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It’s officially the calm before the storm as we’ll witness real regular-season NBA basketball tonight. Before the lovely chaos that will take place between tonight and mid-June, I’ll touch on some contract info that came in the past day or two, as well as opening night statuses for injured players. And, if you’re doing a (very) last minute draft, I’ve included some fantasy tidbits as well.
Not a day goes by where we don’t get a Ben Simmons Saga update, no matter how miniscule. He’s practicing with Philadelphia but his effort level seemed to match his three-point percentage (it even looks like his phone is in his pocket… unreal). It doesn’t look like there are any trade talks that we know of, and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN confirmed that the 76ers have not reached out to the Nets regarding the trade. This is especially applicable given that Simmons and Kyrie Irving have been the MVPs of offseason drama, but they’ll stay put for the time being.
- Mikal Bridges and the Phoenix Suns agreed to a four-year, $90 million extension on Sunday, and there’s a lot to love about the do-all small forward. He doesn’t jump off the page by any means but is as solid as they come in the middle rounds, especially category leagues.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. and the Memphis Grizzlies agreed to a four-year, $105 million contract on Monday. This was a long time coming and he has one of the best ceilings in fantasy hoops, so he looks like a fourth-rounder if he even drops that far.
- Malcolm Brogdon and the Indiana Pacers agreed on a two-year, $45 million extension on Monday. He’s had some issues staying healthy (played in 71.4% of games in the last two years), but could be a great mid-round option when the elite point guards start to run out.
- Landry Shamet and the Phoenix Suns agreed to a four-year, $43 million deal on Monday, and seemingly everyone in Phoenix is sitting pretty. Monty Williams mentioned wanting Shamet to have a significant role, so while his fantasy appeal is mostly driven by three-pointers, he could be a nice pick at the end of your draft to see what happens.
- Kevin Huerter and the Atlanta Hawks agreed to a four-year, $65 million rookie contract extension. The Hawks are stacked offensively which leaves little room for fantasy value for Huerter, but give him a look if you miss out on threes early on.
- Grayson Allen and the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a two-year, $20 million extension. Good for Allen as he’ll play a decent amount especially while Donte DiVincenzo is still getting his ankle right, but he’s not a fantasy target.
- The Wizards extended Daniel Gafford to a three-year, $40.2 million extension. He should start at least until Thomas Bryant is back, but he’s a shot-blocking beast and is a great big to take around pick 100.
Extension Snub: Deandre Ayton
Deandre Ayton is on his own anti-extension list, as he and the Phoenix Suns failed to reach a rookie contract extension. He hasn’t been quiet about wanting this extension either, but the Suns just weren’t ready to commit quite yet. Other guys in his draft class such as Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all signed these deals that Ayton desired, all being around five-year, $172 million deals (some upwards of $200 million when the player makes an All-NBA Team). Ayton will be a restricted free agent when this season is done, and maybe this increases his stock a little bit as he’s likely to be more angry than usual and want to showcase his skills to his 2022-2023 suitors.
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Opening Night Injuries
Brooklyn Nets - They’ll be without Kyrie Irving, of course, but otherwise they’re fully healthy for their opening game against the Bucks.
Los Angeles Lakers - Trevor Ariza (ankle) and Talen Horton-Tucker (thumb) are out for a while, of course, while status of the others with shorter term injuries are as follows: Wayne Ellington (hamstring) is out, Kendrick Nunn (ankle) is questionable and Malik Monk (groin) is probable.
It’s opening night! Don’t forget to set your lineups and get comfy for five or so hours. The Brooklyn Nets will face the Bucks in Milwaukee for an Eastern Conference Finals rematch, and the Golden State Warriors will head to Los Angeles for a Western Conference Play-In rematch against the Lakers. Good luck to all of your fantasy squads this season and may the trash talk and non-stop trade offers begin.