For the first time in several years, there’s no one NBA superstar holding his franchise hostage with a "should I stay or should I go" trade deadline routine. We’re not waiting for a decision from a LeBron James-caliber free agent. (Is there such a thing?) We won’t have a Carmelo Anthony forcing a blockbuster trade. It’s possible that Dwight Howard – who has more trouble making decisions than anyone since Hamlet – could shake things up by telling the world that he won’t re-sign with the Lakers this summer, but for now, it appears he’s staying put.
The players that are generating trade buzz currently are several tiers below those guys in terms of star power, name recognition, q-rating, and whatnot. But if they’re traded it could have much bigger implications for fantasy leagues.
The most intriguing trade possibility these days might be Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe. The third-year guard out of Kentucky has played well when given an opportunity – well enough to reportedly convince several teams he should be starting – but with Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups in town, he’s limited to spot duty. Of course, that assumes both Paul and Billups stay healthy, and right now, CP3 is not. Bledsoe has started the Clippers’ last three games and posted impressive numbers in his first two starts before having an off shooting night Thursday. That could enhance his value on the trade market … or make him too valuable to the Clippers to give up.
Bledsoe is available in about 81 percent of Yahoo! leagues – though that number will drop if Paul misses significant time. If I have an available roster spot, I’m grabbing Bledsoe. He’s got big upside if one of the Clippers’ guards is injured or if he gets traded.
Smith has reportedly drawn interest from the Clippers, Knicks, Lakers, Bulls and Thunder. A decision could come soon; his team was just eliminated from playoff contention.
Wilson Chandler has suggested that he intends to sign with Denver when freed from his obligations in the Chinese league. Aaron Brooks’ status is less certain; his likeliest destination is still Phoenix, but the Suns are deep at the point and owner Robert Sarver has a reputation for being cost-conscious. Or cheap – whichever you prefer.
Just posted to Rotowire – this week’s fantasy NBA waiver recommendations. To the surprise of no one, I led with Jeremy Lin:
Now, I don’t want to be accused of irrational Knick-fan exuberance here… the “MVP” chants at Madison Square Garden last night were a little much. And I don’t think Lin compares with other top point guards in terms of talent alone. But he’s got a quick first step, excels in the pick-and-roll game, and is very good at finding teammates cutting to the basket. That makes him an excellent fit for Mike D’Antoni’s offense. And as a bonus, he’s better-than-advertised on the defensive end.Lin is a must-add in just about any fantasy format, but you’ll have to act fast. He’s taken in 46 percent of Yahoo leagues and 48 percent in ESPN/NBA – but he was close to zero before the weekend.
Interesting, that. Perhaps the Clippers, made giddy by their recent successes in the trade and free-agent markets, have forgotten how player acquisition works in the NBA.
After signing K-Mart, the Clippers’ payroll stands at $64,421,613 – according to the records meticulously maintained by Mark Deeks at ShamSports.com. That figure exceeds this season’s salary cap by six-and-change million. That means the best they’ll be able to offer Smith is a veteran’s minimum contract – roughly $850,000 – similar to what the Knicks are paying Baron Davis and Mike Bibby.