In what could have been a much more significant news story, details have emerged that LeBron James was cited for driving 101 mph on a Cleveland interstate highway in the wee hours of his 23rd birthday, December 30. Thank goodness that he wasn't drinking and/or lost control of his vehicle at that speed (it can be icy in Cleveland in late December), or we'd all have a lot more to ponder than whether or not he'll be able to maintain his current 29/7/7 averages. James wasn't overly concerned about the incident, as he's got a lot of money to cover the cost of tickets and probably has a number of vehicles that hit the century mark without much effort. When asked if he'd drive at that speed in the future, he said, "Maybe at times. It's not a big deal to me." He then added a bit of a conflicting statement, saying, "You've just got to abide by the rules – that's all." To all you kids out there – do as LBJ says, not as he does.
WEEKEND UPDATE: Need-to-know info from the past few days
• Andrew Bynum, one of the biggest stories of the NBA and fantasy season, is expected to miss a minimum of two months after suffering a dislocation of his left kneecap on Sunday night. He was injured when he landed on Lamar Odom's foot after the two were battling for the same defensive rebound. The injury is devastating news to the Lakers and to Bynum's fantasy owners – the 20-year-old averaged 16.4 points on 70 percent shooting, 10.4 boards, and 2.4 blocks over the past 14 games, making him the 13th-ranked player in the Yahoo! game for that stretch. The timeline for his recovery means he'll be activated with around five weeks and 17 games remaining in the Lakers' season, at best, making him droppable in most team situations at this point. Even if the Lakers want him back on the court before the regular season ends, it'd be to get back up to speed for a potential playoff push, and not to test his limits in the regular season's final games. And there's no way they will/should sacrifice any part of his future for a few weeks of the current season. If you've got the bench spot available, then you can afford to hold off on a roster decision in the event of some improbably good news, but otherwise you should feel free to move on, with my condolences. Kwame Brown will start at C moving forward, with the usual mixed results.
• Chris Webber told Sacramento's News10 on Sunday that he's very close to signing with a team and returning to the court. "I'll be back in two weeks playing basketball," said Webber. While he added that he has narrowed his choices to three teams, he declined to name those teams and said he has yet to actually make a decision. In 61 games for the 76ers and Pistons last season, C-Webb averaged 11.2 points on 45 percent shooting, 7.2 boards, 3.1 assists, and 1 block in 30 minutes per game. Before you go rushing to your league's waiver wire with the intentions of adding the 34-year-old, keep in mind that he can't be added to the Yahoo! player pool until he actually does sign a contract.
• Nene Hilario has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Nuggets to deal with an unspecified personal medical issue. Details remain vague at this point, but the situation should be updated in fairly short order. "I think in the next few days we'll have more information," said Nuggets coach George Karl. According to The Rocky Mountain News, Nene's mother reportedly told a radio station in Brazil that he is set to have surgery on Tuesday in Denver. Wild speculation won't accomplish anything, so fantasy owners should simply keep Nene in their thoughts and hope for the best, but brace for the worst.
Other injury updates: Josh Howard was not in the lineup on Saturday due to personal reasons, but he is expected to be back in the lineup on Monday, according to The Dallas Morning News … Ron Artest was originally supposed to miss up to a month after his January 2 surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow, but he's already speculating that his return "should be very, very, very soon." Teammate Mike Bibby (thumb) is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday … According to the Houston Chronicle, Tracy McGrady (knee) will miss Tuesday's game but has his sights set on returning on Saturday … Raymond Felton (ankle) and Jeff McInnis (quad) are both expected to be back in the lineup on Monday, according to the Associated Press, after missing the Bobcats' Saturday game … Chris Wilcox (finger) was a full participant in practice on Sunday and will be back in the lineup on Monday, according to The News Tribune … Shaquille O'Neal (hip) was back in practice on Sunday and, barring any setbacks, is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday, according to The Miami Herald … Rajon Rondo missed Saturday's game with a bruised back and is "probably doubtful" for Monday's game, according to Celtics coach Doc Rivers, "But we'll see."
Lineup changes/position battles: Boris Diaw has started the past three games at SF for the Suns, in place of Grant Hill, averaging 11.3 points, 6.3 boards, and 4.3 assists in 38 minutes. He's probably in for another 8-10 starts while Hill recovers from his appendectomy … Tim Thomas was back in the starting lineup for the Clippers on Saturday, replacing rookie Al Thornton, who has averaged 12.7 points and 5.4 boards in his seven starts … Fred Jones replaced the injured Stephon Marbury at PG for the Knicks on Sunday, and could be looking at more starts in the near future, given the bizarre and developing circumstances surrounding Marbury. Jones is a significantly worse choice for starts than Nate Robinson from a fantasy perspective … Kyle Lowry has seen significantly fewer minutes since Mike Conley took over at PG for the Grizzlies. Lowry averaged 26 minutes per game in December, but that average has fallen to 17 minutes in January … Kareem Rush has started the past three games at SG in a small Pacers lineup, averaging 10 points, 1.7 threes, and 1 steal in 29 minutes per game. He'll be back to the bench in short order if he doesn't improve on the 31 percent shooting during those games, however.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
Ryan Gomes (F – Minnesota)
Gomes has solidified his role with the T-Wolves and has emerged as one of those underrated solid-but-unspectacular types that really do help you win fantasy leagues. Over the past 12 games, he's averaged 14.8 points on 47 percent shooting, 0.8 threes, 7.3 boards, and 0.8 steals in 34 minutes per game, while making 87 percent of his free throws.
Antonio Daniels (PG – Washington)
Daniels will continue to appear here as long as his percentage-owned number remains below 50 percent. In six games since returning from his knee injury, Daniels has averaged 11.7 points on 61 percent shooting, 5.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 35 minutes, while making 81 percent of his free throws.
Nate Robinson (G – New York)
The current state of upheaval surrounding the Knicks (more specifically, Stephon Marbury) hasn't exactly been hurting Robinson's fantasy impact, even if Isiah Thomas refuses to give him a starting gig. Over the past 11 games, he's averaged 17.2 points on 49 percent shooting, 2.3 threes, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 31 minutes per game.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
Pau Gasol (FC – Memphis) – The switch at PG in Memphis has coincided with a spike in Gasol's production. In seven games since Mike Conley took the reigns, the seven-foot Spaniard has averaged 24.4 points on 52 percent shooting, 11.3 boards, and 1.9 blocks in 41 minutes per game.
Anthony Parker (GF – Toronto) – Parker is in the midst of his most productive stretch of the season, averaging 17.7 points on 53 percent shooting, 2.7 threes, 4.3 boards, 3.7 assists, and 1.3 steals in 39 minutes over the past six games.
Josh Boone (FC – New Jersey) – Boone's numbers are stating to resemble those of a solid fantasy C2. Over the past six games, he has averaged 10.7 points on 53 percent shooting, 9.2 rebounds, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks in 29 minutes per game. The drawback is that he's also made just 37 percent of his free throws during those games, which is actually an improvement on his 31 percent shooting from the stripe on the season.
Nazr Mohammed (FC – Charlotte) Perhaps Nazr can carve out a niche for himself off of the Bobcats' bench, after all. Over the past five games, he has averaged 16.8 points on 60 percent shooting, 10.8 boards, and 1 block in 26 minutes per game.
Charlie Bell (GF – Milwaukee) – It's taken a while, but Bell's game (and more specifically, his offense) is finally starting to come around. Over the past seven games, he's averaged 13.9 points on 50 percent shooting, 1.9 threes, 3.9 boards, and 3.6 assists in 29 minutes per game.
Anthony Carter (PG – Denver) – Chucky Atkins' recent hernia surgery (which will sideline him for about two months) and Carter's recent play (he's averaged 10.8 points on 50 percent shooting, 0.8 threes, 8.8 assists, and 1.6 steals over the past five games) have upped the veteran's fantasy relevance significantly.
Maurice Evans (GF – Orlando) – Evans appears to have taken the starting SG spot away Keith Bogans and has averaged 13 points, 1.3 threes, 3.3 boards, and 1.3 steals in 33 minutes over the past three games.
Ray Allen (SG – Boston) – Allen is struggling immensely. Over his past nine games, he's averaged 13 points on 38 percent shooting, 1.9 threes, 3.2 boards, 2.2 assists, and 0.9 steals in 36 minutes per game. Perhaps it's due to the pinched nerve in his neck, but his woes aren't a new development – his numbers are down significantly in nearly every statistical category, and he's shooting just 39 percent over the past 28 games.
Quentin Richardson (GF – New York) – Richardson has been all but removed from the Knicks rotation in recent weeks. He's averaged just 1.9 points on 19 percent shooting in 16 minutes per game over the past seven games.
Rajon Rondo (PG – Boston) – Allen isn't the only Celtic whose fantasy impact has taken a decided downturn. Over his past seven games, Rondo has averaged 6.4 points on 35 percent shooting, 3.7 assists, and 0.9 steals in 29 minutes per game, while making 39 percent of his free throws, and he's missed time due to injury.
Antonio McDyess (PF – Detroit) – McDyess is another veteran wallowing in an extended offensive slump. He's averaged just 7.7 points on 40 percent shooting over his past 10 games.
Yahoo! Friends and Family League Update
The top four teams remain unchanged for yet another week. I'm hoping that the return of Kevin Martin will help boost my team's major deficiencies (3PTM, PTS, and STL) and I can challenge for the top spot, but I'll probably also need Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady back for that to actually happen. This week's transactions included DeShawn Stevenson, Morris Peterson, Tim Thomas, Delonte West, Marko Jaric, Kyle Lowry, and Kris Humphries, among others.