News, Analysis & UpdatesFebruary 6, 2008

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Want to get away? Now you can.

By Jonathan Huang

Those Frontier airline commercials always crack me up. The guy breaks his friend’s ten thousand dollar, flat panel, plasma ray, HD TV playing a Wii. Then you hear the familiar line – “Want to get away? Now you can.” In the NBA right now, there are many of these kinds of players, players who want to get away from their dismal situations. And they’re not even just the multi-millionaire stars anymore, role players have started asking to get out too. Here’s a breakdown of who wants out, who got out, and who’s on their way out. My take on the fantasy implications are included.

Pau Gasol – The rumor that actually became reality. He wanted out at the beginning of the year, and then the unthinkable happened. No one except for the teams involved (Memphis and LA) saw this coming. There was plenty of talk in the media about Jermaine O’Neal and Kidd coming to LA, but Pau Gasol? Who would’ve thought? Gasol was traded to the Lakers for Kwame Brown, Crittenton, and some spare parts. Alas Kobe Bryant has finally received that superstar helper that he so kindly “requested”. This trade has made the Lakers instant contenders for the title, challenging the likes of San Antonio’s, Phoenix’s, and Dallas’ in the West.

Fantasy Impact: Playing with Kobe Bryant will benefit the Spaniard a lot. Kobe’s presence will give him plenty of room to work down on the block. And while Bynum is out, Gasol will be the main post option for the Lakers. We should see an uptick in his FG% (due to less shot attempts) and assist numbers. Also count Gasol for 10 rebounds and a few blocks a night to go along with his handful of dimes.

Jason Kidd
– One of the biggest rumors of the year. His up and down status is very scary to us fantasy owners. One minute he’s about to get traded in a blockbuster deal, another minute all talks are in a dead halt. His triple-doubles no longer mean victories for the Nets, and he’s realized that. However, his large contract and “old-man” status has made him difficult to move and even more impossible to get good to great value for him.

Fantasy Impact: Depending on his possible destination, his impact will change. For example, if he goes to the Mavericks, his value will be much, much higher in their up tempo offense. His assists should be higher than ever with the likes of Howard, Nowitzki, and Terry to dish to. This is currently the only likely destination for Kidd.
Note – News is that Kidd may not be moved at all; in that case his value will drop due to his lack of motivation to play for the flailing Nets.

Shawn Marion – The Matrix started off the year with various rumors surrounding his tenure in Phoenix. However, while there have been no peeps from Marion for a trade request, word is that he may still be moved by the deadline. His numbers are down slightly from last year, but he’s still playing relatively well.

Fantasy Impact: If he is indeed moved by the deadline, his numbers will dip. The reason? He’s leaving a familiar, free-flowing offense. His numbers are significantly affected by Steve Nash’s status, and if he doesn’t have the man by his side, he’s looking to go down a little bit. However, we won’t know about anything unless he is actually moved.

Andre Miller – Philadelphia is steadily continuing their youth movement and Miller has been rumored all season long to be on the block. However, General Manager Ed Stefanowski of the Sixers has said that there will be “no fire sale”. Then again, it is not new news that plenty of teams who covet Miller for his leadership and veteran poise have been calling frequently. He remains a valuable asset for Philadelphia as a trade would provide further cap flexibility for free agency this summer.

Fantasy Impact: His fantasy value already dropped with his arrival in Philadelphia. We saw a moderate drop in points and a larger drop in assists, which is what he was valuable for. If he is indeed moved to a team like Cleveland, he could see those assists rise again, playing with King James. However, while he is still on the Sixers, he’s just an okay fantasy player to own.

Mike Miller – The 2nd Miller on this list is likely on his way out as well. The Grizzlies have embarked on a head-on rebuilding campaign and Miller won’t want any part of it. Cavs have been reported to have interest, but they just don’t have the pieces to acquire him. However, just seeing what they got for the Gasol trade, they just might give the Cavs a chance to get him. He’s a great shooter and would help any contending team greatly.

Fantasy Impact: His impact would be minimal in an offense where there is no freedom. In the free-flowing Grizzly offense, his numbers have been decent to good this year. If he were to go to some other team, he may become what Ray Allen has become for the Celtics – a one trick pony.

Mike Bibby/Ron Artest – I’m just going to lump the two together because of the associated rumors between them. They are likely to be shipped out for the same reason Gasol was shipped out for – a rebuilding team. Plus, the emergence of Udrih and Salmons has made Bibby and Artest expendable. Not only that, if these two are still in town, it may stunt the growth of the younger core. But for the time being, the Kings still have a chance to make a playoff run and Bibby and Artest have been playing quite well since their respective returns from injuries.

Fantasy Impact: Trading away Mike Bibby and Artest would have a larger impact on their teammates that are left behind. Udrih immediately becomes hot again and Salmons continues his stat sheet stuffing. Until these two are moved, the youngsters are not going to get enough time to produce.

With the trade deadline coming up, expect some more deals to happen within the next couple weeks. It should be an action packed month. I highlighted just some of the major rumors, there are plenty more to be discussed such as Maggette, Cassell, and even J.J Redick with his recent trade demand…

Feel free drop me a line about any I may have missed or any other comments. Questions and comments appreciated.

Jonathan is one of a number of fantasy basketball experts who write for the Cafe as baller_crimson.
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