As is the case in every professional sports league, the days and hours leading up to a trade deadline are filled with big names, big contracts, big rumors, impractical scenarios and then ultimately disappointment. The Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Hassan Whiteside, Al Horford and Pau Gasol’s of the league were heavily mentioned as possible trade candidates, yet in the end, they all predictably remain where they were.
There are a supreme amount of hurdles that have to be jumped for a true blockbuster deal to occur in the NBA at the trade deadline. Those big name players that are rumored to be on the move everywhere usually come with hefty price tags, expiring contracts or chemistry issues. Sometimes all three. The amount of teams willing to trade their headaches and salary cap problems far out number the amount of teams willing to take them on.
So while there were no exciting big trades to analyze, there were several smaller ones that were completed. The value of the players on the move may not amount to much but their arrival and the impact on the players on their new teams is something to definitely take note of. With that, let’s take a look at the trades that went down this week and how they change the fantasy landscape-
Suns trade PF Markieff Morris to the Wizards for PF Kris Humphries, PF DeJuan Blair and a protected 1st round pick
Markieff Morris began the year as a 7th- or 8th-round draft choice, then quickly fell out of favor in Phoenix finding himself benched (and subsequently dropped in a large amount of fantasy leagues) only to somehow regain his value for a few weeks before quickly killing it by attempting to choke a teammate in the huddle. To say the Suns had to rid themselves of this headache would be an understatement and they needed to find a team desperate enough to take the gamble.
In Washington, the Wizards will hope the change of scenery will be enough for Markieff to get on the right path as they look to make that late season push to a playoff spot. Morris will be surrounded by playmakers with Wall, Beal, Porter, Jr. and Gortat in the starting five, so we can only hope he can regain his recent surge.
In Phoenix, early reports suggest one of Humphries or Blair will be cut, but honestly, the Suns could probably just cut both of them. Jon Leuer is ahead of him on the depth chart but I’d recommend taking a look at Mizra Teletovic for some forward help and 3’s. The Suns could also look to get Len and Chandler on the floor at the same time in the coming days which sounds intriguing.
Magic trade F Tobias Harris to the Pistons for PG Brandon Jennings and F Ersan Ilyasova
After signing a big contract, Harris’ numbers have trended downward, so in a case of buyer’s remorse, the Magic looked to move Harris for more pieces. It doesn’t hurt that Aaron Gordon is up-and-coming and way cheaper over the next few years.
Gordon’s value in Orlando gets a big boost for the rest of the season and his dynasty value skyrockets after this trade. Brandon Jennings leaves one crowded back court for another, leaving his marginal value unchanged. Ersan Ilyasova’s value is likely to take a hit in his new locale but he’ll look to fight for minutes. Harris’ arrival in Detroit will begin slow as he comes off the bench for the first week, but he’s largely expected to take over the power forward role. Playing alongside Andre Drummond should ease the defensive pressure allowing Harris to thrive in an offensive system that Stan Van Gundy is readying for Harris to excel in.
Cavaliers get PF Channing Frye, Magic get to cut F Jared Cunningham and a 2nd, Blazers get to cut C Anderson Varejao and a 1st
Oy. I guess Lebron and the Cavs felt that they had to do something at the deadline and Frye in theory gives them a stretch 4, but in reality, it only gives them Mike Miller-lite – some threes and not much else. As mentioned in the headline, the Blazers will likely cut Varejao as they get a hold of a future first from Cleveland while the Magic will likely cut Cunningham as they look to clear cap space.
Clippers trade F Lance Stephenson and a 1st to Grizzlies for F Jeff Green
For as much flack as Doc Rivers gets, this deal looks like it might be the one to put the Clippers back into the conversation for the Western Conference Finals, as uphill as a battle that seems to be. Lance Stephenson predictably flamed out in L.A. proving that a change of scenery can only do so much. Stephenson finds his way to Memphis, who could use some front court help but not yet another personality clash.
With Matt Barnes and Zach Randolph on the floor, the Grizzlies are knocking on disaster’s door. Stephenson can remain untouched on your waiver wire. Jeff Green will be a free agent after this year which explains Memphis’ desire to move on and with Blake Griffin still out for the coming weeks, Green gives the Clippers offense a much needed boost.
Wesley Johnson has come on in the past month and filled in admirably but once Green is ready to play, Johnson’s fantasy run will be over.
Nuggets trade G Randy Foye to the Thunder for PG DJ Augustin, F Steve Novak and two 2nd’s
The Thunder didn’t really need yet another wing scorer, but that’s what they got in Randy Foye who will battle for minutes with Dion Waiters and a returning Andre Roberson among a host of other similarly skilled players at the 2- and 3-position. For now, we’ll just wait and see if Foye can carve out a role in the near future but I wouldn’t count on it.
With Camerion Payne coming on strong and ready to be Westbrook’s backup, DJ Augustin was sent to the PG-needy Nuggets where he’ll back up rookie Emmanuel Mudiay with Jameer Nelson facing the strong possibility of knee surgery. Augustin will be someone to keep an eye on down the stretch. Hey look, there’s Steve Novak. I forgot about that guy. Let’s keep it that way.
Other trades that happened but should have any effect on your fantasy plans –
The Bulls shipped Kirk Hinrich off to Atlanta
The Jazz got another back up PG getting Shelvin Mack from Atlanta
The Rockets sent Marcus Thornton and Donatas Motiejunas to the Pistons for Joel Anthony and a 1st rounder which was a curious move by the Pistons
The Hornets, Heat and Grizzlies swapped Courtney Lee, PJ Hairston and Brian Roberts. I’d tell you which player ended up where but it doesn’t matter.