Commentary

Limited fantasy impact in deadline deals

Robinson, Thomas don't land in favorable locales

Updated: February 18, 2010, 7:28 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Consider this your one-stop shop for the fantasy side of Thursday's deadline deals. There were a few deals with fantasy ramifications, so let's get right to what it means for the value of the players involved, on a team-by-team basis.

New York Knicks

Acquired: Tracy McGrady, Sergio Rodriguez, Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker

Finally, the constant trade rumors swirling around McGrady are done. But don't assume quite yet that McGrady is going to become a focal point of the offense for the Knicks; coach Mike D'Antoni has gone on record saying the primary focus of this season is to develop Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler. Indeed, the main reason the Knicks consummated this trade was to ditch Jared Jeffries' $6.8 million salary next season, freeing up even more cap room this summer. Heck, the Knicks might not even keep McGrady on their roster; some rumors suggest they will choose to buy him out. McGrady is worth a flier if you are in a deep league or have a free roster spot, but he's still an underdog to carve out significant value this season.

Sergio Rodriguez
Issac Baldizon/NBAE/Getty ImagesFor his career, Sergio Rodriguez averages 2.4 assists per turnover.
The outlook is much more intriguing for Rodriguez, however. If the Knicks don't have big plans for McGrady, then they must be quite fond of Rodriguez, considering they gave up 2009 first-round draft pick Jordan Hill and their first-round pick in 2012 and allowed the Rockets the right to switch picks in 2011. Rodriguez has looked solid when given playing time -- in 14 career starts, he's averaged 7.3 points, 4.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 3-pointers, shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from beyond the arc in 25.1 minutes -- and he looks like an improvement as a facilitator over up-and-down incumbent Chris Duhon. More importantly, Rodriguez is just 23 years old, so he could end up a part of the Knicks' long-term core, too. Chances are D'Antoni will want a long look at the Spaniard, especially now that Nate Robinson and Larry Hughes are out of the picture, and Rodriguez should be squarely on every fantasy owners' watch list, and a must-grab in deep leagues. The three Celtics headed to New York provide no fantasy value to speak of.


Sacramento Kings

Acquired: Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and Larry Hughes

In Thursday morning's Fantasy Basketball Blog, Seth Landman covered the Landry part of the deal. As for Hughes, there is now a gaping hole in the backcourt for the Kings, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Hughes eat a chunk of those minutes. That said, don't expect much, as Hughes is primarily a large expiring contract, and if anything, this opens up a bigger opportunity for Francisco Garcia, who just made his season debut Tuesday night. This also allows the Kings to use Beno Udrih at point guard and shift Tyreke Evans to the 2, an arrangement that led to some nice numbers for Udrih earlier in the season. Udrih and Garcia are worth speculative pickups for now, while Hughes is best kept on your watch list.

Houston Rockets

Acquired: Kevin Martin, Jared Jeffries, Hilton Armstrong and Jordan Hill

In the aforementioned blog, Seth covered what the acquisition of Martin means, and Armstrong won't have any fantasy impact. Hill's role could be interesting, however, although not necessarily for this season. And finally, Jeffries is an ace defender and will carve out minutes, but if the Rockets end up dropping out of the playoff race, we could get an extended look at Hill in the final couple of weeks of the season. Just something to keep in mind if you're in a deep league come April.

Boston Celtics

Acquired: Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry

This is a deal that gives the Celtics some much-needed extra firepower off their bench, but while Robinson gets his wish to be traded, he's going to an even worse situation in fantasy terms. The Knicks were seventh in possessions per game; the Celtics are 22nd. Feel free to drop him from the rosters of all but the very deepest of leagues.

Charlotte Bobcats

Acquired: Tyrus Thomas

Tyrus Thomas
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty ImagesTyrus Thomas' blocks upside is intriguing, but it remains to be seen how many minutes he'll play in Charlotte.
Now before all the Thomas owners start to jump up and down with joy, ebullient at the prospect of Thomas finally getting a shot at major minutes, allow me to be the buzzkill. How exactly will Thomas fit in? Nazr Mohammed has been a pleasant surprise this season, giving the Cats a much-needed infusion of offense: Believe it or not, he's averaging 17.7 points per 36 minutes. Never mind that a front line of Boris Diaw, Gerald Wallace and Thomas probably won't work; it lacks bulk, and neither Thomas nor Diaw is much of a scorer.


Whose minutes can Thomas take? He can lessen the Bobcats' reliance on their starters -- Diaw is averaging more than 35 minutes and Wallace more than 42 -- and render unproductive backups like Derrick Brown useless, but it's hard to see how that turns into significantly more minutes than what he was getting on the Bulls. Also, keep in mind that he will lose about 2.7 possessions per game by going from the Bulls to the Bobcats, who rank 27th in pace. While Thomas should flourish defensively, causing a lot of disruption under the guidance of coach Larry Brown, it's difficult to imagine a lineup combination that results in 30-plus minutes night in and night out. The Bobcats did give up a first-round pick to net him, which may imply he's in their long-term plans, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Thomas stuck in a similar role that he occupied on his former team.

The loss of Ronald Murray could mean an opportunity for D.J. Augustin, who has followed up a promising rookie season with an awful sophomore season, quickly falling out of favor with Brown. Don't expect any miracles, but Augustin could flourish in a role as a scorer off the bench.

Chicago Bulls

Acquired: Ronald "Flip" Murray and Acie Law

The Bulls have had Thomas on the block for a long time, and it would have been an upset if Thomas wasn't dealt. If anything, though, the deal does represent increased confidence in Taj Gibson, who has looked increasingly competent in the past few weeks, as he's been able to cut down his foul rate. And as a Joakim Noah owner, I am crossing my fingers in hoping that the Bulls' decision to deal Thomas implies that Noah's injury isn't a serious long-term concern. But aside from a slight increase in value to guys like Brad Miller and Gibson, this trade keeps things pretty much status quo in Chicago.

Memphis Grizzlies

Acquired: Ronnie Brewer

Brewer's value has dropped steadily in the past few weeks and now it looks like any chance to rebound is slammed shut due to this trade. He'll reinforce the porous bench of the Grizzlies, but backing up iron men like O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. It would be interesting, though, if Brewer's presence propelled head coach Lionel Hollins into playing O.J. Mayo on the ball more and using Mayo at point and Brewer at the 2, increasing Mayo's potential for assists. Brewer, however, will likely become drop-worthy in a few weeks, if not now, unless your team has a dearth of steals.

Utah Jazz

Acquired: No players, only a 2011 first-round draft pick from the Grizzlies

Last-minute trade talks surrounding Carlos Boozer didn't come to fruition, but the Jazz met their goal of getting under the luxury tax anyway, essentially selling Brewer to the Grizzlies. This may propel Wesley Matthews into the starting lineup, an undrafted rookie who has quickly become a favorite of coach Jerry Sloan thanks to his energy, but may otherwise not be talented enough to make much of a fantasy impact. It might open up the door for Kyle Korver, too, who could come on in an Anthony Morrow kind of fashion -- a one-category specialist of 3-pointers -- except without the upside Morrow offers.

Adam Madison is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com. He can be reached at mr.adam.madison@gmail.com.

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