D.J. Augustin: He’s Orlando’s new starting point guard with Elfrid Payton shipped to Phoenix. Augustin sports a 5/1 A:TO ratio over seven starts this year, and he’s available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo leagues…Elfrid Payton’s value likely remains similar, while Tyler Ulis can safely be dropped in all formats. Jonathan Simmons is going to get all the run he can handle now and is going to be a fantasy difference maker down the stretch.
Tyreke Evans: Memphis was holding a healthy Evans out of games recently in hopes of dealing him, but a trade never materialized, so he should immediately reenter the Grizzlies’ rotation. Standing pat is good news, as Evans’ Usage Rate (28.0) is a career high and ranks top-25 in the NBA, ahead of Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker and LaMarcus Aldridge, among others. Mike Conley is out for the season, so Evans’ production should remain high.
Julius Randle: Larry Nance was moved to Cleveland (20 years after they traded for his dad), freeing up frontcourt minutes for Randle, who’s averaged 18.9 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 57.8 percent from the floor over the past eight games. Brook Lopez gets an uptick in value too and immediately becomes a nice DFS play with his cheap price tag, but Randle is 23 years old and the player with upside. His lack of outside shot may not be ideal as a four in today’s game, but he’s thrived as an undersized center on a Lakers team that leads the NBA in Pace.
Isaiah Thomas: That Pace should also help Thomas, who joins a young Lakers squad where he should immediately rack up a high Usage Rate (although there’s some concern LA has little reason to showcase him given the likelihood he leaves via free agency after the season). Thomas was likely to play better in Cleveland the further he was removed from the hip injury anyway, and his new location should only help that improvement…Jordan Clarkson’s value should remain relatively the same. Ditto Dwyane Wade‘s.
George Hill: Hill was traded to Cleveland, where he’s now the starting point guard. He’ll be learning a new offense, but so will essentially the rest of the team other than LeBron James. Hill was clearly uninterested in playing in Sacramento, so it’s safe to expect a rejuvenated version moving forward. He’s still available in more than 40 percent of leagues and was a top-65 player last year…With Hill gone, De’Aaron Fox will see all the point guard minutes he can handle on the young Kings, and he gets a boost.
LeBron James: It’s hard to fault the Cavs blowing up their roster given their current state, and I give them credit for making such drastic moves (during an otherwise boring trade deadline). They now project to be much improved on defense, and to what extent that will hurt the offense will ultimately determine how far this completely revamped team goes in the postseason. And with no Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love or Isaiah Thomas, there’s an argument for James as the top fantasy player from here on out. He’s going to be a monster.
Frank Ntilikina and Jarrett Jack: Emmanuel Mudiay was dealt to New York, making the PG situation crowded. I’d gamble on the new guy of the three in deeper leagues, but none is likely to have much fantasy value. (The Knicks do, however, have the biggest gainer of the week, as Michael Beasley’s value skies way up with Kristaps Porzingis out for the season. Beasley has averaged 20.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 block while shooting 54.5 percent from the field in seven starts this season and is owned in barely 50 percent of leagues.)
Boban Marjanovic and Montrezl Harrell: Two Clippers bigs many were holding in anticipation of a DeAndre Jordan deal that never happened who can now be dropped. It’s too bad, as Marjanovic has legit fantasy potential. Free Boban…Austin Rivers was another on the Clippers I fully advocated stashing who can now be let go, as not only was DJ not traded, neither was Avery Bradley, and Lou Williams re-signed.
There weren’t major fantasy losers at this year’s trade deadline, other than maybe the fan, as it wasn’t too busy, with a lot of rumored movement proving false. But the Cavaliers completely retooling is interesting, and the Lakers are clearly gearing up to make major moves during the offseason. Here’s to an exciting rest of the year.