February 05, 2010
News of the day and a look at some of the most popular of the current NBA trade rumors.
• Joakim Noah(notes) has been shut down "at least" through the All-Star break in the hope that he can turn the tide in what has become a losing battle with plantar fasciitis. It's a big loss for the Bulls and fantasy owners, but he clearly was starting to feel the affects. While it's wise to take advantage of the schedule and get Noah some extended rest, having the next 11 days off provides no guarantees. Here's a quote from Vinny Del Negro:
"If you shut him down for two or three weeks, that doesn't guarantee it's going to go away. That's not how it works. It takes a while to get rid of. You just have to battle through it, get your therapy, wear your orthotics and let the trainers do their work."
Brad Miller(notes) will get the starts for the next four games, and what makes him particularly interesting these days is that he's suddenly shooting more threes. Over the past six games, he's made eight of 19 attempts from long range (42%) and averaged 12.3 points, 1.3 threes, 4 boards, 0.8 steals, and 0.5 blocks in 26 minutes. Another reason to consider Miller as a roster add - the Bulls' first three games after the break involve a back-to-back with New York and a visit to Minnesota [ease rankings].
Tyrus Thomas(notes) should also see more opportunities in the games to come - in 20 games since returning from injury, he's averaged 8.8 points on 46-percent shooting, 6.6 boards, 1.4 steals, and 1.8 blocks in 24 minutes per game. You'd hope for more offense at this point, but those defensive numbers are big-time, and he'll either be playing for a bigger rotation spot moving forward or auditioning for another team. Taj Gibson(notes) (16 minutes, 0 points Wednesday) is also dealing with plantar fasciitis, but he's not (yet) at a point where they've discussed shutting him down.
• Phil Jackson said that it "occurred" to him during Kobe Bryant's(notes) five-point effort Wednesday that it might be prudent to give him some down time to help him deal with a broken finger, strained elbow, back spasms, and sprained ankle. That's why he gets paid the big bucks, people. Bryant will be in the lineup Friday - he wants to see "what it's going to be like" according to Jackson - but fantasy owners should not be surprised if Kobe does eventually end up with a DNP or two. If they don't come soon, his deteriorating physical condition could force the issue down the line.
• The Hornets' official timetable for Chris Paul's(notes) recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery is four to six weeks. He'll be on crutches for two to three weeks, and how quickly he loses the crutches should help determine on which end of the overall timetable proves to be more accurate. If Paul is back in four weeks, it would be roughly 10 days before the start of the h2h playoffs ... Marcus Thornton(notes) (back) will not play Friday but isn't expected to miss extensive time because of his injury.
• Fantasy owners will want to pay attention to A.J. Price's(notes) performance over the next two games, while he fills in for Earl Watson(notes) as the starter. Watson has been serviceable for the Pacers and they like his professionalism, but this serves an opportunity for them to get a closer look at Price [per-36 comparison]. An injury limited him in his final year in college, but he projects fairly well otherwise and we know he can hit the three (35% thus far). It's not out of the realm of possibility that Price supplants Watson at some point down the line, and this certainly will qualify as his first audition. T.J. Ford(notes) will also see run for the first time in over a month, but the Pacers have been satisfied with their decision to remove him from the rotation thus far.
• Mike Dunleavy has stepped aside as the Clippers' head coach. He'll concentrate on his duties as GM, while long-time assistant Kim Hughes will take over as interim coach. One adjustment Hughes said he'll make is to have the Clips push the tempo and play more to the strengths of Baron Davis(notes) - the team currently rests just below the league average in pace.
• Status updates: Paul Pierce(notes) (foot) said he could play if it were a playoff game, but he's currently targeting Sunday's matchup with the Magic for his return ... Carmelo Anthony(notes) (ankle) is out, currently targeting Tuesday ... Brandon Roy(notes) (hamstring) will practice Friday and could play Saturday, depending on how his body reacts to the workout ... Delonte West(notes) (finger) scrimmaged Friday but remains day-to-day for the Cavs.
• And now for some players and teams making trade rumor headlines:
Amar'e Stoudemire(notes): The latest news is that Amar'e may decide to opt in for the final year of his contract, after all. This move is seen as Stoudemire's way of exerting some control over what has become a very convoluted situation, whether he actually wants to stay in Phoenix or not. The list of willing suitors shrinks in a scenario where he's owed ~$18 million next season. The latest rumor is a potential deal with the 76ers. If Amar'e were to be traded, you have to like the chances that Channing Frye's(notes) fantasy impact gets a boost, but any deal is also likely include a big coming back. In general, things can't get much better for Stoudemire's fantasy fortunes than playing in Phoenix, so I'd anticipate a downgrade if he is moved.
Tracy McGrady(notes): I've been under the assumption since the Rockets told T-Mac to go away that he'd remain a Rocket through the deadline, be bought out, and then sign somewhere as a free agent. Keep in mind that $23 million of new-found cap room is as useful to the Rockets as anyone else, so they aren't going to deal him unless a trade is a no-brainer that nets them some actual talent.
Carlos Boozer(notes): Why I don't see Boozer going anywhere: he's played well, the team has played well, and his expiring contract is as useful to Utah as anyone else. His going away at the end of the season wouldn't be Utah getting "nothing" in return, as treating him like a rent-a-player would open the starting spot for Paul Millsap(notes) next season and clear $12 million in cap space.
Josh Howard(notes): Howard is in play, but what is the deal that makes sense? And, at age 29, are we still sitting here waiting for Howard to "break out"? He is what he is, and would be just that anywhere other than Dallas, too.
Kirk Hinrich(notes): The Bulls really want to move Hinrich because he's owed $17 million over the next two seasons, and rumors have linked him to Portland, Boston, and the Lakers. He'd likely play solid minutes no matter where he ended up, and his current ownership level of 53 percent needs to come up, regardless. A Hinrich deal could push John Salmons(notes) back into the starting five, although Salmons is on the market, as well. Is Tyrus Thomas?
Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cavs appear to be fixated on acquiring either Antawn Jamison(notes) or Troy Murphy(notes), either of which would help them stretch the floor on offense and be solid on the defensive glass. There would be a bit less usage available on the Cavs for either player, but it shouldn't be a serious downgrade in either case. The Cavs' movable pieces would likely include Zydrunas Ilgauskas(notes), J.J. Hickson(notes), and draft picks.
New York Knicks: The Knicks still have grand plans for the coming off-season, and have big expiring contracts in the form of Larry Hughes(notes), Al Harrington(notes), and Darko Milicic(notes). But it's hard to see anyone (else) wanting to pay Eddy Curry(notes) $11 million or Jared Jeffries(notes) $7 million next season because an expiring contract was also included in a deal (like Nate Robinson's).(notes) Factor in that the Knicks only want expiring contracts back themselves, and it seems unlikely that another team is going to step in and do the Knicks any favors.
Portland Trail Blazers: Juwan Howard(notes) has been serviceable, but this team is still in the playoff mix and needs a truer center if they have any aspirations beyond Round 1. Brendan Haywood(notes) and Brad Miller are the obvious options - vets with expiring deals - but with Andre Miller(notes) likely to be the most movable piece, a third team in need of a point guard may need to get involved to get something done. A potential trade could also serve to ease the logjam coming together at small forward.
Washington Wizards: Caron Butler(notes), Antawn Jamison, and Brendan Haywood appear to be in play, and Mike Miller(notes) and Mike James(notes) represent expiring contracts. Andray Blatche(notes) and JaVale McGee(notes) would benefit from playing time coming available at the four/five, so add them to your Watch List as we move closer to the deadline.
Photos via Getty Images