going after (if you don't)
I, personally, am a big Wade fan and would absolutely love to have him on my team...but I also believe that the odds of him reaching peak level and maintaining it for 5 months aren't great. So, if someone is offering me top-5 player value for him now...I might just take it.
On the other hand, I wouldn't sell him short. A healthy Wade is virtually untradeably good, so if I'm not getting Kobe Bryant-level offers for him, I probably wait until after he comes back and take the chance that he will return full speed.