by Will Overton
The trade deadline is still over a month away now, but the action is already starting as teams begin to identify their needs. Teams are also starting to make decisions on which direction their team is headed in for this season.
There were a couple of trades that went down this week. One more prominent and one more under the radar. Both trades could have some fantasy significance though going forward. Here is my breakdown of both deal and their impacts:
Luol Deng traded from the Chicago Bulls to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Bynum
The Cavs killed two birds with one stone in this deal. Cleveland desperately needed a reliable, veteran, scoring presence on the wing. More specifically at the small forward position where the Cavs have been cycling players in and out without ever finding the right fit. The other thing they did was unload Andrew Bynum which was clearly an experiment gone wrong.
Deng is a nice fit in Cleveland. Deng has never really been a number one option on offense, he’s always been better as a sidekick like he was with Derrick Rose. Deng will play that role in Cleveland next to Kyrie Irving. Deng has been averaging 19.0 PPG and 6.9 RPG in 37.4 MPG. My belief is that those numbers stay somewhat similar. He may drop a point or two per game playing with Irving and Dion Waiters, but I don’t expect a big change. What I am hoping will change is his three-point shooting. Deng is averaging just 0.7 3PG this season which is tough for fantasy owners. Not being the primary focus of the defense in Cleveland will hopefully give him some more open looks.
The loss of Andrew Bynum in Cleveland is likely to increase the value of Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson, even if just slightly. I am also kind of hoping the free spot in the frontcourt rotation may give Anthony Bennett some more time at power forward which I think he is a better fit at. I wouldn’t be grabbing Bennett in too many leagues yet, but I would keep an eye on him.
As for Bynum’s value, it is still to be determined. For the Bulls it was a cap move and they have already cut him loose. I assume he will catch on with another team sooner rather than later. I just don’t know what kind of an impact he is going to have as his play has been wildly inconsistent.
The ripple effects in Chicago are what is more interesting. The absence of Deng opens up a starting spot for Mike Dunleavy. Dunleavy has been playing a fair amount of minutes already because of injuries, so he doesn’t get a ton more value, but he does have more security. He’s still mostly a 12 – 14 team league guy, and a standard league add if you need the threes he’ll bring.
Tony Snell might be an interesting one to watch now though. The rookie has shown some flashes of his upside early this season filling in at times. Snell could be another good source of three-point shooting in deep leagues, especially if he can get 20 – 25 minutes per game.
The only other thing to add is that Jimmy Butler is most likely going to be taking on a bigger scoring role out of this. With Derrick Rose hurt and Joakim Noah not the most well-rounded offensive player, Butler may be the go to guy at this point on offense. It may hurt his FG% with the increased role, but his overall numbers should see a bump up.
The Memphis Grizzlies Traded Jerryd Bayless to the Boston Celtics for Courtney Lee
There was another piece to this deal in terms of Ryan Gomes going from Oklahoma City to Boston, but Bayless and Lee are the fantasy impact players. It’s not an earth shattering move, but it could have some impact for fantasy players.
With Bayless I have been hoping to see him in another situation where he might get more playing time. However, I’m not totally sure this is the situation I was hoping for. Bayless isn’t likely going to take on a bigger role in Boston, despite it being a far less talented team. Bayless will be a backup to both guard spots in Boston and maybe he’ll see a little increase in shots and scoring, but it might only be temporary. Rajon Rondo will likely be back at the end of this month which is going to push Bayless’ minutes further down.
I do kind of like Courtney Lee in Memphis as a sneaky add though. Lee’s minutes were so inconsistent in Boston that a change of scenery was in order. Lee has a good opportunity with Tony Allen sidelined for a couple of weeks to really make an immediate impact. The Grizzlies needed a scorer who could hit threes at the shooting guard position to complement Tony Allen’s defensive focused game.
Lee is a shooter who can really fill it up when he gets a chance to do it. Hopefully he gets that chance in Memphis and taking a flier on him in deep leagues might not be a bad idea. I’d rather have Dunleavy if I had the choice because of security in playing time, but if he’s not an option Lee could be a three-point specialist sleeper.