I’m not going to win any sympathy from my colleagues Greg and Tom, but I’m going to lead things off by bitching about my Damn Lies League first-place team. It’s not okay to bitch when you have a great team and are cruising, but I have an AWFUL team and I’ve been in first place by myself for several weeks. So it feels like I’m in last.
While Greg may put up a fight in defense of his own squad when I say this, I must opine that, once again, I lead the league in injuries. Just this week, Kobe Bryant is finally sitting and Corey Maggette has succumbed to his innate hypochondria. Thinking myself the genius, I shrewdly removed Maggette from my lineup on Monday only to replace him with Martell Webster, whose early Valentine’s Day gift to me was a 3-0-0 in 17 minutes last night. He was great last week on my bench, as well. I also started Ben Wallace this week, who was practically invisible against the Bucks on Tuesday. On my bench for this seemingly short and innocuous week: Mike Miller, Lou Williams and Troy Murphy.
I fully expect Greg and Tom to offer their condolences in the Comments section, but I’ve already moved on to this juicy trade rumor reported by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski: Tracy McGrady to the Knicks, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood to the Rockets, and Al Harrington and a few other pieces to the Wizards. Are the Knicks not aware that there’s a maximum they can offer LeBron James? Are they going after Wade, Bosh, Amare and Drew Brees as well? They’ll have some salary to spend this summer, that’s for sure. As for the Rockets, for them to pull Butler and Haywood for McGrady’s expiring carcass should turn downtown Houston into a carbon copy of New Orleans these past few nights. The Wizards’ role in this is unsure but it certainly signals a desire to blow things up. If Antawn Jamison is also dealt before the deadline, Harrington could be the last man shooting in the nation’s capitol. Is a 30-30 (30.0 PPG and 30.0 FG%) out of the question this March and April? Values for Mike Miller and Andray Blatche continue to hypothetically rise.
Lots o’ other trade rumors swirling, but I prefer to deal in reality. From Tuesday’s 11-game slate last night, here’s what stood out:
* The Nets hung relatively tight with the Cavs in Cleveland despite Devin Harris not playing. Hmm. I’m sure LeBron and Co. were about as up for this game as if they were on a team field trip to a knitting museum, but still. The Nets aren’t as bad as their record. If they can trade Harris, luck into John Wall and sign a big name in the offseason we could be talking about a dangerous team next year. Courtney Lee went for 24-7-4 last night and should be a strong second-half fantasy option.
* The Rockets must have been daydreaming about a McGrady-less working environment as they got trounced at Miami, 99-66. Trevor Ariza did not play with a hip pointer, and the remaining guys were never competitive in this one. Chalk it up to pre-All Star Break malaise.
* There were plenty of fantasy goodies in the Kings-Knicks overtime game, a 118-114 win for visiting Sacramento. Wilson Chandler went bananas for 35 points on 15-of-23 shooting. Egads. Donte Greene is making a serious case for fantasy consideration after his 24-point, eight-board, 4-5 3FG performance. He’s averaged a 20.0-5.8 with 2.5 threes in his last four. Kevin Martin came off the bench in this one because of a migraine, but finished with 17 points nonetheless. Spencer Hawes and Beno Udrih played just six minutes apiece, and owners of both have to be gnashing their teeth this morning. The Kings continue to have an unpredictable rotation at best.
* Andrew Bogut shot just 8-21 from the field against Detroit, but he still finished with a 17-18 and three blocks. His average stats over the last month make him the 21st-ranked player in Yahoo (16.6-10.9-2.4 blocks-57.0 FG%) but his propensity for nagging injuries make him a nice ‘sell high’ guy. Me, I’d hang on to him as I forsee this Milwaukee team putting up a ton of meaningless empty calorie numbers over the last couple of months, led by Bogut, chucker Brandon Jennings and the surprising Carlos Delfino.
* Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups both returned to the Denver lineup last night and the Nuggets crushed Dallas, 127-91. Neither were needed for big minutes but both were effective and should be good to go from a health standpoint.
Finally, Monta Ellis’ knee injury is just a sprain, so Don Nelson is free to play him 46 minutes tonight vs. the Clippers. Games of intrigue on the schedule tonight: Lakers at Utah (will Kobe play?), Miami at Atlanta (Josh Smith–Dwyane Wade meetings at the rim), and Charlotte at Minnesota (just kidding).
Now go play in the snow, kiddies.