There was a lot of talk leading up to Thursday’s NBA trade deadline that Lou Williams, DeAndre Jordan and Tyreke Evans could all possibly be on the move. If I told you none of them would end up being traded, you’d probably think it was a quiet day, right? Well, while all three are staying put with their respective teams, it was still one of the wilder deadlines in recent memory.
Now that the dust has settled and all trades are complete, let’s take a look at some of the biggest fantasy basketball winners and losers for rest of this season.
De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
The Kings made a three-team trade that ultimately ended up with George Hill joining the Cavaliers. The Kings had already stated they were moving toward giving their young players more minutes, but this really opens up significant playing time for Fox. He’s played at least 30 minutes in 14 games this season, averaging 15.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.4 steals per contest. If he is somehow still available in your league, rush to pick him up now.
Larry Nance Jr., Cleveland Cavaliers
In the first stunning move of the day made by the Cavaliers, they completed a trade that sent Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye and a first-round pick to the Lakers for Nance and Jordan Clarkson. The Cavaliers are lacking depth up front with Kevin Love (hand) out, which should immediately open up a significant opportunity for Nance. He was stuck in a frontcourt log jam with the Lakers, sharing minutes with Julius Randle, Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma. Nance won’t provide many three-pointers and he is not a good free-throw shooter, but he could approach a double-double on a nightly basis while providing plenty of steals in his new role with the Cavaliers.
Tyreke Evans, Memphis Grizzlies
Evans seemed like one of the sure bets to be traded. The Grizzlies are terrible, they held him out as they worked on multiple offers, and he’s a free agent after the season. Despite all that, they deemed all the offers they received unacceptable, and may now shift their focus to resigning him for next season. Evans is in the midst of an excellent season, posting a career-high 28.4% usage rate. INow he doesn’t have to worry about fitting in a new team where his role could change dramatically, which is great news for his fantasy owners.
George Hill, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers desperately needed help at point guard as the duo of Thomas and Derrick Rose was atrocious defensively. Enter Hill, who is averaging 0.9 steals despite only playing 27 minutes per game this season. He had averaged at least one steal in five-straight seasons heading into this year, so this is a genuine part of his skill set. Hill is more than just a good defender, too, shooting a career-high 45.3% from behind the arc this season. He should become the team’s starting point guard and will be a great fit with LeBron James. While his overall scoring numbers won’t be off the charts, this trade certainly gives him a boost in value, as opposed to sitting on the bench during the Kings’ youth movement.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
In the weeks leading up to the deadline, the Lakers were reportedly looking to trade Randle, but it was Nance who ended up with a new home. That should free up more playing time for Randle. He’s been excellent lately, averaging 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his last eight games. With a more secure role in hand, Randle should be extremely valuable down the stretch.
D.J. Augustin, Orlando Magic
The Magic made an odd trade, sending Elfrid Payton to the Suns for just a second-round pick. Payton will be a free agent this summer, but that seems like an awfully low return for a young point guard who is averaging 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game this season. With Payton now out of the picture, Augustin will take over as the starting point guard for the Magic. He’s provided value when given extended playing time this season, averaging 10.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.6 three-pointers in 24 games that he has played at least 20 minutes. If you are looking for help at point guard, Augustin has upside.
Jordan Clarkson, Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers went from being thin at guard to adding Clarkson, Hill and Rodney Hood all in one day. Clarkson is an offensive spark plug, averaging 14.5 points and 1.3 three-pointers per game this season. However, he enjoyed a team-leading 27.5% usage rate with the Lakers. That’s not going to be the case with the Cavaliers. Hood and Hill will get up their shots, as well, and then there’s the issue of that LeBron guy doing his thing. Clarkson is in a better spot in real life, but a much worse spot for fantasy purposes.
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks are one of the worst teams in the league and were looking to be sellers at the deadline, but couldn’t pull the trigger on any significant moves to free up playing time for their young players. That’s bad news for Collins, who still has to share frontcourt minutes with Ersan Ilyasova, Miles Plumlee, Dewayne Dedmon and Mike Muscala. The Hawks could eventually buy out one of their veterans, but it doesn’t look like Collins will be getting more run in the immediate future.
Andrew Harrison, Memphis Grizzlies
During Tyreke Evans’s trade-value-influenced benching, Harrison took on an expanded role. He cashed in his opportunity, averaging 14.3 points, 4.9 assists and 1.1 three-pointers in the seven games Evans sat. With Evans now back in the picture, Harrison will likely be relegated back to his former role, in which he didn’t provide much fantasy value.
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns
The Suns have been experimenting with Devin Booker playing point guard, leaving Jackson as the team’s starting shooting guard. That is likely over now with Payton in the fold, which should move Booker back to shooting guard and Jackson back to the bench. Jackson was averaging 31 minutes per game in four starts in February, but his playing time should decrease as a likely member of the second unit.