As the clock ticked down to one hour to go before the NBA trade deadline hit, people started to voice their disappointment on Twitter about the lack of trade activity. Certain Twitter feeds, usually filled with the latest NBA news, were eerily quiet and the tweets that were posted were filled with speculation.
Turns out that was just the calm before the storm. It wasn't until about a half hour before the deadline that news started pouring in and the details didn't stop coming until about an hour after the deadline. By the time the dust settled, 11 trades had taken place involving nearly 40 players making it one of the busiest deadlines in recent memory.
Now that rosters are, for the most part, set for the second half; let's look at each trade individually to identify the winners and losers of this year's trade deadline from a fantasy basketball perspective.
Trade 1: Denver sends Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee to Portland for Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, Victor Claver and a 1st rounder
It's tough to see Afflalo averaging 33 minutes a game in Portland. If Portland cuts Allen Crabbe from the rotation and takes a couple minutes a piece from Lillard, Mathews, and Batum, however, he could log minutes in the mid-20s. If Afflalo finds a way to bring up his three point percentage to around 40%, he might just retain some value in 12+ team leagues.
Everybody else directly involved in this trade is unlikely to be able to make a fantasy impact in the vast majority of leagues. Afflalo's departure from Denver, however, opens up quite a large void in both minutes and scoring. While Randy Foye seems to be the obvious choice to take over the starting spot, it's more likely that the minutes will be divided between Foye, Jameer Nelson, and rookie Gary Harris meaning none of them receive a huge fantasy boost.
The Denver backcourt situation will be an interesting one to watch, but none of the possible beneficiaries have enough potential to warrant an immediate pickup.
Arron Afflalo down
Randy Foye up
Gary Harris up
Trade 2: Minnesota acquires Kevin Garnett from Brooklyn for Thad Young
Unless putting on a Timberwolves jersey puts Garnett through a time machine, both of these players should be in pretty similar roles in their new homes. Even though Brook Lopez did not get moved, there should still be plenty of room for Thad Young at the 3 or the 4 and, even though Garnett is back in Minnesota, he still probably will not be able to handle back-to-backs or more than about 25 minutes per game.
The big winner of this trade is Gorgui Dieng. Thad Young played over 90% of his minutes at the power forward position and Garnett will not be able to fill that void entirely. This opens the door for Dieng to play more at the 4 while also spelling Pekovic at the 5. While Dieng owners were hoping for Nikola Pekovic to be moved, this is clearly the next best thing.
Kevin Garnett steady
Thad Young steady
Gorgui Dieng up
Trade 3: Miami gets Goran Dragic and Zoran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix gets Danny Granger and a pair of 1st rounders from Miami and John Salmons from New Orleans, New Orleans gets Norris Cole, Justin Hamilton, and Shawne Williams from Miami
Phoenix basically swapped their entire backcourt with the exception of Eric Bledsoe, so we'll save our analysis of that situation until we've covered all of the trades involving Phoenix. Many people think Dragic will see a huge increase in production in Miami, but I see him as being in a fairly similar situation to Phoenix. Dragic was already getting 33 minutes and 13 shots per game.
How much more could he possibly get in his new home? Norris Cole is gone, but Mario Chalmers will still demand minutes at the point and Dwayne Wade will still handle the ball a lot taking some assists away. Luol Deng and Chris Bosh will also need their shots, so, contrary to popular opinion, I have Dragic's stock as unchanged. Over in New Orleans, Norris Cole has a chance to log decent minutes while Jrue Holiday is out, but don't forget about Tyreke Evans.
Cole's path to minutes is not as clear as some would believe, so I would wait until after his first game with the team to pick him up. Everybody else involved in the trade is not likely to become fantasy relevant.
Goran Dragic steady
Norris Cole up
Trade 4: Phoenix gets Brandon Knight and Kendall Marshall, Milwaukee gets Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee, and Tyler Ennis, Philadelphia gets a 1st rounder
There's one more trade involving Phoenix, so let's save talking about them again. Basically, MCW is expected to take over for Brandon Knight in Milwaukee. We've never seen MCW play on a team trying to win in the NBA, so this will be a very interesting couple of weeks. The main knock on MCW in fantasy is how inefficient he is.
The question is, was he the reason Philadelphia's offense was historically inefficient or does Philadelphia have such a terrible offensive system that it makes decent players historically inefficient? I'm leaning towards the latter. I think that, with better teammates and an actual system, the pressure on MCW will be greatly reduced. This will probably result in fewer shots overall, but it should also result in fewer turnovers and a better field goal percentage.
He still will not be an efficient player, but he still should be a triple-double threat every night. Miles Plumlee also finds himself in a much better situation as that frontcourt is really lacking with Larry Sanders gone. The Bucks do like to go small, though, and Zaza Pachulia and John Henson are still in town, so curb those expectations as I don't see him getting more than about 25 minutes per game. Plumlee's absence should open things up for Alex Len to take the vast majority of the minutes at center for Phoenix.
Over in Philadelphia, the question moves to who starts at point guard. Tim Frazier was signed to a second 10-day contract, so he seems to be the starter for now. As we'll see later in this piece, though, Isaiah Canaan was acquired from the Rockets and could take over that role at any time. In roto leagues, I wouldn't touch either of these guys because it's very likely that they could hurt you in as many categories as they help. In head to head, maybe take a flyer on Frazier if you need assists and Canaan if you need threes.
The potential is there for one of them to be a really solid fantasy contributor if you only rely on him for the right things. There will also be quite an offensive void to fill as MCW was taking a team-high 15 shots per game. I imagine Robert Covington could get some of that, but a higher volume of shots at his shooting efficiency could do just as much to hurt your team as help it.
Alex Len up
Michael Carter-Williams up
Miles Plumlee up
Tim Frazier up
Brandon Knight steady
Robert Covington steady
Trade 5: Boston receives Isaiah Thomas, Jonas Jerebko, and Luigi Datome, Phoenix receives Marcus Thornton and a 1st rounder, Detroit receives Tayshaun Prince
Now we can finally review all of the changes to the Suns' backcourt. Basically, Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green stayed while Dragic was replaced by Brandon Knight and Isaiah Thomas was replaced by Marcus Thornton. Combine that with Danny Granger coming to town and you have a situation that is just as crowded as before. Bledsoe and Knight will become the starting backcourt duo and should receive about the same amount of run as before the trade. Both Marcus Thornton and Danny Granger haven't been earning many minutes in Boston and Miami respectively, so there might be an opportunity for Gerald Green to step into a few more minutes. Key words there are "might" and "few". Don't run to grab him.
Over on the Boston side of things, Isaiah Thomas looks to be in a great situation and should be added in all leagues. The unfortunate side of that is for people who stashed Marcus Smart hoping he would be allowed to run the team in the second half. A more under-the-radar winner of this trade is Jonas Jerebko. With Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger both out for the time being, Jerebko should have a decent audition for the Celtics. He's a stretch 4 who doesn't get many rebounds or blocks, but he's really worth a look in 14+ team leagues if you need some threes from the power forward slot and worth putting on your watch list in shallower leagues.
On the Detroit side, Tayshaun Prince is not likely to log enough minutes to be fantasy relevant.
Isaiah Thomas up
Jonas Jerebko up
Marcus Smart down
Trade 6: The Thunder acquire Enes Kanter, Steve Novak, DJ Augustin, and Kyle Singler, the Pistons acquire Reggie Jackson, the Jazz acquire Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett, and draft picks
In terms of number of players impacted and fantasy relevance of those players, this trade was by far the most important of the day. DJ Augustin and Reggie Jackson switched places which basically destroys Augustin's value and resurrects Jackson's. Singler's value is also gone as he will be just another part of what is now a very deep Thunder bench. Rudy Gobert is finally out from under the shadow of Enes Kanter and is free to form one of the scarier and most athletic frontcourts in the league with Derrick Favors.
Trevor Booker looks slated to receive some extra minutes, but his game isn't very fantasy friendly and Grant Jerrett might slide into the rotation as well. Booker's stock is up, but don't run to get him. Kanter may receive a slight bump in minutes, but he'll be the 4th offensive option and still has to compete with Steven Adams at the 5. He will not turn into an elite rebounder or shot blocker overnight and he won't get a ton more shots in OKC than he did in Utah. Singler's departure from Detroit also leaves a bit of a void as he's been playing nearly 30 minutes per game in February.
Prince is not likely to shoulder all of that load, so somebody else, whether that's Jodie Meeks, Anthony Tolliver, or somebody else, will likely receive a bump as well. Perkins and Novak probably won't last very long with their respective teams, so that's the end of the fantasy impact of this trade, rather, at least that's as much as I can see.
Reggie Jackson up
DJ Augustin down
Enes Kanter steady
Kyle Singler down
Rudy Gobert up
Trevor Booker up
Trades 7-11: Small Trades with Little Fantasy Impact
Houston picks up Pablo Prigioni from the Knicks for Alexei Shved and 2 2nd rounders
Houston gets K.J. McDaniels from Philadelphia for Isaiah Canaan and a 2nd rounder
Washington receives Ramon Sessions from Sacramento for Andre Miller
Philadelphia acquires JaVale McGee from Denver for draft rights
New Orleans gets Ish Smith from Oklahoma City for draft considerations
We're looking at all of these trades together because there's very little overall fantasy impact. KJ McDaniels certainly won't have the same opportunity in Houston that he had in Philadelphia. Jerami Grant and JaKarr Sampson could indirectly benefit from that, although not enough to make them must-adds. As I mentioned before, Canaan seems to have a good shot at playing a ton in Philadelphia.
It's tough to know what that team is going to do at any given moment, though, since their first priority is obviously not winning. JaVale McGee is also a really interesting case in Philly. He only needs about 25 minutes to be a solid rebounds/blocks guy. Who doesn't get 25 minutes per game in Philadelphia? Darren Collison is still hurt, so Andre Miller could have some temporary value in Sacramento.
Finally, with Brad Beal out, Sessions might get some run at the 2 for the Wizards, but I doubt it will be enough since he wasn't able to take advantage of Collison's injury before being shipped out of Sacramento.
K.J. McDaniels down
Jerami Grant up
JaKarr Sampson up
Isaiah Canaan up
JaVale McGee up
Ramon Sessions down
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