The 2007 trading deadline will go down as one of the most anti-climactic in history. Juan Dixon, Fred Jones, Anthony Johnson, and Alan Henderson were the four players who changed teams on Thursday. Yawn. It all came down to what teams didn't want to do. Teams didn't want to give up first-round picks in what is expected to be the deepest draft in years. The Bulls didn't want to move Luol Deng to get Pau Gasol, the Lakers didn't want to move Andrew Bynum to get Jason Kidd, and the Kings didn't want to take what the Cavs were offering for Mike Bibby. Take a look at this week's Big Picture while I finish getting rid of the tumbleweeds that blew in sometime around 12pm PT on Thursday.
Some Random Observations
When will it end? The hits keep coming in this season marred by superfluous injury, as Dwyane Wade dislocated his left shoulder so badly on Wednesday night that he is considering season-ending surgery. According to the Associated Press, Wade was examined extensively by team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick early on Thursday. The Heat released a statement that said Wade is "presently weighing his treatment options provided to him by the Heat medical staff" and that he needs to talk with "his family and Heat president and head coach Pat Riley" before deciding how he will proceed. One option other than surgery would be a six-week rehabilitation period that would keep him out for the vast majority of the regular season, but would possibly make him available for the NBA playoffs, depending on its success. Either way, fantasy owners who've been enjoying Wade's career season are now suddenly missing 28.8 points, 4.8 boards, 7.9 assists, 2.1 blocks, 1.3 steals and massive amounts of positive field goal and free throw percentage.
As for the fantasy repercussions on the Heat roster, many players suddenly look like more attractive options. Shaquille O'Neal will be given as big of a scoring load as he can handle, but he has yet to play more than 28 minutes since returning from knee surgery at the beginning of February. Jason Williams and Gary Payton started in the Heat backcourt on Thursday, with Payton playing just 18 minutes and scoring two points. Williams will get as much run with Wade out as his battered body can handle – he's dealt with knee problems all season and just recently returned from an abdominal tear. James Posey and Eddie Jones both figure to see their roles expand, with one (give the edge to Posey) entering the starting lineup in short order. Posey made five threes and scored 17 points in 32 minutes on Thursday, while Jones had five points and four steals in 29 minutes. Jason Kapono will be asked to shoulder more of the scoring load, but he struggled in Wade's absence on Thursday, shooting just two-for-nine and missing all three of his attempts from downtown. He had a tough matchup with Josh Howard, however, so it's not time to panic.
Somewhat lost in the wake of the Wade injury was that J.R. Smith will also be on the shelf for an extended period of time. Smith tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee on Tuesday, and he's expected to miss up to a month of action as he recovers from Wednesday's arthroscopic surgery. Smith was also in the midst of a career season, averaging 15.4 points and 2.7 threes in 42 games. Smith was lost in the same game that Allen Iverson returned from a right ankle sprain – Iverson had missed four straight and eight of the previous nine games. According to the Rocky Mountain News, Nuggets coach George Karl will likely be moving Iverson back to point guard, with Steve Blake going back to the bench. "I'm trying to get A.I. more aggressive, more assertive in the game," said Karl. Linas Kleiza would return to the starting lineup, and, with Smith gone, Yakhouba Diawara will also see an uptick in minutes. Kleiza has averaged 10.8 points, 1.5 threes, and 4.7 boards in 12 starts so far this season. The most prolific three-point shooter currently available in at least 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues is Tim Thomas, who has started the Clippers' three most recent games and averaged 12.4 points, 2.8 threes, and 5.8 boards in eight February games.
Wally Szczerbiak (GF, Boston)
Szczerbiak is likely to be out for the remainder of the team's current West Coast road trip, which runs through Monday, according to The Boston Globe. He had his sprained left ankle examined by doctors in Los Angeles on Thursday, and the results of those tests are expected to be available by Saturday.
Sean May (PF, Charlotte)
May's return remains up in the air, and he might not be close to returning from his knee injury, after all. Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff does not appear confident that he will return soon, at least. "If it happens, great," Bickerstaff said. "But I've got to focus on who's here."
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (C, Cleveland)
Ilgauskas has missed four straight games to deal with a personal matter, and it remains unclear as to when he will return to the team.
Yao Ming (C, Houston)
Yao continues to make progress, although a timeline has still not officially been set for his return. "You don't want to put somebody into a position where there is a risk of injury," Rockets team physician Tom Clanton said on Wednesday. "One of the things that's been shown to be directly related to sports injuries is failure to completely rehabilitate from an injury such as this."
Sam Cassell (PG, LA Clippers)
Cassell did not practice on Wednesday and, according to The Orange County Register, will rest and receive treatment for his abdominal strain through Friday. His status for Saturday's game is questionable. "I'm feeling better, but I can't take a chance on pulling it, or else I'll be out six weeks," said Cassell.
Charlie Villanueva (F, Milwaukee)
Villanueva is considered day-to-day due to his right ankle sprain.
Richard Jefferson (SF, New Jersey)
Jefferson said that he's doing the "real simple stuff" so far in his rehab, and not "running, not jumping yet." He is expected to rejoin the team sometime on its upcoming six-game road trip, according to the New York Post, which runs from March 4 to March 13.
David Lee (F, New York)
Lee is doubtful for Friday's game, as he is still battling flu-like symptoms, according to the New York Post.
Tony Battie (FC, Orlando)
Battie is still a week away from returning from a broken bone in his right thumb, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Boris Diaw (FC, Phoenix)
Diaw has missed the past four games with back spasms, but is "a lot better", according to Suns coach Mike D'Antoni, and could return to the lineup on Friday. D'Antoni added that if he can't go Friday, it won't be much longer before he's back.
Carlos Boozer (FC, Utah); Deron Williams (PG, Utah)
Boozer and Williams will both be game-time decisions on Friday, according to the Deseret Morning News. Boozer said that tests earlier in the week showed a lot of bone growth around the fracture in his leg, and that he's excited to "be back soon, maybe this week." Williams missed Tuesday's game thanks to a groin strain that he suffered in the Rookie-Sophomore game during All-Star weekend. "I want to play the next game," said Williams, "but I'll see how it feels."
Antawn Jamison (F, Washington)
According to The Washington Post, Jamison is still 2-4 weeks away from returning from his left knee sprain.
Stat of the Week
Luke Ridnour's 12 assists (2/20 vs Memphis) were the most he's had in a game since opening night and came in his fifth game since returning to the starting lineup. Ridnour was replaced by Earl Watson for a 13-game stretch in which Ridnour averaged just 8.0 points and 2.6 assists in 23 minutes per game. Over the past five games, Ridnour has averaged 10.8 points, 5.8 assists, and 1.8 steals in 28 minutes per game. If he can once again get back to the 30-plus minutes per game range and settle in as the starter (leave him there, Bob Hill!), he will be a solid fantasy contributor down the stretch.
Line of the Week
Ben Wallace (2/22 @ Cleveland)
14 points (6-8 FG, 2-2 FT), 0 3PTM, 19 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 7 blocks, 1 turnover
Wallace takes the title this week with one of his best overall lines of the season. He's made up for much of his slow start with more familiar performances in recent months, and his February splits include averages of 12.0 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 10 games. That said, Wallace is still averaging 6.3 points on 44 percent shooting and making just 42 percent of his free throws on the season.
Others with consideration: Manu Ginobili (2/21), Gilbert Arenas (2/22, 2/20), Dirk Nowitzki (2/22), Vince Carter (2/21), Amare Stoudemire (2/21)
Eddy Curry Line Update
The Eddy Curry Line was originally established to put a spotlight on how truly anemic Curry's overall fantasy line is. The standard: a player must average more turnovers than assists, steals, and blocks combined – in order to qualify, a player must have appeared in at least half of his team's games and averaged at least 25 minutes of playing time.
|EDDY CURRY LINE – BEST AND WORST|
|TOP 5 (Worst)||GP||MPG||POS||NEG||RATIO|
|BOTTOM 5 (Best)||GP||MPG||POS||NEG||RATIO|
GP = games played
MPG = minutes played per game
POS = positive stats accumulated to-date (assists + steals + blocks)
NEG = turnovers to-date
RATIO = amount of positive stats per turnover