- John Cregan, Fantasy Basketball
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The night began with the heavy, heady promise of frenzied player movement. It ended pretty much as it started, leaving us with just the few trades that had taken place over the past few days (and a rumored Lamar Odom-for-Mo Williams swap).
Despite the lack of activity, several players on the fantasy radar exchanged jerseys in recent days. Let's examine the wheeling and dealing in chronological order.
Houston Rockets trade Chase Budinger (and draft rights to Lior Eliyau) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 18th pick (used to select Terrence Jones)
This could hold some fantasy intrigue, as Budinger might challenge for a leading role at shooting guard. With the lack of competition at the two, there are probably a good 20-28 minutes just waiting to be carved out by the right player.
Budinger averaged a solid 9.6 points per game in just 22.6 minutes this past season. He posted a starter-worthy 1.3 3-pointers per game while shooting 40 percent from behind the arc. He also finished the season on a mini-tear, going for 14, 22, 11, 5 and 27 points over his final five games.
As for Houston, Chandler Parsons just saw his main competition for minutes at small forward get on a plane for Minneapolis. Parsons became a second-half fantasy success story this season and should be in line for an expanded role in 2012-13. More minutes spells "dinner" for his owners, as Parsons offers one of the more diverse statistical portfolios in the NBA.
Parsons' only drawback? His upcoming inclusion on every sleeper list on every fantasy website in the known universe.
Houston also drafted two forwards (Royce White and Terrence Jones) who should figure in the frontcourt picture somewhere. I'd also figure on some more moves by Houston GM Daryl Morey, who has about six power forwards and one true center (the Methuselahian Marcus Camby) on his roster.
The Detroit Pistons trade Ben Gordon and a future first-round pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for Corey Maggette
This trade could be a career-boosting godsend for the still-effective Gordon. Not only is he going to a team sorely lacking scoring punch and veteran savvy, he was traded for the only player on the Bobcats' roster (Maggette) who came close to providing those assets. In addition, the player Charlotte drafted to take Maggette's place -- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- probably won't be taking many shots from deep anytime soon.
Gordon enjoyed a subtle bounce-back campaign this past season, boosting his points per game to 12.5 while averaging 1.2 3-pointers per game on 43 percent shooting from downtown. His per-36 minute numbers topped out at 16.7 PPG, still below his career average of 19.9 but up from his 2010-11 average.
I don't see Gordon cracking 36 minutes a night (a mark he's only surpassed once in his career), but you'd think he's earning the starting nod over Gerald Henderson. 29-31 minutes per game and 15-16 points per game should both be well within reach. Not world-beating numbers, but enough to bring him back into the discussion around the 9th or 10th round.
As for Maggette, he still offers some limited upside, even in a sixth man role, most likely backing up Tayshaun Prince. If he can eke out 25 or so minutes per game, he could still offer some waiver-wire value.
As always, his hidden strength remains his ability to get to the line and boost your team's free throw percentage. And as always, his Achilles' heel could very well turn out to be ... his Achilles' heel. Or a balky knee. Or an ankle. (He's brittle. You get it.)
The Houston Rockets trade Samuel Dalembert, the 14th pick and a future second-rounder to the Milwaukee Bucks for Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman and the 12th pick.
This trade essentially returns Dalembert to solid No. 2 center status in medium-to-deep leagues. He (and his owners) endured a couple of semi-lost seasons, bouncing from Philadelphia to Sacramento to Houston before finally landing in Milwaukee. But he's still only 31 and could have an 8.0 point, 10.0 rebound, 1.8 block season or two left in the tank.
With little competition at center -- Drew Gooden became an underrated fantasy asset last season playing out of position at the five -- 24 to 26 minutes per game should be attainable. Dalembert's always been durable, but he has a history of foul trouble, an issue that's seriously dented his fantasy value over the years.
Power forward now becomes a position of concern for the Bucks, with Gooden probably starting over Ekpe Udoh and draftee John Henson. Gooden was a pleasant surprise this season, and if he retains center eligibility, he could still make for a sneaky endgame pick.
The Los Angeles Clippers trade Mo Williams to the Utah Jazz, the Jazz send a trade exception to the Dallas Mavericks, and the Mavericks trade Lamar Odom to the Clippers
[Editor's Note: This analysis was written prior to Mo Williams picking up his option. He has since made the decision to do so.]
This one is still a heavy rumor, pending Mo Williams' decision on whether or not to pick up his option for next season. If Williams pounces, and the trade goes through, Odom probably will return to a near-simulation of his prior production, which means around 28-30 minutes, 10-12 points, 7 rebounds and almost a steal and a block per game.
Mo Williams would probably challenge Devin Harris for the starting spot in Utah. It's an important distinction, because the backup will also be pushed for minutes by Earl Watson. Williams can also play some at shooting guard, so his role might be best served as sixth man.
The Washington Wizards trade Rashard Lewis and the 46th pick to the New Orleans Hornets for Trevor Ariza and Emeka Okafor
I wrote something on this a few days ago, for that recap (which had already projected Bradley Beal as a Wizard), click here.
5hMichael C. Wright