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The Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns pulled off a blockbuster three-team trade with big names like Gilbert Arenas and Vince Carter involved. Here’s a look at the early Fantasy implications of the trade.
It’s not often that we see a basic overhaul of three teams less than two months into the season, but that’s what happened this past weekend as the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards swapped a few superstars in a three-team major shake-up.
Of course anytime there is a big trade in any major sport the first thing Fantasy owners want to know is who won and who lost. It’s tough to say for certain, but we can definitely talk about early analysis. We often don’t know how the rotation will shake out, but it’s fun to speculate.
Now, as promised, here are the early winners and losers in the big three-team trade that went down on Saturday.
Gilbert Arenas (PG/SG, ORL)
It’s easy to see in reality why Arenas is a winner. He’s going from a dead team in Washington to a championship contender. He’s going from a situation where he was unwanted to one in Orlando where he can reinvent his career a la Michael Vick. Winning in a new city can rewrite history in a snap. In terms of Fantasy Hoops, Arenas will come off the bench to start, but should remain as valuable as he was prior to this trade. He might even get a little upgrade due to the many weapons now in Orlando. He can dish and drive with Dwight Howard or watch as team’s double in the paint and camp out for open jumpers beyond the arc. I happen to think that all around, Arenas comes out a winner in this deal.
Nick Young (SG/SF, WAS)
No, Young wasn’t a part of the deal, but he is one of the biggest winners. Young moved right into the starting lineup for the Wizards with Arenas gone and John Wall out indefinitely. In his first start Young scored 30 points in 40-plus minutes against the Heat. Not bad at all. He’s a pure scorer; a guy who can hit threes and grab the occasional steal. The problem with Young is that he doesn’t do anything else. He will grab about two boards per game and dish less than an assist. Still, as a scorer he’s an add in all formats.
Hedo Turkoglu (SF/PF, ORL)
Let me say this to start, I do NOT like Turkoglu as a Fantasy talent. Here’s a guy who shoots about 41 percent from the floor, less than 80 percent from the line, hasn’t averaged more than 12 points per game over the past two seasons and doesn’t even steal one ball per game for his career. He’s highly overrated. BUT, he’s back in Orlando where he’s happy. He was lost in the offense in Toronto and lost in the offense in Phoenix. He’s now in Orlando where he can play on the ball, which is his bread-and-butter. Turk gets better value with the Magic. He’s not a huge value, but he’s better off now than he was in Phoenix. That means you should add him where possible.
Marcin Gortat (C, PHO)
I don’t like Gortat much either, but I think he “wins” here. Life is much easier when you’re backing up Robin Lopez instead of Dwight Howard. The problem is, we don’t really know who Gortat is. He’s never averaged more than 15 minutes per game and his career numbers are about four points and four rebounds per game. On the bright-side, according to Basketball-Reference.com, Gortat has a career-line of 10.1 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per 36 minutes. But that really means little. Gortat is not going to step in and play 36 minutes, not with a healthy Lopez on the roster. He’s also not tested to play 25-plus minutes. Can he sustain his pace? Who knows? What we do know is that he’s a winner based solely on the increase in playing time.
Brandon Bass (SF/PF, ORL)
Bass is probably more neutral here. The fact that he was already starting and playing well at power forward before the trade is a plus, but then again, with the amount of touches his new teammates will require, it should kick him out of the offense a little bit. The good(ish) news, however, is that he’s the second best big on that Orlando team right now. With Gortat gone and Ryan Anderson still hurt, Bass becomes the only other productive big man. He should still be owned in 12-team leagues, but you’re going to want to monitor his numbers. I have a feeling that his shot attempts will go down but his rebounding can certainly go up.
Rashard Lewis (SF/PF, WAS)
As if it was already looking like Lewis was bored with the game of basketball, now he has to go to a dead team in Washington and try and get himself motivated to play. Lewis is not much of a Fantasy contributor as it is, averaging just 12.2 points on 41.9 percent shooting and 4.2 rebounds per game. Yes, he’s hitting 1.8 threes per game, but that number is even low for Lewis. No need to drop him, but no need to get excited either.
Vince Carter (SG, PHO)
Carter is also having an underwhelming season, averaging 15.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 threes, 0.9 steals and 74.7 percent shooting from the free-throw line. He is, surprisingly, shooting 47 percent from the floor. Other than that, he’s done nothing special. A part of me likes that Carter can free up alongside Steve Nash. Another part likes that he’s really the best scoring option on that team, outside of Nash. The question is, can he run with Nash? Will his body hold up? Are his feelings hurt? He wasn’t wanted in Orlando and already his new teammate Jared Dudley said of him, “If it works out it works out. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” Lofty expectations, huh? Like Lewis, I expect Carter to lack any motivation. And once Nash gets moved it’s all over for VC. I would actually try to move VC in Fantasy. What happens is whenever there is a big trade the buzz around it is enough to bump up the value of every player involved. See what you can get for him. It’s worth a shot.
Jason Richardson (SG, ORL)
As nice of a season as Richardson is having, it’s hard to imagine that he can go from being the top scorer on a Phoenix team to being the third, sometimes even fourth option on Orlando. He has a few high-usage-rate guys on his team now and is going to be working for minutes with Arenas playing the ‘two’ at times, Turk slotting over to the ‘three’ and J.J. Reddick deserving minutes at shooting guard. He’s not going to sink, but his prospects in Orlando aren’t as favorable as they were in Phoenix. I also worry that he might disappear at times, which he has been known to do in certain situations. Watch out for Richardson.
*All stats and speculation as of Monday, Dec. 20 (prior to the start of Monday night’s action).
You can contact Tom at Lorenzo@RotoExperts.com. Send him your Fantasy questions and he’ll make sure to get back to you in no time.