NBA Trade Deadline Discussion

20 min read

As the trade deadline approaches, we’ve started to gear up and proactively consider the fallout from players that could be changing teams. Being moved to a new team, situation, rotation, and role can obviously have major implications on players’ fantasy value.

It’s possible that the Porzingis to Dallas trade may be the biggest trade before the deadline. We will break that down, along with any other moves in a future article following the trade deadline.

Here we break down some of the players and teams that have been heating up the rumor mill. We examine how this can impact their fantasy values, and who might step up in their absence. It’s important to note that we are not speculating on which new teams these players may be headed to, but just what a new situation could potentially do to their value.

ATLANTA HAWKS

The Hawks may not have any A-list stars to offer but that likely won’t cease the endless ringing of GM Travis Schlenk’s phone. What they lack in All Star trade chips, they make up for in solid roleplayers that most competitive teams would greatly appreciate acquiring. Dewayne Dedmon and Kent Bazemore are two particular veterans that have come up in several rumors already. Throw in the Taurean Prince discussions and you have a full-blown trade bonanza. Atlanta has failed at tanking as of late. A 16-33 record doesn’t look glamorous, but unbelievably, that’s enough to keep them above 3 other teams in the East. The Hawks should not only be taking trade calls – they should be actively shopping these players to stop this recent backwards madness.

Dewayne Dedmon

Dedmon has been an impressive Top 60 player this season, including Top 25 over the last 2 weeks. Still in his prime at age 29, Double D has done well keeping up with the times. The 7-footer has splashed over 37% of his 3’s this season. He’s also supplied a sufficient amount of Points, Boards, and Blocks, while staying very strong in FT% – almost 87%. The cherry on top is that his minutes have stayed under 25 per game so far. If Dedmon is traded to a contender, his Fantasy production will take a bit of a bit, to be sure. Fortunately, he’s proven he can contribute in limited minutes. He should remain standard league-relevant as long as he’s getting 18-20 minutes per game.

Kent Bazemore

Bazemore has missed over a month recently but seems to be close to returning. That’s good for his trade value. There’s no one stat that Baze is outstanding at. It’s been his “jack of all trades” skill set that’s held him in Top 75 territory while healthy this year. A contender likely won’t grant him the 27.4 minutes per game he’s been getting this season. That’ll hurt. But I think he has it in him to remain a standard league play as an end-of-roster-type guy.

Taurean Prince

Prince is still young enough to fit the young Hawks’ timeline. But does he fit in with the Hawks? The way things stand now, Atlanta’s 2019 draft pick has decent odds of falling just outside the Top 3. If that holds true, there’s a high chance that they draft another Wing player – one with a higher upside than Prince. The competition for minutes on the Wing would grow unfavorable for him. Dynasty outlook aside, a trade would likely be nothing but a detriment to Prince’s value. As it is, he’s on the outside looking in regarding the Top 125. If he’s traded to a contending team, that Fantasy rank might end up looking even bleaker.

BROOKLYN NETS

The Nets have been a fun story lately. Slowly trudging their way up from the depths of NBA No-Man’s-Land, this team will more likely be sellers than buyers. Brooklyn’s Cinderella story is approaching its last lap. Top teams might come calling for one of their rotation players. The Nets should be happy to oblige for the right price. They have only $54.3 million in guaranteed money owed next season, leaving enough space for a max contract and then some. If they can find a taker for Allen Crabbe (or if Crabbe opts out of his $18.5 million Player Option, which isn’t likely), they could theoretically sign TWO max contracts. They, like the Clippers, have done a masterful job balancing their checkbooks in anticipation of 2019 Free Agency. The looming question is whether they will re-sign D’Angelo Russell or let him walk in favor of a more established stud. GM Sean Marks will also bear in mind that Caris Levert will be due for a sizable raise soon. Either way, this team could look very different next season. They will, assuredly, not be taking on any large contracts that stretch passed this season. Bravo, Nets.

Joe Harris

Maybe the smooth-shooting Harris hasn’t been a name on the minds of trade-watchers. He hasn’t appeared in many trade rumors. That being said, there’s some winning teams out there that could desperately use the spacing Joe Harris brings. He’s swishing over 45% of his 5.1 three-point attempts per game this year. In addition to 3’s, Harris provides a strong FT% and enough Points and Assists to be considered a net positive in those categories. Being traded to a contending team likely wouldn’t be the best situation for Joe. He might struggle to see minutes close to 30 every night. His role would largely be no more than a deep-range specialist, there to keep opposing defenses honest. Currently sitting right around the Top 120, Harris could fall off the Fantasy radar in leagues shallower than 14 teams if a trade like this were to occur.

CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Another year, another season of NBA purgatory for the Hornets. Refusing to trade their one star player to flip the ‘rebuild’ switch, Charlotte remains a team that’ll be too bad to make a playoff push but too good to see the opportunity to draft a surefire stud in the draft’s early lottery. We shouldn’t expect this year to be any different than recent years passed. It’s just too fun of an idea to pass up here. Charlotte possesses at least a few players that competing teams would love to acquire. Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, and even Marvin Williams and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – these are all names that should be in the rumor mill. But alas, Michael Jordan and the Hornets are set in their ways. Let’s talk about one of these guys anyway, just for the heck of it.

Kemba Walker

Walker has said all the right things. If we are to believe him, he’s committed to the Hornets and plans to remain there the rest of his days, much to the chagrin of NBA fans. Therefore, we must travel to an alternate dimension to envision Kemba wearing a different jersey. A Top 25 Fantasy weapon, Walker contributes well in Points, Assists, 3’s, and FT%. His pseudo-star power would help him remain at the Fantasy level we’ve come to expect from him if he were traded to a different team. Another squad with more offensive firepower might force his Points to dip a bit but it wouldn’t be anything significant enough for his value to fall far off from present day. The bottom line is that Kemba Walker is an early-round Fantasy talent, and would remain that way regardless of where he’s playing.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

The Cavs are in an unenviable position. After being ditched by Lebron for a second time, their cupboard appeared to be a bit more stocked this time around. However, if we delve a little closer, there isn’t a ton to look forward to for this Cleveland team yet. They have Collin Sexton, who could pan out to be a decent 2-way Guard eventually. But what’s his ceiling? As a Fantasy junky, I don’t love him. There’s also a handful of players currently in that tweener stage between young upside and prime years. I doubt GM Koby Altman sees any of Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr as anything more than bench depth or uninspiring starters. That’s nothing to write home about. That leaves their best player, Kevin Love…

Kevin Love

Similar to the franchise he plays for, Kevin Love is in an ugly position. When it comes to Love, the Cavs are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, Love is approaching the end of his prime years. No one wants to see a 30-year old star-level talent go to waste. On the other hand, if Cleveland hopes to draft a foundation-changing stud like Zion Williamson, it would be advisable to keep Love off their court as much as possible. What other option is there besides opting to trade him? Kevin Love is a great offensive big man who does well cleaning the glass. Most competitive teams would love to acquire him. It’s his contract that turns GM’s off. Love is making so much money that Altman would have to accept a deal with little-to-no upside. If Love were to find himself on a new team, his value would fall a little bit compared to what he could have done on a bare Cavaliers roster like this one. But at least he might actually see the court.

DETROIT PISTONS

I recently mentioned the Pistons as a team I’m watching before this trade deadline. They’ve been stuck in place for several years now. Griffin and Drummond alone have not proven to be enough to convince anyone that they might find any playoff success. Stanley Johnson is moving closer and closer to a ‘bust’ label every day. And the jury is still out on Luke Kennard. It would be a blast to see the Pistons blow this thing up (again?) and see what kind of value they could get back for their two best guys. I don’t expect that to happen. If they were to make a move, I’d expect the opposite, actually. Maybe they go all in on a good veteran like Mike Conley or Jrue Holiday. The problem arises when they try to make an offer. They don’t have a lot to offer.

Reggie Jackson

While not the most desirable asset, Jackson would likely be in any deal the Pistons would propose when looking for an upgrade due to his salary and the lack of other assets around him. Detroit could combine him with youngsters like Stanley Johnson, Luke Kennard, and/or draft compensation. Barely relevant in average Fantasy leagues as it is, Jackson could completely fall off the map depending on where he would end up in a trade.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Amidst the madness that is Anthony Davis trade rumors, there isn’t much I can say that hasn’t been uttered 100 times already. One thing is for certain: if LA were to trade for a star, they would have to deal away most of their young assets.

Ball/Kuzma/Ingram/Hart

Might as well group all these young guns together because it appears as if one of them is traded, they’ll all be traded – or at least most of them. That’s because the Lakers are looking to add a superstar. They’re aiming high. Obviously, like most of trade scenarios out there, the potential Fantasy value outcome of each of these players is widely dependant on where they end up. However, it might be safe to assume that wherever they land together, they will be the future of that team and should get all the playing time they can handle. I don’t think their Fantasy value changes a ton if they get moved.

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Memphis came out hot to start the season, and with it, gave false hope to all of the Conley and Gasol GMs. Many thought this year could be the year, both stars could avoid getting shutdown for a team on the outside looking in. Well we’re now past that point, Memphis is looking to be in rough shape, and the team has made both player available for trade.

Mike Conley

As it stands now, he’s the #28 player in fantasy and delivers scoring, 3’s, steals, and assists. Wherever he’s traded, he should remain the starter, though his 27.2% usage could certainly take a hit. In the end, a trade might take a slight hit to his overall production, but the shutdown risk should be much lower. If he were moved, the Grizz would being going full rebuild, and would probably want a nice look at rookie Jevon Carter. Shelvin Mack and Slo-Mo would also pick up some of the playmaking and ball handling slack. It’s worth noting that reports have come out that while Memphis has made it clear that Conley is available, he hasn’t garnered too much interest. His contract is massive, ending in 20-21 to the tune of $34.5 million. Also, there are just a few teams that really need a point guard and most of them are not in a win-now situation. Note: There have been reports of a move to Utah, sending Ricky Rubio back to the Grizzlies. Both players would assume similar values to their current situations, though Rubio would take a hit while Memphis emphasizes their younger players.

Marc Gasol

Like the Grizz, Gasol came out on fire, posting top 20 numbers through the first 2 months. Since then, he has battled injuries and regressed to a still great top 30ish ranking. While never being a player that relied on athleticism, at 34 years old, his best days are behind him. On the other hand, his brother managed to be a relevant player well into his late 30’s. He can still help a contending team reach the next level, and is still a great source for point, boards, assists, and stocks. He also is one of the few bigs that does not hurt your free throw cat. He’ll be fine if moved, but like Conley, he could see a decline in his overall productivity, moving to a team with more firepower. If he were to be moved, look out for the real unleashing of JJJ. JaMychal Green and Ivan Raab could also be nice beneficiaries.

MIAMI HEAT

Miami is a weird team. They’re currently clinging to the 7th spot in the East and have a legitimate shot at holding on. There is no true star on the team, though some would argue Josh Richardson is that guy. He hasn’t really stepped up so far this season like most of us expected and may be more of a #2. The team thrives off of being super deep along with excellent coaching and team culture. With all of that, center Hassan Whiteside alwasy seems to find himself thrown into trade rumors.

Hassan Whiteside

If you want board, blocks and FG%, Whiteside is your guy. While consistency hasn’t been his calling card, he’s managed to always be a plus in those 3 cats. From a fantasy perspective, if you are punting free throws, Whiteside offers a lot more value than his current #106 ranking. He’s currently backed up by young bigs Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk (youngish), who both offer some different types of upside for Miami. They would both be the obvious winners if Whiteside were moved and another big man didn’t come back in the exchange. With some teams willing to take on bad contracts (Whiteside has a no-brainer player option next year for over $27 million) if assets are added, Miami could look to clean the slate and start the next era for the Miami frontcourt.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS

After a disappointing 23-29 start, New Orleans has suddenly found themselves as the main feature in the annual February Trade Season. Once Anthony Davis signed with Rich Paul, everyone correctly assumed that this had serious meaning. Now Davis is declaring that he won’t resign when his contract is up and the Pelicans find themselves in a pivotal moment for their franchise. The frontrunners appear to be the Lakers and Celtics (Boston can’t trade until this summer, due to the Kyrie contract). There are also a few outside teams looking to get in the mix, including the Knicks and Raptors. Philly has been rumored in potential deals, but that may just be based off of their current assets.

Anthony Davis

We all know what he can do. He’s been a plus guy in every cat, minus 3’s, and this year he’s still averaging one 3 a game. He will be a top 2 fantasy asset no matter where he goes. Currently he’s sitting, and depending on how things go down, if New Orleans doesn’t move him before the Summer, he could sit for the rest of the season. If you drafted him, this news, if true, obviously kills your shot at winning. There is a chance that he gets traded, but by all accounts, New Orleans is in no rush. With that in mind, in standard redraft leagues, you just hold and hope. In dynasty leagues, you may have to think. If you have a legitimate shot at winning it all this season but need that top 8 player to pull it off, you could scan your league’s rosters and formulate a move that would get you help in the form of guys like Kawhi, PG13, or KAT. It may sound insane and could blow up in your face, but these are the types of bold moves you have to consider to win now.

Jrue Holiday

While it seems obvious, Jrue made it known that the main reason he signed his 4 year deal with New Orleans was to play next to AD. With that plan out the door, he will most likely want to explore his options. He’s one of the best 2 way guards in the league and has been putting up top 20 numbers for fantasy GMs. His points, assists, and steals are firing on all cylinders, and that should not change if he is traded. Once AD is moved, it will set into motion some sort of trade demand from Holiday. In his potential absence, a young guard like Frank Jackson would potentially get a nice role.

NEW YORK KNICKS

The bottom-dwelling Knicks have been a joke in the NBA for a few decades now and this current regime is no different. They do carry the big city name which still holds cache amongst NBA free agents. Even with that advantage, the mismanagement of the team has been even more impressive. Following their recent blockbuster trade that cleared a ton of cap space, they could conceivably keep the purge going. They are currently trying to setup a big offseason this Summer, with hopes of luring a superstar or 2 to the team and help lead them back to relevance. For now, they have another big contract to contend with.

Enes Kanter

Kanter is sort of a more rare NBA and fantasy commodity, offering up elite boards with good points and efficiency, while offering next to nothing in the other categories, and providing poor real-life defense. While any move would help his current fantasy value, since he appears to be currently out of the rotation, he would most likely be a member of the bench in any trade. He can still provide some value in his 3 cats, though they may be muted and push him to the edge of standard league relevance. Mitchell Robinson and Luke Kornett would pick up the slack.

ORLANDO MAGIC

Orlando finds themselves in an odd purgatory, with young talent, not being good enough to realistically compete but also not bad enough to really tank. Currently in 11th place in the East, the Magic have to be thinking about some sort of soft reset. They can hold off for a while, but in the end, as constructed, this team won’t make noise.

Nikola Vucevic

Vuc chose an excellent time (contract year) to step up his game to top 10 level. While he’s not the defensive anchor that most NBA teams seem to need out of their centers, he’s also not the liability people assume he is. Offensively he has almost perfected his game, scoring at all 3 levels and incorporating excellent playmaking. A trade would most likely hurt his production, but even in a reduced role. he’ll be a top 50 player with room for upside. If he were to be moved, it would open up things for rookie Mo Bamba, as well as some extra usage for Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac.

PHOENIX SUNS

The Phoenix Suns are simply terrible. Not as bad as the Kevin Love-less Cavs, but they’re certainly in that tier.They do have a potential star in Devin Booker, and some interesting young pieces in De’Andre Ayton, Mikal Bridges, De’Anthony Melton, Josh Jackson (I’m personally not a fan), and Elie Okobo. Minus Ayton, that’s a lot of young and raw talent that the team hopes to groom into something down the road. One player that doesn’t fit this timeline is forward TJ Warren.

TJ Warren

Warren found a good time to suddenly become an excellent 3 point shooter, which could help his value. While just 25, he is in his prime now and has a sort of sizable long term contract on the books. This would make him a candidate for moving. His shooting really helped boost his value and the Suns should see what they can get for him. On another team, he will probably receive a lesser role, but he will do enough to keep his value relevant for standard leagues. If moved, Bridges and Jackson stand the most to gain.

WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Being my home team, I have very strong feelings about how the team has been run at the helm of Owner Ted Leonsis and GM Ernie Grunfeld. They seem to have chased the middle zone of competing for playoff spots without doing enough to make noise in the post season. They also have refused to play the blow up game and admit defeat. Its a terrible dance that we witness every season that generally involves trading for older vets to “help the locker room” trading away draft picks for cash, making poor draft picks, and generally putting the team in low leverage situations with no room to improve. The duo apparently has hopes of keeping the band together and making another run at an 8 seed. Part of it could be profit/job security driven, but the other part is being realistic in understanding no teams want a piece of the insane John Wall contract. Either way, it all adds up to nothing good for Wiz fans like myself.

Bradley Beal

Beal is without a doubt the Wizards best asset in terms of player value and contract. He’s a dynamic scoring guard with excellent 3 point shooting and he has shown the ability to contribute in playmaking, along with solid defense. Still just 25, he’ll be owed $56 million over the next 2 season, which is a lot, but nothing compared to Wall’s albatross. He will undoubtedly excel on any team, but again, it appears that Washington is at least posturing like they won’t make any major moves.

Otto Porter

Otto Porter is a divisive player amongst Wizards fans and fantasy GMs. When he was given his new contract last year, there were arguments from both sides about whether he was worth the max. Besides the 3 point shooting, his production came more from an efficiency and intangibles aspect. Taking the identity of a 3 and D wing is a little misleading as he’s never actually been a lock down defender. In a different scheme that takes advantage of his shooting, he could see a higher usage rate and more scoring responsibility. As rough as it sounds, depending on what the Wiz got in return, a plyer like Sam Dekker could suddenly have some fantasy value.