Fantasy Basketball: Trade Deadline Primer

With the Carmelo Anthony(notes) saga finally past us, the floodgates have opened and there has been a flurry of action after a rather long period of inactivity. As we approach the trade deadline, now just about 12 hours away (Thursday, February 24 at 3 PM EST), let’s take a look a fairly detailed look at the current trade landscape.

Completed Deals:

Atlanta gets: Hilton Armstrong(notes), Kirk Hinrich(notes)
Washington gets: Mike Bibby(notes), Jordan Crawford(notes), Maurice Evans(notes), 2011 first-round pick

Analysis: This trade really boils down to two players: Hinrich and Bibby. Both players will see their contracts expire after next season, and there aren’t any significant financial implications here for either team. The Wizards part with Hinrich at a bit of a discounted price, but will net a late first-round pick and Crawford, who has the potential to be an explosive scorer down the line. Some see Jamal Crawford(notes) in him, while others see Nick Young(notes). The Hawks get a significant defensive upgrade at the point in Hinrich, who will slide right into Bibby’s spot in the starting lineup. They’ll lose a bit on the offensive end with Bibby’s scorching hot 44 percent clip from three, but that’s about it. The two post almost identical assist ratios (27.6% for Bibby, 27% for Hinrich), but there’s a rather considerable different in their usage rates (14.6 for Bibby,17.1 for Hinrich). Expect a few less looks for Joe Johnson(notes), Josh Smith(notes), and Al Horford(notes), but nothing too noticeable. This deal, on top of the trade rumors involving Jeff Teague(notes), indicates the franchise’s reluctance to hands the keys over to Teague in the near future.

Chicagogets: 2011 first-round pick (via Miami Heat)
Torontogets: James Johnson(notes)

Analysis: The Raptors wasted little time putting Johnson to the test, as he got his first start on Wednesday at small forward ahead of Sonny Weems(notes). There is some nice defensive potential here (2.6 blocks per 36 minutes; 2.3 steals per 36), but he is otherwise an extremely erratic player with a few major flaws – one, he fouls at an exorbitant rate (7.3 per 36 minutes) and two, he is tied with Hilton Armstrong for the league’s second highest turnover rate (22.9; 5.3 per 36 minutes). What that 22.9 mark means is that 22.9 percent of his possessions end in a turnover. The tools are there, but he needs to make some major alterations to his game before he warrants consideration.

New Orleansgets: Carl Landry(notes)
Sacramentogets: Marcus Thornton(notes)

Analysis: Credit the Hornets, Dell Demps, and Monty Williams for managing to obliterate Thornton’s trade value ina matter of months. He went from being labeled untouchable– with some advocating the team keep him rather than make a move for Carmelo Anthony – to … this. Given Thornton’s major regression to virtual mediocrity this season as he was yanked in and out of the lineup by Williams, it’s almost imperative that he lands somewhere that will provide him some sort of stability, both with respect to minutes and role. The Westphal-led Kings are about the last place that would fit the bill. Nonetheless, with Tyreke Evans(notes) possibly out for the season – he’ll be re-evaluated in three weeks, but there’s very little reason for the Kings to rush him back – the starting two-guard job will be his for the taking. Jermaine Taylor(notes), though better as of late, isn’t a real threat to anyone. On the flip side, Carl Landry will serve to bolster the Hornets’ frontcourt depth, but isn’t looking at any sort of expanded role in New Orleans. He can score in bunches, but is one of the worst rebounders for his position (62nd in rebound rate amongst 75 PF’s) and is a net negative in the other counting categories (assists, steals, blocks). He’ll look to re-discover his shooting touch as well, particularly on long twos.

New Jersey gets: Deron Williams(notes)
Utah gets: Derrick Favors(notes), Devin Harris(notes), 2011 first-round pick, 2012 first-round pick (Warriors), $3 million in cash

Analysis: Not a whole lot changes for Favors here. He goes from averaging 20 minutes a game as a starter in New Jersey to a bench role behind Paul Millsap(notes) in Utah where he’ll see a few less minutes. His potential has continually been capped by his problematic foul rate (6 per 36 minutes), and he’s only been a two-category contributor up to this point (rebounds, blocks). Getting out of New Jersey is a victory in and of itself for Harris, who was severely (and inexplicably) underutilized by Avery Johnson, playing just under 32 minutes a game at the expense of Jordan Farmar(notes). Johnson’s offensive system almost made poor use of Harris’ speed, playing at the league’s fourth slowest pace. He’ll fill in just fine for Williams, and while colleague Matt Buser sees his presence as a reason to downgrade the values of Al Jefferson(notes), Paul Millsap, and Andrei Kirilenko(notes), I completely disagree. Harris is vastly underrated by the general public for a number of reasons – he plays for a losing team far from the public eye, is seen as a bit of a disappointment given his previous projected trajectory towards stardom, is a few years removed from that ideal age range for young, up-and-comers, and plays in an era dominated by star-studded point guards. A closer look reveals that he stands Williams’ equal, if not slightly superior, in two key areas – free throw attempts per minute and assist ratio. Though his shot has failed him this season, Harris’ ability to slash and create for his teammates should prove of great value. Add in that his usage rate is considerably lower than that of Williams, even with a far inferior cast in New Jersey, and there’s plenty to be optimistic about. If anything, I expect higher production levels out of Millsap and Jefferson.

Golden State gets: Troy Murphy(notes), 2012 second-round pick
New Jersey gets: Dan Gadzuric(notes), Brandan Wright(notes)

Analysis: This has almost no implications for the Warriors whatsoever. The Warriors will roll with the same five-man frontcourt rotation they have been for most of the season – David Lee(notes), Andris Biedrins(notes), Ekpe Udoh(notes), Vladimir Radmanovic(notes), and Louis Amundson(notes) (who will likelyreturn on Friday). The Nets are expected to buy out Gadzuric, and get a free look at a brittle but talented prospect in Brandan Wright, who never really fit into the Warriors’ system or plans, before deciding whether to extend him a qualifying offer by the June 30 deadline. Troy Murphy is expected to be bought out, and will likely land in Boston, with Miami, Orlando, and possibly New York being the other options. Boston and Miami are the favorites at the moment. The likelihood he makes a major impact with any of those teams is highly unlikely, with an offensive hierarchy already well-established in all four locales. Keep expectations low, and in check, especially considering he hasn’t played organized basketball in some time.

On the Move:

Gerald Wallace(notes), Andre Miller(notes) – All indications had Wallace on his way to Portland in a package involving either Miller, Joel Przybilla(notes), or Marcus Camby(notes), but Adrian Wojnarowski reports that talks are cooling, with Charlotte pulling back because owner Michael Jordan is getting cold feet. Talks to move Wallace to Cleveland are dead, meaning Portland appears to be the only realistic landing spot for the Bobcats forward. The move to Portland should eventually get done by the deadline though, and it would be another hit to the values of Wesley Matthews(notes) and Nicolas Batum(notes), especially with the impending return of Brandon Roy(notes). You can expect Nate McMillan to slide Wallace over tothe 4 for stretches with LaMarcus Aldridge(notes) at the 5, but Batum goes from the starting lineup to a sixth man role, and there’s no way Wes is afforded the volume (13.8 FGA) or minutes (38.6) he has seen over the past two months. This could also be bad news for D.J. Augustin(notes) if it is indeed Miller coming back to Charlotte in this deal. Augustin was able to withstand a push from Shaun Livingston(notes) just recently, but the addition of Miller would be almost insurmountable with a timeshare the most likely outcome. And again, if it is Miller, the Blazers would be left with a gaping hole at point guard, one that Patty Mills(notes) would presumably fill.

In Flux:

Raja Bell(notes), Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap – The Jazz remain very active in the trade market, and are expected to make another move (although minor) to at least get under the luxury tax threshold as they currently stand $4.9 million over the $70.3 million figure. Look for Kirilenko and Millsap to stay put, and for Utah to address their tax concerns in a smaller deal involving Raja Bell (possibly to Minnesota), Ronnie Price(notes), or Earl Watson(notes). The team still wants to remain competitive under Tyrone Corbin and doesn’t believe Favors is ready for big minutes just yet, and rightfully so.

Marcus Camby, Joel Przybilla – The Blazers have been shopping around both big men, and their names were discussed in separate deals involving Gerald Wallace. At one point it was thought that Portland and Charlotte had agreed on a deal that would see Przybilla, a pick, and cash shipped to Charlotte in exchange for Wallace, but that never came into fruition. Both are still on the table and in play, and though it wouldn’t surprise me to see either moved by the deadline, there are indications that both will stay put. Przybilla says he hasn’t heard anything about a trade, and didn’t seem too concerned after speaking to his agent Tuesday night. Camby has made his threats to retire if dealt well known, and that alone should be enough to scare potential suitors away.

Anthony Parker(notes), Courtney Lee(notes), rest of Cavaliers – it’s a bit surprising the Cavs aren’t being more active at the deadline, given that the only real logical thing for them to do at this point is go into fire-sale mode, tear whatever they have left down, and start over. We’ve heard nothing about a possible Antawn Jamison(notes) deal, and are just starting to hear murmurs of a possible Mo Williams(notes) trade. Parker is still very much an option for the Bulls at shooting guard, as is Lee, with Chicago being able to absorb either of their contracts with the cap space created by the James Johnson trade and with the extra first-round pick to make it happen. The Bulls may just end up settling for Parker out of the two, given the Bulls’ reluctance to part with rookie center Omer Asik(notes).

Houston Rockets – there are a lot of potential moving pieces here, with Yao Ming(notes), Shane Battier(notes), Aaron Brooks(notes), Chuck Hayes(notes), Jared Jeffries(notes), and Ishmael Smith(notes). Nothing concrete has emerged though, but Daryl Morey has made it well known that he would like to make a deadline move.

Hasheem Thabeet(notes) – Thabeet has emerged as the most likely candidate to be traded from the Grizzlies, as Memphis looks for a perimeter threat, a veteran small forward, or a big body up front. A number of teams have expressed interest, most notably Utah and Oklahoma City.

Jonny Flynn(notes) – more on why Flynn has been an all-around disappointment here. His poor play, along with health issues, has caused the Wolves to put him on the block. Possible destinations include Utah (for Raja Bell) and Portland (assuming they deal Miller for Wallace).

Staying Put:

Ramon Sessions(notes) – the Hawks were the main suitors for Sessions' services, and that is no longer an option after Atlanta made a move for Kirk Hinrich. There are plenty of reasons to keep Sessions around too – he's young, cheap, and has been their most productive player to-date.

Tayshaun Prince(notes), Tracy McGrady(notes), Richard Hamilton(notes) – Joe Dumars has stated his intention to keep Prince beyond the deadline, and Dumars went as far to say that he wished to re-sign him this for his versatility and leadership. Same goes for Tracy McGrady. And while he has been actively looking to deal away Hamilton, there are understandably no takers out there willing to take on more than $21 million in guaranteed money over the next two seasons.

Samuel Dalembert(notes) – Joe Maloof expressed his desire to re-sign Dalembert this summer just a few weeks ago, and that, combined with Dalembert’s strong play as of late (10.6 rebounds, 8.9 rebounds, 52.8% FG in February), means that all signs point towards him staying in Sacramento.

Monta Ellis(notes), Stephen Curry(notes), Andris Biedrins – Don’t expect any sort of major deadline deal from the Warriors and Joe Lacob. Golden State has shopped Monta around and the response has been far from desirable. There has been much less interest than expected. Curry hasn’t even been discussed yet, and no one is looking to take on Biedrins’ remaining three-year, $27 million contract.

Denver Nuggets – this includes Raymond Felton(notes), Nene Hilario(notes), Al Harrington(notes), and Danilo Gallinari(notes). Felton will meet with Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri on Wednesday night to discuss Felton's role with the club. The team has shown that it's committed to Ty Lawson(notes) long-term, but unless the meetings go poorly and the two parties cannot see eye-to-eye, it's totally feasible that the Nuggets let the current situation play out. Denver plans on inking Nene to an extension soon (somewhere in the 5-year/$50M range), and have stated their desire to hang onto Gallinari. The four years and $28 million left on Harrington's contract likely means he isn't going anywhere soon.

O.J. Mayo(notes), Zach Randolph(notes) – the Grizzlies have made their intentions to keep both players clear. They believe they can agree to an extension with Randolph before this summer, and also believe they won’t receive fair value in return for Mayo.

Steve Nash(notes) – a trade this summer is much more likely if the Suns do decide to trade Nash, and beat writer Paul Coro echoes this notion – “Not sure what the estimate's margin of error is but '0% chance' makes it sound like any Suns trade is doubtful.”

Rudy Fernandez(notes) – While teams are interested in his services, Fernandez’ agent Andy Miller has made it clear that if he is put in a deal, at least the one involving Charlotte, he will ask for a buyout and go back to Spain.

photo via Getty Images

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