With the All-Star rosters now set, you've undoubtedly compared your personal picks to the names that actually made the teams, and voiced your agreement or dissent with the results. While I'm not a huge fan of what the All-Star game/extravaganza has morphed into, I'm always a fan of panning the lineup cards, as I'm sure many of you are. Here are my takes … They did a pretty good job with the East, although I'd take Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu, or Gerald Wallace over Joe Johnson. The West just has too many players to squeeze onto a roster. How can Baron Davis, Deron Williams, Josh Howard, Al Jefferson, Chris Kaman, and Marcus Camby all not be All-Stars? Because it's tough to find one player to remove from the current group, let alone the six you'd need to add those impressive players. Hopefully you've got at least a few of those All-Stars on your fantasy teams. Oh yeah, and how about that Super Bowl – what a game.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
The Friday trade that sent Pau Gasol to the Lakers dominated the weekend's NBA headlines. From a "real life" perspective, the Lakers suddenly appear to be a championship contender while giving up a package of players who are simply salaries and picks that should end up being very near the end of the first round. (Side note: the Bulls couldn't beat that?!?) Brandon Funston already offered fantasy perspective on the deal, so I'll just add a few thoughts to it. Gasol should start at center while Andrew Bynum remains on the shelf, with either Luke Walton or Ronny Turiaf moving to the bench. It's likely that Lakers coach Phil Jackson will opt to keep Turiaf's energy and defensive focus in the starting five alongside the new surplus of offense. It will be interesting to see how the trio of Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and Gasol co-exist within the Lakers' offense, but it's doubtful that ego or production will be a problem for any of the three veterans who suddenly have a very rosy outlook on life. And clearly, as Funston pointed out, the values of Rudy Gay, Mike Miller, and Juan Carlos Navarro just took a nice step up. The Grizzlies also finalized a second trade on Monday, sending Stromile Swift to the Nets for Jason Collins in a fairly puzzling move. Collins should take to the Grizzlies offense like a fish out of water, while Swift joins a frontcourt in New Jersey that has enough bodies to allow him to continue to fail to realize what was once thought to be significant potential.
Injury updates: Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that while Kevin Garnett's abdominal strain is "clearly improving", he isn't likely to play this week; he's on an indefinite timetable and will return somewhere between "this weekend or the All-Star break." Simply put, the 36-8 Celtics are taking no chances with this type of injury, which is usually slow to heal … Gerald Wallace is expected to miss at least one week due to the right foot strain that he suffered on Friday … Friday night, Gilbert Arenas said that he's "20 to 30 days away from being back," citing steady progress in his rehab from his November 21 knee surgery. "It has to be the right time," added the cautiously optimistic Agent Zero … T.J. Ford has been practicing with the Raptors, said that he's already "in game shape", and called a return to the lineup on Friday "a good possibility." It's unlikely that he replaces Jose Calderon in the starting lineup, but should see steady minutes from the outset. Ford added that he simply wants to be treated "like a healthy player" … Luol Deng will be out at least through the end of the current week, according to the Chicago Tribune – he will have an MRI on his left Achilles' tendon after the Bulls return from their current road trip and will "see what's what and move on from there," according to Bulls coach Jim Boylan … Michael Redd had hoped to play on Saturday, but instead missed his fourth straight game because of a left knee strain and remains day-to-day. "It's a matter of making a wise decision, listening to what the doctors say, the trainers say," said Redd.
Lineup changes/position battles: Thabo Sefolosha has played well enough as an injury fill-in that he's not likely to lose his starting spot. In 11 starts, he's averaged 10.7 points, 5.8 boards, 1.6 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 30 minutes. "I like Thabo's size in the backcourt to start the game," said Bulls coach Jim Boylan … Joakim Noah has joined Sefolosha in the starting lineup for the past three games, averaging 10 points and 9.3 boards in 30 minutes, although he totaled just one steal and no blocks … The 76ers are trying to phase Reggie Evans out of the starting lineup, starting Jason Smith or Thaddeous Young in the past three games. Either would be a nice source of defensive stats with starters' minutes … If/when Nenad Krstic is feeling good enough to rejoin the Nets' starting lineup, look for Josh Boone to stay on as the defensive foil to Krstic's plus-offensive game. Sean Williams is looking droppable in just about any format … Luis Scola appears to have passed Chuck Hayes on the Rockets' depth chart at PF, averaging 12 points on 61 percent shooting and 3.5 rebounds in 26 minutes over the past four games (all starts). I say "appears to have" because it's had as much to do with the fact that the Rockets have faced some up-tempo teams as anything – Hayes remains a favorite of his teammates and the Rockets' staff.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Juan Carlos Navarro (G – Memphis)
Navarro figures to be a mainstay in the Grizzlies' starting lineup in the wake of the Pau Gasol trade, and has averaged 15.3 points, 2.8 threes, 4.3 boards, 3.3 assists, and 0.9 steals in his 15 starts on the season. The 27-year-old rookie, who has significant international experience, should be a very good source of offensive numbers during the season's second half.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Brad Miller (C – Sacramento) – Miller's game is at a vintage level right now. He's the 15th-ranked player in the Yahoo! game on a per-game basis over the past month, and over his past nine games he has averaged 16.9 points on 53 percent shooting, 13 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks.
Linas Kleiza (GF – Denver) – Kleiza's career-high 41-point outburst (January 17) sparked a very productive streak for the third-year veteran. He's averaged 19.9 points on 49 percent shooting, 2.2 threes, 6.4 boards, and 1.6 steals in 37 minutes over the past nine games, including seven starts.
David Lee (F – New York) – Lee is currently putting up his best numbers of the season – he's posted four consecutive double-doubles and has averaged 13.1 points on 69 percent shooting and 10.1 boards over the past eight games, which includes two starts, thanks to Eddy Curry's bout with the flu.
Mehmet Okur (FC – Utah) – Okur's numbers are starting to come around – he's averaged 15.6 points on 47 percent shooting, 1.9 threes, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals over the past 12 games, and the Jazz have gone 11-1 during that stretch.
Andrea Bargnani (FC – Toronto) – Bargnani is showing signs of life, just as he was starting to hit waivers in a number of leagues. While he's remained inconsistent, he's averaged 16.6 points, 2.4 threes, and 5.2 rebounds in 30 minutes over the past five games.
Sean Williams (FC – New Jersey) – Williams appears to have lost most of his last shreds of fantasy relevance. He has averaged 5.9 points on 44 percent shooting over the past seven games, and figures to lose playing time with the impending return of Nenad Krstic and Stromile Swift's arrival.
Martell Webster (GF – Portland) – Webster has done little to warrant fantasy consideration in recent weeks – he's scored in double figures just once in the past 11 games, averaging 7.3 points on 33 percent shooting, 3.2 boards, and 0.6 steals during that stretch.
Yi Jianlian (PF – Milwaukee) – While growing pains are to be expected, it's been tough to rationalize keeping Yi on a roster lately. Over the past eight games, the 20-year-old rookie has averaged 5.9 points on 32 percent shooting and 5.4 boards, while totaling one steal and two blocks.
Antonio Daniels (PG – Washington) – Daniels has done more harm than good to fantasy rosters over much of the past month. While dealing with knee and ankle issues, he's averaged 8.8 points on 38 percent shooting, 4.3 assists, and 0.9 steals over the past nine games.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
I'm starting to sound like a broken record when it comes to the league standings, but they've stayed remarkably consistent for at least the last month. This week's transactions included Louis Williams, Chris Wilcox, Andray Blatche, Kareem Rush, Hakim Warrick, James Posey, and DeSagana Diop, among others.