Not quite the full slate that a typical busy Wednesday night offers on the court, but two trades did make things a bit more interesting today in the NBA.
• Here's how the first trade of the day broke down:
The New Orleans Hornets sent veteran guard Mike James to Washington on Wednesday in exchange for Antonio Daniels as part of a three-team trade that returned a future first-round draft pick from the Wizards to the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis also dealt second-year guard Javaris Crittenton to Washington and sent a conditional second-round pick to New Orleans, while the Wizards waived guard Dee Brown.
Nothing earth-shattering, but the Wiz are desperate for backcourt production and weren't going to get it from Daniels. Crittenton looms large in the team's long-term plans and figures to have a solid rotation spot over the remainder of the season, even if James has a better chance to step in immediately and knock down a jump shot or two. Both players have to be itching for the opportunity to play - they've totaled 118 minutes of playing time between the two of them to this point in the season. What's not likely is that either player warrants an add in standard leagues, but keep your eyes on the box scores.
• The second trade involved a few bigger names:
The Phoenix Suns ... traded Raja Bell and Boris Diaw to the Bobcats on Wednesday as part of a deal for Jason Richardson. Rookie point guard Sean Singletary also went to Charlotte, while the Suns got small forward Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft pick.
For all the rumblings of Gerald Wallace or Raymond Felton potentially getting moved, this one came as something of a surprise. If this were any of the previous few seasons, J-Rich's fantasy owners would be downright giddy. But this is the Terry Porter Suns that we're now dealing with, so there's anything but reasons to expect an immediate spike in stats. J-Rich was averaging 15.7 shots (4.2 threes) in 35 minutes thus far, while Bell was averaging 8.1 shots (4.3 threes) in 32 minutes - getting feeds from Steve Nash should help in terms of quality, but his fantasy owners need to be at least as concerned with the quantity that will be available to him. The ripple effect from incorporating Richardson into the offense could mean a small sacrifice from the rest of the starters, but what it virtually assures is that Leandro Barbosa has no shot at consistency without a major injury to either Steve Nash or Shaquille O'Neal.
Bell's value goes up slightly, as he should pick up a few shots in Richardson's stead, but don't get overly-optimistic. Plan on D.J. Augustin playing very steady minutes and warranting a roster spot well above his current mark in Yahoo! leagues (44 percent). Diaw suddenly looks like he's rosterable in standard leagues - while nobody should have visions of 2005-06 dancing in their head, Sean May is only going to present so much of a challenge to him for playing time. With 30-plus minutes per game, 12/5/4 with occasional blocks and steals isn't out of the question. Neither Gerald Wallace nor Emeka Okafor figure to be affected greatly by the deal.
• New faces in the Raptors' starting five tonight included Jason Kapono (in place of the injured Anthony Parker) and Jamario Moon (in place of Andrea Bargnani). Kapono had a team-high 25 points in 38 minutes and Moon had his best line of the season: 17 points, 1 three, 8 boards, 2 steals, and 3 blocks in 34 minutes. Meanwhile Bargnani failed to score and had three turnovers and four fouls in 23 minutes during the 101-88 win (new coach Jay Triano's first). Parker isn't likely to lose his starting spot because of injury, but you can bet that the floundering Bargnani is back to being a reserve, at least for now.
• Al Harrington went for 39 tonight, along with 13 boards and 2 steals, in 46 minutes. Maybe he'll get picked up in those 14 percent of leagues where he's still available after that one, but he was averaging 22.9 points, 2.6 threes, and 7.4 rebounds as a Knick entering the game.
• David Lee was limited to 24 minutes in the game after falling and hurting his back, and his streak of 10 straight double-doubles came to an end (10 points, 1 board). Tim Thomas filled in admirably, scoring 26 points (5 threes) in 31 minutes.
• Go pick up Nate Robinson if he's available in your league - the plan is for him to practice Friday and play Saturday ... Cuttino Mobley's heart condition is now expected to force him into retirement.
• D.J. Augustin was the only player on the Bobcat's makeshift starting lineup to show up tonight, as he scored 28 of the team's 89 points in 37 minutes. He also hit all four of his three-point attempts and had seven assists (just 1 turnover) and four steals in 37 minutes. Gerald Wallace is still with his family in Alabama and doesn't figure to play Thursday, either.
• Tyson Chandler followed up his stinker on Saturday (2 points, 5 boards) with his best single-game performance since the season opener (13 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks) and the damage came in just 24 minutes. No, I don't have any real insight into why he's struggled so mightily this season.
• Peja Stojakovic hit five treys for the third consecutive game and appears to have put November's shooting struggles behind him.
• Marc Gasol, who has been in and out of the starting lineup for the Grizzlies lately, was out again tonight. He scored five points and had six boards in 26 minutes, while starter Darko Milicic had seven points, four boards, and four blocks in 26 minutes.
• Despite nice lines from Kevin Durant (28 points, 2 threes, 5 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks) and Russell Westbrook (15 points, 6 assists, 2 steals), the Thunder fell to 2-21 on the season. Durant has now averaged 26 points, 2.4 threes, 6.3 boards, 1.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks over his past seven games.
• Your 76ers update: Elton Brand had a disastrous return (3-of-11, 7 turnovers in 35 minutes), Willie Green (1-of-6 in 20 minutes) started over Thaddeus Young (2-of-9 in 27 minutes), and Samuel Dalembert (0-for-1, 2 rebounds in 17 minutes) remains lost. At least Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller looked good tonight.
• Matt Bonner looks more and more like a sneaky-good roster add by the day - he had nine points, one three, and 13 boards in 27 minutes tonight and has averaged 12 points on 64 percent shooting, 1.8 threes, 7.5 boards, 0.7 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 25 minutes over the past six games (five starts).
• Carmelo Anthony tied a league record with 33 points in the third quarter, en route to 45 points in the 116-105 win over the Timberwolves. He also added four threes, 11 boards, three assists, and four steals - six or eight more games like that would do wonders for his per-game rank (143 entering the evening).
• Randy Foye had his best game of the season (26 points, 2 threes, 6 assists) and Kevin Love registered another double-double (14 points, 14 boards) - I can't help but think that Kevin McHale can coax a bit more offense out of this team than the defensive-minded Randy Wittman did.
• Matt Barnes took full advantage of a return engagement with the starting five, going for 25 points with five threes, 10 boards, and five assists in 41 minutes. Of course, he's just keeping the spot warm for J-Rich.
• Stephen Jackson was back in the lineup for the Warriors tonight, but made just seven of 23 shots, including 1-of-8 shooting from long range. He was grimacing and clutching and shaking his hand after aggravating it during through the game, but stayed on the court. Per usual, he offset the bad with some good (5 boards, 8 assists, 4 steals) .. Corey Maggette isn't expected to be out much longer.