Two real-life NBA trades that could shake up the fantasy basketball landscape
With the NBA trade deadline nine days away, I previously discussed a potential trade scenario I'd like to see in real life that would impact the fantasy basketball landscape. And with so many names floating around NBA circles these days, why not throw out a couple more trades I'd like to go down before next Thursday?
Let's activate the fantasy trade machine.
Mason Plumlee traded from the Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets have some tough decisions to make, with several veteran players headed for free agency this summer if they can't agree on an extension. One of those players is Mason Plumlee. According to Shams Charania, the Hornets are including him and Kelly Oubre as part of trade discussions — which makes sense given their age and the Hornets path toward the lottery.
Plumlee's been a reliable asset for fantasy managers this season, ranking 74th in total value and 112th in per-game value. He's posting career-highs this year in points (12.2), rebounds (9.7), FG percentage (67%) and minutes per game (28.2). He's been one of the biggest surprises in fantasy, but we're nearing the end of that road for him — with Charlotte at least.
The Hornets drafted two centers in the past three seasons: Nick Richards at 42nd in 2020 and Mark Williams at 15th in the 2022 draft. So, unless the Hornets want to re-sign Plumlee to be the expensive veteran of the squad yet again, it's in their best interest to deal him for assets right now.
And truthfully, Plumlee is giving them their best chance at doing so because he's been playing some of the best basketball of his career over the past month, averaging over 16 points with 11 rebounds and 3 assists while shooting 67% from the field.
He's been a top-70 player in that span and is only driving up his asking price for potential suitors. However, the Hornets' asking price might be a tad high, as they expect a first-rounder for the soon-to-be 33-year-old unrestricted free agent. The Mavs and Celtics are two teams that would be compelling fits for the 11-year pro and destinations that wouldn't kill his fantasy value — at least from a rebounding and defensive perspective.
With all these factors in mind, I'm stashing shares of Mark Williams because he's currently second on the Hornets' depth chart behind Plumlee. He's flashed double-double potential along with ranking in the 87th percentile in steals and 89th in blocks, according to Cleaning the Glass.
If he gets more than 20 minutes a night, he could be an excellent addition for fantasy managers down the stretch.
Bones Hyland traded from Denver Nuggets
In one of the more surprising rumors goin' round, the Denver Nuggets have reportedly been gauging Hyland's trade value in the hopes of landing a defensive wing. The odd thing is that Hyland is only in his second NBA season and has largely been a viable backup point guard for the best team in the Western Conference this season.
League sources told NBA insider Mark Stein: "Hyland has also been made available because of concerns about his defensive shortcomings and some recent tensions over playing time." Yeah, Bones takes some bad shots, but in terms of his production relative to his draft class, look at how he stacks up to his peers:
In 2021 NBA draft class, Bones Hyland (pick 26) is:
2nd, total & per game 3-pointers
2nd, 3pt% (min 200 3ptA), 4th, FT%
7th, TS% (min 800 FGA)
8th & 9th, total pts & ast (10th/g in both)
11th, win shares
"Lottery pick w/ huge offensive upside" = Bones' trade value.
— Joel Rush (@JoelRushNBA) January 24, 2023
It won't be easy to pry Hyland away from the Nuggets, but as Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer pointed out, the Nuggets are in a cost crunch with Hyland on a rookie deal for two more seasons and needing to re-up their prized trade acquisition, Bruce Brown.
I've said this 1000x this season, but Michael Malone LOVES Bruce Brown.
And that's precisely why I want to see Bones Hyland traded — to give Bruce Brown more time at point guard, which also opens up more minutes and, seemingly, production.
According to Basketball Reference, Brown's logged 27% of his minutes as a point guard this season and in nine games without Hyland in the lineup this year, Brown's production is very appealing:
13.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.0 threes, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks across 34.8 minutes
From a fantasy perspective, a trade could benefit both players. Hyland ranks outside the top 200 in fantasy despite a 28.4% usage rate off the bench, so if he lands with a team that can offer up more playing time, maybe he becomes more than just an insurance policy or occasional streamer whenever there's an injury to a Nuggets guard.
Hyland has shown glimpses of his potential when taking on a more prominent role, too. In his only start of the season, he dropped 20 points with 11 assists, five rebounds and three triples. Plus, his showmanship is borderline elite in only his second season:
Bones Hyland has a high risk, flashy play style that reminds me so much of Jason Williams (white chocolate)
Anybody else see it with his dime dropping ability? pic.twitter.com/bEi2t5oa9V
— In The Lab (@InTheLabBrand) January 28, 2023
And Bruce Brown, a guy who ranks 95th in per-game value as of Tuesday, could become a top-75 player if he takes over the role currently occupied by Hyland in addition to his versatility as a SG and SF. Any opportunity to get him more floor time is a W for fantasy managers.