Hello and welcome to a special edition of the Daily Dose. Instead of recapping the 11-game Wednesday slate, we’re going to change course in favor of a trade deadline preview. This is the best day of the year for the NBA and it’s not close, and for fantasy managers it can present some opportunities to get a jump on the competition. So let’s get started with a look at the most frequently mentioned names in the rumor mill with some talk on the fantasy fallout and potential stashes.
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Kyle Lowry- It’s becoming blatantly obvious that Lowry’s time with the Raptors is coming to an end. He’ll go down as one of the best players in franchise history, and the front office is apparently willing to work with him to find a deal that suits both sides -- Lowry wants to compete for a championship and the Raptors would much rather deal his expiring contract now as opposed to letting him walk in free agency. His hometown 76ers are considered the favorites, especially if they are willing to include a player like Matisse Thybulle or Tyrese Maxey. Thybulle is one of the best pure sources of defensive stats in the NBA with 2.9 steals and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes, so he’s someone to throw on your watch list in category leagues. As for Maxey, he’s also someone to monitor closely as he’s been underutilized in Philly and could potentially step into a featured role on the Raptors -- in six fill-in starts for Philly, Maxey averaged 16.2 points, 3.5 dimes, 3.7 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.8 triples.
Miami is actually Lowry’s preferred destination because of his relationship with Jimmy Butler, but their offers have so far been underwhelming and has included names such as Goran Dragic, Kelly Olynyk, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and Avery Bradley. Yikes. Unless the Heat are putting Tyler Herro on the block, and all signs point to them not doing so, then the 76ers are in the driver's seat. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi did say that the Lakers may get involved, but Lowry’s salary makes it complicated -- the Lakers would have to include two out of three of Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell, and that wouldn’t make sense for Toronto. Plus, how much help does Jared Dudley need!?
Norman Powell- With Lowry surely heading out the door, Powell could soon follow and will have a much larger market than the veteran. In fact, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi said there’s at least a “dozen” suitors for Powell. It’s easy to see why, as he’s having a career year with 19.6 points and 2.8 triples on 49.5% shooting. Powell will opt out of his player option for 2021-22 and could command around $20M per season in free agency, so the Raptors may move him now to maintain flexibility instead of going all in on a core of Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Powell according to Woj.
If the Raptors do end up unloading both Lowry and Powell, keep a close eye on do-it-all forward DeAndre’ Bembry and rookie PG Malachi Flynn. Flynn recently lit up the G League for 20.8 points, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.0 triples, and it helps his case that the franchise appears to have soured on Terence Davis.
Aaron Gordon- Gordon requested a trade to the front office, but later said he did that out of frustration and has been having second thoughts. The trade market is strong for the forward though, and with Orlando spiraling towards the bottom of the standings and Jonathan Isaac back next season, a move seems very likely. The Celtics are considered the frontrunners and are “very serious” in their pursuit, while the Rockets, Nuggets and Blazers are also in the mix. The Wolves are still interested too, but don’t want to give up the promising Jaden McDaniels to do so and I wouldn’t either. The young player to watch in Orlando that could benefit from a Gordon trade is Chuma Okeke. He’s been mostly underwhelming, but keep in mind that he’s still playing his way into shape/rhythm after sitting out his entire rookie season. Okeke was a monster in the NCAA and looked good on Wednesday night with 17 points and four triples.
Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross- With the Magic expected to be sellers at the deadline, Fournier and Ross are both said to be available. That could be why Orlando has been so cautious with their recent injuries. Fournier is on an expiring contract which makes him a second half rental, while Ross has more value on the market since he’s under contract through 2022-23 at an average of $12M per season. The Clippers, Nuggets, Mavericks and Celtics are the most frequently mentioned teams in pursuit of Fournier, while Ross’ most likely destination is Charlotte and Denver. If the Magic can get some young talent in return for either, they would almost certainly be on the fantasy radar immediately for the second half tank.
Nikola Vucevic- Unlike Gordon, Ross and Fournier, the Magic are holding onto Vucevic for dear life as they’d like to reload around him, Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz and a top 2021 rookie for next season. ESPN’s Zach Lowe said a Vucevic trade is “very unlikely,” but that hasn’t stopped teams such as the Celtics from at least kicking the tires. In the unlikely event of a Vucevic trade, I’d be running to the wire to grab Mo Bamba who has some truly elite per-minute upside, but also some serious red flags in regards to his conditioning and durability.
Victor Oladipo- He was out for “personal reasons” on Wednesday night that were legitimate and not related to the deadline, but to be clear, he’s considered a near lock to be moved with Woj reporting that Houston is engaged on multiple fronts for a deal. It sounds like the Rockets will have to settle for an underwhelming offer since his value has plummeted around the NBA, and some teams may be looking at him solely as a second half rental before his free agency (he is apparently determined to play in Miami). The Heat and Knicks are the favorites, but both are “reluctant to offer substantial packages.”
As for the fantasy fallout, this means Kevin Porter Jr. has the potential to be a fantasy league winner as the No. 2 option on offense, and while Danuel House may or not be moved as well, I’d be looking to add KJ Martin Jr. in some spots. In the last two weeks, we’ve already seen a glimpse of his upside with 8th round value in 26 minutes with 10.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.2 blocks and 1.7 triples.
Lonzo Ball- For a while there it looked like the Pelicans had reversed course on the Lonzo front when his play elevated over the last several weeks, but not so fast. Woj said there’s a “pretty good chance” that Lonzo will be moved, while Chris Mannix of SI.com was a lot more aggressive with his reporting, saying that Ball isn’t in New Orleans’ long-term plans and is likely to be dealt this week. The Clippers are rumored to be interested but don’t have the assets to pull off a deal, but the Bulls and Hawks are reportedly the favorites -- Atlanta apparently sees him as a good fit next to Trae Young, and the Bulls have been in the market for more playmaking. That’s why Tomas Satoransky recently replaced Coby White in the first unit.
Eric Bledsoe could also be on the way out of New Orleans, setting up Nickeil Alexander-Walker as perhaps the best trade deadline stash out there. NAW has impressed in his last two games with 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 dimes, 1.0 steals and 3.0 triples, a sample of what we may be able to expect down the stretch. Kira Lewis is also worth monitoring, but is more of a deep-league stash at the moment. Kira is still beyond raw, but I love his long-term upside and it’s easy to see why the Pelicans are willing to move on from Lonzo. He has a per-36 line of 14.6 points, 5.1 dimes, 1.8 steals and 1.7 triples, so I could see him making some noise at some point this season. Lastly, if the Pelicans can find a way out of Steven Adams’ deal and I don’t think they will, Jaxson Hayes would become an immediate top-100 option and that’s being conservative.
Lauri Markkanen- The writing was on the wall when the Bulls and Lauri were unable to agree to an extension in the offseason. It was presumed that Thaddeus Young was going to be the most likely to be moved from Chicago, but that has changed in recent weeks with the noise getting louder around Lauri. Shams Charania reports that the Bulls are listening to inquiries, but his injury history and inconsistent play has dampened his market value. The Bulls are still in the mix for the 8th seed, so instead of dumping Lauri for youth and/or picks, most reports indicate that Chicago will be looking for help now so there’s no reason to stash a guy like Daniel Gafford.
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Al Horford and George Hill- Hill has been linked to seemingly every contender in the NBA, as he’s owed a non-guaranteed $10M for next season and would improve any bench immediately with his perimeter shooting, defense and ball-handling. I can’t imagine him becoming a fantasy pickup though.
As for Horford, his contract was thought to be “immovable” before the season, but he has rebuilt his market value and has drawn some interest from around the league. A trade is only going to help his value to avoid the DNPs in OKC and shut-down risk, so I like him as a buy-low player if you can squeeze in a fantasy trade before the deadline. Moses Brown should already be rostered everywhere with a clear runway to top-75 numbers regardless of what happens to Horford, Aleksej Pokusevski is a second half breakout candidate and should also be rostered everywhere, while Isaiah Roby is only rostered in 10% of leagues but has proven that he can be a top-100 player if he gets 25+ minutes. In the last couple weeks, Roby put up 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 dimes, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks and 0.4 triples in 28 minutes.
John Collins- Perhaps the most talked about trade candidate of the season, the noise around Collins has died down considerably. Collins recently expressed his desire to remain on the Hawks for the long term, and with Atlanta having so much success on the court it appears he will stay past the deadline and work out his future with the team in restricted free agency this summer. Woj was adamant about this on his latest deadline show, saying with confidence that Collins isn’t going anywhere.
Bradley Beal- Just like Collins, Beal trade rumors were all the rage a few months ago but things have been whisper quiet lately. Could a team like the Nuggets or Miami come out of nowhere with a blockbuster offer? It’s not impossible, but all signs point to the Wizards holding him through the deadline. Beal recently spoke glowingly about GM Tommy Sheppard, noting that he always includes him in the decision making of the franchise. Despite this being another lost season, Beal is apparently ok with sticking around and wasting another year of his prime as the rebuild continues. You have to give it to him, his loyalty is not something we see much of these days.
Andre Drummond- There has been little to no activity on the trade front for Drummond as teams are just praying he agrees to a buyout. The Lakers and Nets are the favorites if that happens with the Mavericks close behind, but the Knicks are the one team that could swoop in and offer him a lot more money than those three. I can already hear Mitchell Robinson’s fantasy managers groaning...
The Lakers would be the most ideal spot for fantasy value, with Woj reporting that he’d immediately start for the team. Brooklyn doesn’t make much sense unless he’s coming to take DeAndre Jordan’s minutes, as Nicolas Claxton is emerging as a rising star and needs minutes. JaVale McGee is the other Cavalier worth monitoring, but he’s a lot of teams’ plan B or C with the market waiting to see what happens with Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Harrison Barnes- He's been the most mentioned name on the Kings in the rumor mill, but Richaun Holmes has passed him in the last week in that regard. However, it appears that the Kings may be buyers at the deadline, and their midnight trade to acquire Delon Wright was a pretty good tell. Expect both Barnes and Holmes to stay put, and that's great news for their fantasy value.
LaMarcus Aldridge- Speaking of Aldridge, multiple reports have linked him to Boston and Miami, with the Heat holding the slight edge. Woj noted that Aldridge has a good relationship with Pat Riley, and they would plug him in as a starter right away alongside Bam Adebayo. Both teams are waiting for a buyout though, so we may not see any action for Aldridge at the deadline.
Gorgui Dieng- Last but not least, Dieng is completely off the fantasy radar for most managers, but I’ll go ahead and warn you now that he should absolutely be on your watch list. Dieng has a strong fantasy resume in years past, and his expiring contract is considered likely to be moved at the deadline. If he can land a role with minutes in the 20s, he’ll immediately become a mid-round fantasy option as a stretch five with good efficiency and good defensive numbers.