AI is officially done for the year, Monta is done for a while, and CP3 could be back sooner than later.• The 76ers announced Tuesday that Allen Iverson(notes) will not return to the team this season, a move that should not have come as a surprise to anyone. It's the best decision for both parties, as AI has a guaranteed contract and can now focus completely on his family, while the Sixers lose the distraction and can focus on their younger (and better) players. Louis Williams(notes) is now locked in for the rest of the season (17.4 points, 52% FG, 88% FT, 1.6 threes, 5 boards, 5 assists, 1.3 turnovers, 1 steal over the past eight games) and will play a significant factor in fantasy championships. Those of you that were patient through the past few months (or picked him up after someone wasn't) will be handsomely rewarded.
Jrue Holiday(notes) should also draw some consideration from most fantasy owners. He's coming off 23 points, five threes, six assists, and two steals on Monday and has averaged 10.3 points on 51-percent shooting, 1.2 threes, 3.9 assists, 2 turnovers, and 1.1 steals in 28 minutes over the past 10 games. You speculative types will want to note that he's quietly made 39 percent of his threes on the season and 50 percent of his attempts (12 of 24) over the past month. Playing off Williams could lead to more open threes for Holiday, as Monday's output can attest, so I'd advise at least adding him to your Watch List. Willie Green(notes) is back from his shoulder injury but has lost his starting job to Williams and his line isn't diverse enough to warrant fantasy interest as a reserve.
• Elsewhere in Philly: Elton Brand(notes) missed Monday's game with right Achilles tendinitis, and he'll also be out of the lineup Wednesday. It's not the same Achilles tendon that he tore a few years back, but that's only so much of a silver lining here. Thaddeus Young(notes) and Marreese Speights(notes) stand to benefit from Brand's time off.
• Three consecutive days off couldn't be coming at a better time for the Raptors. They lost their fourth game in a row Monday, a 116-92 drubbing at the hands of the Rockets, playing without Chris Bosh(notes) (his sixth consecutive game off due to an ankle sprain), Jose Calderon(notes) (a cut on his elbow), and Hedo Turkoglu(notes) (for the most part, as he played just 16 minutes because of an ankle sprain). The hope is that all three players will be active Friday, but we won't know for sure about any of them until closer to game-day.
• Leandro Barbosa(notes) was given full medical clearance Monday, but it will be at least another week before he returns to the Suns' active roster. Monday marked the first time in five weeks that he attemped a perimeter jumpshot, so there's going to be some rust, and the team's schedule means that the earliest he'll return is next Friday. And when he does return, how much fantasy upside will he really have? Although he's both hungry and thirsty to play, the team has gone 13-5 since his wrist surgery and have been getting solid production out of Jason Richardson(notes), Goran Dragic(notes), and Jared Dudley(notes). Barbosa has averaged 18 minutes in his 24 games as a sub thus far on the season [splits], and I have a hard time seeing him lif that average before it's all said and done.
• J.J. Hickson(notes) will continue to start at center for the Cavs, with Mike Brown citing how well he plays with the other starters as part of his reasoning. The matchups are likely to dictate how the minutes are ultimately split between Hickson and Anderson Varejao(notes) at center, however - Hickson will have his hands full when he's forced to match up with the 7-foot, 265-pound Brook Lopez(notes) on Wednesday. Fantasy owners should look at the situation as Varejao's fantasy impact holding steady, while Hickson's gets a moderate upgrade.
• The latest un-official info on Chris Paul(notes) is that sources have indicated that he's about 10 days or so from returning. Of course this is nothing concrete, but it certainly seems feasible given that there have been no reports of setbacks (he's been running and taking part in warmups) and we're now one month removed from his Feb. 4 surgery. If/when Paul returns for his 30-35 minutes, we're likely to see Darren Collison(notes) return to the bench for 25-30 minutes, Marcus Thornton(notes) return to the starting five for 30-35 minutes, and Morris Peterson(notes) back to the bench and largely removed from the rotation.• Kurt Rambis "likes" Kevin Love(notes) coming off the bench, which is why Darko Milicic(notes) will likely start at power forward for the Timberwolves for the two games that Al Jefferson(notes) misses due to suspension. Alrighty then. The T-Wolves are far from a good team, but Rambis has become quite proficient at minimizing the effectiveness of his best players. Rambis added that he wasn't locked into starting Darko, but was "kind of leaning that way" and that it could be "just a short minute thing."
• Paul Pierce(notes) (thumb) was a late addition to the Celtics' starting five Tuesday but wasn't exceptionally effective in his 29 minutes (9 points, 1 boards, 1 assist, 2 turnovers). It's good to see him back, but hopefully he's a bit better when the Celtics take the court Wednesday (CHA) ... Kendrick Perkins(notes) missed the game with flu-like symptoms and we'll have to wait for a Wednesday update to see if he'll only miss the one game.
• Those of you holding Nate Robinson(notes) in standard leagues may want to think about other options. In his four games with the Celtics, he's averaged 9.5 points, 1.5 threes, 2.3 boards, 1.5 assists, and 1.3 steals in 18 minutes, and there isn't much upside from there on a healthy roster. While everyone on the Celtics certainly speaks highly of the departed Eddie House(notes), he was averaging just under 17 minutes per game at the time of the trade and averaged just over 18 last season.
• Monta Ellis'(notes) fantasy owners can only wait and hope as they watch Andris Biedrins(notes) come off fantasy rosters en masse. A Monday MRI revealed a lower back strain and Ellis is now expected to be sidelined for all five games of the Warriors' current road trip, while Biedrins was declared out on Monday. Ellis certainly isn't in the same position as Biedrins right now (read: droppable), but things could get dicey if we don't see a positive update emerge once he's re-evaluated. As expected, C.J. Watson(notes) (40 minutes, 20 points, 1 three, 6 steals) and Ronny Turiaf(notes) (28 minutes, 15 points, 7 boards, 2 steals, 1 block) got the starts Tuesday and delivered solid lines. Anthony Tolliver(notes) started at power forward (32 minutes, 10 points, 1 three, 8 boards, 1 block) and the team added yet another D-Leaguer (Reggie Williams(notes)) just to have as many as eight healthy players.
• Neither Stephen Curry(notes) (43 minutes, 18 points, 3 treys, 8 assists, 3 turnovers, 2 steals) nor Tyreke Evans(notes) (39 minutes, 27 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 4 turnovers, 2 steals) hurt their cases for the real-life Rookie of the Year Tuesday. For fantasy purposes, Curry's advantage in threes (1.8 to 0.5), free-thow percentage (87% to 76%), and steals (1.8 to 1.5) give him a fairly comfortable edge.
• A tough night for the Pacers (122-99 loss to the Lakers) and Danny Granger(notes) in particular (30 minutes, 9 points, 2-of-9 FG, 0 boards), who is currently struggling with a private issue away from the game. That said, he was coming off a big-time performance his last time out (30 points, 3 treys, 8 boards, 4 steals), so fantasy owners should look at this as a bump in the road... for now.
Photos via Getty Images