Trades will always alter a player’s fantasy value. Though we are just a few weeks into the season, there are already dozens of rumors floating around the NBA. Some are more high profile than others and can really boost or deflate your fantasy team’s performance.
In no particular order, these are the ten most likely players to be moved at some point this season.
1. Danilo Gallinari
As one of the more underrated scorers in the league, Gallinari has put together an impressive career. Any Small Forward type that can contribute on the glass, shoot a great percentage from three point range, and create his own shot can find playing time on any roster. Gallinari’s issue throughout his career has been health and assertiveness. He has also had multiple coaches and schemes that he has had to adjust to on a seemingly, yearly basis. For Gallinari, his ideal spot would be a second or third scorer on a team where he doesn’t have to be a locker room leader. If he was to go to a contender, he would be a great grab for someone looking for second unit offense though he would start for most teams in the league. Career averages of 15/5/2 while shooting 36% from three point range would make you ask why the Nuggets would ever trade him. Truth is, they are looking to rebuild and might be able to grab a few future pieces for the 28 year old Gallinari. He will have plenty of suitors if he becomes available even though he is a 2017 free agent likely to land a sizable contract. Potential landing spots: Chicago, Boston, Minnesota.
2. Evan Turner/Allen Crabbe
The two reserve wings for the Blazers will not be moved together; however, with rumblings that the cap might not be as massive as it was thought last year, Portland may decide to move one of its high priced backups. This would be a cap based move more than anything and Portland probably had this idea in mind when they made the signings knowing that a team somewhere will want a starting quality player in exchange for some flexibility and future picks. With both being recent signings, a deal would have to wait until mid-year under the current CBA rules. Potential landing spots: Brooklyn, Minnesota, Dallas.
3. Rudy Gay
The current Sacramento King has been very adamant that he wants a new team to call home. While Gay puts up great offensive numbers, he is known for being a below average defender. Nonetheless, he is an amazing talent that could do incredible things in the right situation. Even with his current production, his value is low; he is an unrestricted free agent in 2017 and it is known that he will not sign his player option with Sacramento. The Kings would do well to be able to grab a late 1st rounder and another pending free agent to match salary in exchange for Gay. The Kings, who aren’t winning this year, need to get something for Gay. Wherever he ends up, that team will look to him for offense which is perfect for fantasy owners. His subpar defense (on a poorly run Kings team, mind you), will not keep him off the floor for any team. Gay will continue to produce at a rate worthy of a fantasy roster spot wherever he is. Potential landing spots: Boston, Chicago, Minnesota, Los Angeles Clippers.
4. Andrew Bogut
Bogut is another free agent in the class of 2017. His value might be just as high for not being in Golden State and them missing his rim protecting ways more than what he is actually doing in Dallas. Bogut will produce similar numbers wherever he is playing due to his style of play. He isn’t worth going all in for and he won’t save your fantasy team- he is just a good, solid, late round contributor that will see floor time and give you a chance to gain some points. Potential landing spots: Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston.
5. Beno Udrih
This isn’t the flashiest name on the list and he isn’t intended to be. It seems that his career path is going to be just this; traded from team to team on a needed basis. He is plugging a hole as a backup Point Guard in Detroit and is proving his worth and showing other teams that he has relevance in the league. A Guard will go down somewhere and Udrih will be available for purchase (a protected second rounder, even) once Reggie Jackson returns from injury. Potential landing spots: Philadelphia, Chicago, Milwaukee.
6. Nerlens Noel
The 76ers have an unbalanced roster as there are a plethora of quality big men on the team. Something has to give. Noel has been the most vocal about the situation at hand and he is also the player closest to free agency- a perfect fit. His price tag will be high for the team inquiring because the team that trades for him will have him as an unrestricted free agent in 2017 (meaning they can match any deal that he signs with another team). The control for a talented big man alone is a big part in trading for him. Noel excels at rebounding and defense which will have him finding playing time wherever he is. He will also contribute to your fantasy team in the stat categories that tend to be consistent such as steals, rebounds, and blocks. Opposing fan bases are high on him where Philadelphia fans seems to have cooled on him. As we all know, fans do not make the decisions so it’ll come down to whoever is willing to pay what the sticker price is on Noel. Potential landing spots: Boston, Toronto, Golden State, Cleveland.
7. PJ Tucker
Tucker is an unrestricted free agent in 2017. He is losing minutes to TJ Warren on a young, rebuilding Suns team yet, is a versatile defender that can play multiple positions and roles. He reminds me a lot of Bruce Bowen in the fact that he is useless on bad teams but could be a tremendous, key piece as a role player on a championship squad. He doesn’t have a hefty price tag and Phoenix will want to get something in terms of an asset, even a second rounder, when dealing Tucker. He has more value around the league than most think. He doesn’t have a huge fantasy impact currently so could be a nice pickup or a piece to hang onto based on his potential with a new team. Potential landing spots: Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State, Detroit, Cleveland.
8. Greg Monroe. There is a log jam in the Milwaukee front court. Monroe is battling for minutes with John Henson and Mason Plumlee. Monroe is by far the most skilled offensive player of the group but lacks enough defensively that he is viewed as a liability. He has fallen out of favor with Jason Kidd though he still finds minutes and enough fantasy production to keep him rostered. A team that trades for Monroe will understand what they are getting for the cost and the contract and will put him in the right situation to be successful (note that Monroe is a free agent in 2017 but is likely to pick up his large player option). He won’t have any drop off in production if moved. Potential landing spots: Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans.
9. Tyreke Evans. While there have been no rumors about Evans being on the move, he fits the description of a player and contract that should be. His contract is up at the end of the year and may or may not be signed by his current team. He is injury prone and is not due back for a month or two. The only question that looms is who values Evans more than the Pelicans? The answer right now is, nobody. However, when healthy, Evans is a talented and unique player capable of playing three positions offensively and defensively. He is also a great, multiple category stat stuffer for your fantasy team. If the Pelicans continue to lose games, they could put Evans on the market as he would be a great complimentary piece to a contender looking to fill a hole or backfill an injured player. He may also be a transition piece for a younger, underperforming team that can offer him some extra money to stick around once he has adapted to the culture. Potential landing spots: Dallas, Miami, Brooklyn, Washington.
10. Tyler Zeller, Gerald Green, Amir Johnson, Jonas Jerebko
The worst kept secret amongst NBA rumor circles is that the Boston Celtics are in the hunt for another star player. While these four players alone will not bring back a star caliber player, their expiring salaries (non-guaranteed second year in Zeller’s case) coupled with the hoards of draft picks that they have accumulated could bring the C’s a decent haul or at the minimal a remainder of the year, rented upgrade. The team is just waiting for a disgruntled star to demand a trade or a team to accept its losing so they can pounce. A Bogut for Zeller and a pick swap was recently floated around the rumor mill so even the smaller trades to improve its interior defense and rebounding could be made. Look for the Celtics to make some sort of move just before the deadline. The outgoing players would most likely have decreased fantasy value as they would be salary fillers more than a future asset. Potential landing spots: Sacramento, Dallas, Denver, Phoenix, Philadelphia.
Whether it’s a blockbuster or a low-key move, the fantasy landscape is impacted every time a trade occurs. With a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the horizon, there will be a lot of teams trying to make moves to better position themselves for the future.