The phones are incessantly ringing around front offices as Thursday afternoon's trade deadline approaches. Wednesday saw plenty of transactional action unfold, albeit much of it on the fringes of NBA rotations.
Memphis dealt Andre Iguodala to Miami for Justise Winslow. This deal could potentially expand to include Oklahoma City's Danilo Gallinari heading to South Beach, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, but we'll likely need to wait until closer to the deadline for the larger, finalized details of such a move to materialize.
Iggy doesn't appear likely to become a very helpful fantasy option in Miami, given the lack of statistical impact he established in a busy role with the Warriors last season, but speculative shares for those who want a blend of steals, assists and 3-pointers in deeper formats could make sense.
Winslow, meanwhile, has been mired with back issues all season. Thus, it's unclear what impact he might have with Memphis this season. If he can get back on the floor at some point, Winslow, just 23, does possess some fun 3-and-D potential.
The reeling Philadelphia 76ers made a move Wednesday to fortify their bench, landing wing Glenn Robinson III and guard Alec Burks in a trade with the Golden State Warriors, a league source told Wojnarowski. Per Philly's move, Burks and Robinson III should both play significant roles in the rotation from the bench, but both lose fantasy stock, given they enjoyed nearly unfettered offensive freedom with Golden State. I can't see either proving very helpful for fantasy gamers in the months ahead, albeit they could help Philly's lack of bench scoring in real NBA terms.
The Atlanta Hawks continued to prove busy in acquiring Dewayne Dedmon and a haul of second-round picks from Sacramento, sending forward Jabari Parker and center Alex Len to the Kings, sources told ESPN's Zach Lowe and Wojnarowski.
Once again, I don't see the needle moving for any of these players very much. Parker had some nice scoring nights with Atlanta earlier this season before getting injured, but he faces a logjam in the Sacramento frontcourt with Nemanja Bjelica, Richaun Holmes, Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III all competing for minutes. Len might unlock some value in deeper leagues, given the Kings' lack of depth at center, but this is likely only realized in deeper fantasy formats.
Thursday could certainly bring more significant transactions to the table -- ones that shift fantasy value in more meaningful ways than Wednesday's series of moves.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks: 38 points (10-23 FG), 4 rebounds, 11 assists, 3 TO
Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets: 5 points (0-13 FG), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 TO
With player acquisitions on the mind, fantasy managers should scramble to make room for Brooklyn's Caris LeVert in any of the 40% of ESPN leagues where he's still a free agent. With Kyrie Irving dealing with a knee injury that could sideline him for several more games, LeVert has impressively averaged 26 PPG during his past two appearances and is poised to contribute as a key scoring force for Brooklyn.
Jokic had 30 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists, as a depleted Nuggets team with injuries and players lost to trades, beat the Jazz on the second night of a back-to-back while using just seven players. Jokic became the 10th player in NBA history with a 30-20-10 game. Denver played seven players, the fewest of any team in a game this season. And one of those didn't make a shot. Harris went 0-of-13 from the field, the most misses without a make in Nuggets history. Denver became the fourth team in the shot-clock era to win on the road despite having a player shoot 0-of-13 or worse from the field (Elias). On a positive note, guard Monte Morris was solid for Denver in delivering 15 points and three combined blocks and steals in 42 minutes of play.
Young netted his 12th game this season with at least 30 points and 10 dimes, tying Luka Doncic for the most such games this campaign. It also marked Young's 19th such outing of his career, third most by a player in his first two seasons, behind only Nate "Tiny" Archibald (21) and Oscar Robertson, per Elias.
Speaking of impressive young guards, the Grizzlies' Ja Morant produced 21 points while missing just two of his dozen shots from the floor, good for his second game this season with at least 20 points on 80% shooting from the field. No other rookie has one such performance this season. Memphis is flush with young talent, confirmed by solid play from Brandon Clarke, who remains a free agent in nearly a third of ESPN leagues and is providing elite scoring efficiency and helpful defensive rates.
Injuries of note
Miami's Jimmy Butler left last night's loss to the Clippers early with a shoulder ailment. We'll likely learn more about Butler's status today.
Dallas' Kristaps Porzingis broke his nose in Wednesday's loss to Memphis. If he can play through the injury, it's worth noting Porzingis has averaged 27.9 PPG and 13 RPG in seven games without Doncic in the lineup this season.
Analytics advantage for Thursday
The Chicago Bulls' depleted frontcourt includes significant injuries to Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, which has left them with a rebounding percentage of just 48% the past 10 games, 24th in the league during this sample.
This proves relevant for tonight's matchup with the surging young Pelicans, especially for those interested in streaming shares of Josh Hart (rostered in just 35.3% of ESPN leagues) -- who has become one of the league's better rebounding guards. Stacking in DFS lineups around rotational mainstays such as Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Hart and Lonzo Ball (who just pulled 14 rebounds a few nights ago) could prove rewarding.
Top players to watch on Thursday
The Rockets will face the Lakers tonight, having fully embraced their small-ball lineup by trading Clint Capela to the Hawks earlier this week. Last Friday against the Mavericks, the Rockets did not use a player taller than 6-foot-6, becoming the first team to play a game with every player 6-foot-6 or shorter since the Knicks on Jan. 31, 1963 against the Chicago Zephyrs, per Elias.
Houston has won three straight games and been out-rebounded by at least 10 in each. No team in the past 35 seasons has won four straight while being out-rebounded by 10 or more in each. Watching how P.J. Tucker and the Rockets defend and rebound against Anthony Davis and LeBron James will prove riveting, as Houston embarks on this unique path.