News, Analysis & UpdatesFebruary 19, 2009

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NBA Trade Deadline 2009: The Fantasy Perspective

By David Vauthrin

I don’t just love sports; I LOVE sports. There could be Women’s Ice Hockey on ESPN and I’d watch it. That’s how much I love sports. And in my opinion, the trade deadline in any sport is one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking times to be a fan. With that said, let’s break down the fantasy impact of recently completed trades.

1) Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Toronto; Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon to Miami

Late last week the long-awaited swap of Shawn Marion and Jermaine O’Neal finally happened, to the joy of fantasy owners everywhere. In fact, this deal reminds me of a scene in movies where the main female character starts peeling off rose petals while saying “He loves me” or “He loves me not.” Apparently the last petal landed on “He loves me” for O’Neal and Marion as both stand to benefit from the trade. Marion was lost in Miami, unable to utilize his slashing ability in a Dwyane Wade-based offense. In Toronto, Marion gets reunited with Bryan Colangelo, part of the brains behind the run-and-gun system in Phoenix where Marion had so much success. Also working in Marion’s favor is the presence of Jose Calderon in Toronto. While Calderon won’t remind of people of Steve Nash anytime soon, he is much better than any point guard Marion played with in Miami. For a guy who struggles to create his own shot that is big news. As for O’Neal, the Raptors did not have enough playing time available for him, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani, as none of them could effectively play small forward. Therefore he benefits simply by becoming the Heat’s starting center. Also, Michael Beasley and Bargnani stand to benefit from this deal as well. Beasley should become the starting small forward in Miami and I’d expect solid points and rebounds from him the rest of the way while Bargnani should resume playing like he did when O’Neal missed time with a knee injury. Lastly, I wouldn’t be rushing out to gamble on Jamario Moon as Miami’s motivation was to get a legitimate center while freeing up more minutes for Beasley.

2) Brad Miller and John Salmons to Chicago; Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden to Sacramento

In this trade, the Kings and Bulls swap contracts they don’t want in Miller and Nocioni while adding in Gooden and Salmons to make the salaries match. Talent wise the Bulls are the clear winners here as Miller and Salmons are better than their counterparts. As for the fantasy impact in Chicago, Miller becomes the starting center killing the value of Joakim Noah and possibly Tyrus Thomas in the process. The deal also negatively impacts Luol Deng, Ben Gordon and John Salmons as all three will have to split the available minutes and shots at the shooting guard and small forward positions. For Sacramento, this deal frees up shots and minutes for young players like Jason Thompson, Francisco Garcia and Spencer Hawes as Gooden and Nocioni should come off the team’s bench. If you are looking for a player to add for the stretch run, I’d go after Garcia first, then Thompson, followed by Hawes.

3) Rafer Alston to Orlando; Kyle Lowry and Brian Cook to Houston; first round pick from Orlando to Memphis

As a Rockets fan this came out of left field, but I can’t say I’m disappointed. Yes, Rafer Alston knows how to run a team, but he can’t shoot to save his life and he is not a penetrating point guard. His value stays the same in Orlando as he will start in place of Nelson on a three-point happy team. Aaron Brooks is the biggest beneficiary from this deal, as he will start in Houston. He’s an immediate add for teams wanting threes, assists, points and a great free-throw percentage. Mike Conley also sees a boost in value as Memphis just traded his backup away. Lastly, I’d keep my eye on Lowry as he does have the ability to push Brooks for playing time.

4) Larry Hughes to New York; Tim Thomas, Anthony Roberson and Jerome James to Chicago

My first reaction to this deal is “who cares.” However, it is a trade and with it involving the up-tempo Knicks there is a chance Hughes can help fantasy rosters down the stretch. That said, Hughes is the only player I’d consider adding and that only applies in very deep leagues.

5) Chris Wilcox to New York; Malik Rose to Oklahoma City

It’s been a whirlwind week for Wilcox. Earlier this week, he was dealt to New Orleans for Tyson Chandler only to be sent back to the Thunder as Chandler failed his physical. Now, Wilcox, an athletic big man, is heading to a team with a shortage of big men that loves to run-and-gun. He is a worth a look if you need a big man in a deeper league. Rose is to be ignored, as he has no value.

6) Rashad McCants to Sacramento; Shelden Williams to Minnesota

This is a case of two teams filling roster holes with players they can keep for awhile. McCants is expected to replace some of Salmons scoring ability and is someone to watch in the next few weeks. If he gets consistent shots and minutes, he would be worth adding for points and threes. As for Williams, this trade makes his commute to see Candace Parker, pregnant with the couple’s first child, much longer. From a fantasy perspective I wouldn’t expect much out of Williams right away, but he could get some starts at power forward or center down the line if McHale likes what he sees.

7) Thabo Sefolosha to Oklahoma City; first round pick to Chicago

At first glance, this trade seems to do little for fantasy purposes. However, right now the Thunder are starting Kyle Weaver at shooting guard so it’s quite conceivable that Sefolosha could take that job with his defensive abilities. If that happens he would be worth monitoring as a potential addition to your fantasy roster.

David Vauthrin is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. A native of Houston, Texas, David Vauthrin is a diehard Rockets fan. Having graduated with a degree in journalism from UT-Austin, it is believed his blood is not red, but rather burnt orange.
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