In fantasy, the trade deadline is one of the most crucial moments of the year for your team. Guys who were once buried on the depth chart can all of a sudden become starters, making the waiver wire considerably deeper in the blink of an eye. If you do enough research, you can have an idea of who might be getting moved where ahead of time, allowing you to be a move ahead of the rest of your league.
Luckily, this article does a lot of the work for you. You’ll still have to come back and check out what actually goes down on the 3:00 p.m., February 21 deadline, but here are a few players who have been mentioned in talks throughout the year.
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HELLO, MY NAME IS: Al Jefferson
Of all the players on this list, I think Jefferson is most likely to be moved. There were reports suggesting that Jefferson could be shipped off to San Antonio, which makes tons of sense for Utah and it’s gluttony of bigs. It would have been difficult for them to re-sign both Jefferson and Paul Millsap in the offseason, so they might as well get something for him while they can.
POSSIBLE LANDING SPOTS: San Antonio
I thought Derrick Favors was the one to own all year long in case of a deal in Utah, but a Jefferson move means Enes Kanter is the next young big to step up. Favors’ ceiling could have been around 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks if it was Paul Millsap being dealt, but instead he’ll continue coming off the bench. He may see a slight bump in minutes and holds value in blocks alone, but his full potential can’t be reached until he logs starter minutes. Kanter is found gold if he’s going to get 30-plus minutes a night. He’s built like a house at 6-11 and 250 pounds, and has the potential to dominate the usual big man categories (field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks) as well as shooting 80 percent from the free throw line. Millsap’s value remains mostly the same.
As for San Antonio, it totally depends on what they would be giving up. They don’t have a ton of assets so you have to figure it would be some combination of Tiago Splitter, who would lose pretty much all of his value if he were sent to Utah, and future draft picks. Kawhi Leonard might be on his way too, but given Gregg Popovich’s affinity for him, San Antonio will probably hold on to him if they can.
HELLO, MY NAME IS: Josh Smith
Trading Joe Johnson in the offseason should have opened a world of opportunities for J-Smoove, but still, he seems to have worn out his welcome in Atlanta. After a team-sanctioned one-game suspension, trade rumors surfaced and it’s assumed that Atlanta could get a ton in return for him. The Hawks started the season off hot, but have come crashing back down to earth, making it all the more likely that Smoove could be sent on his way.
POSSIBLE LANDING SPOTS: Phoenix, Dallas
It’s scary to think of the type of stat lines that a motivated Josh Smith could put up on a different team, although from a fantasy perspective he’s probably better off in Phoenix than Dallas. The subtraction of Smoove means a huge spike in Al Horford’s numbers assuming they wouldn’t be getting a dominant post player in return. Zaza Pachulia would likely be the starting center, possibly putting his value at a career-high.
Neither Phoenix nor Dallas has a ton to give up in return for a stud like Smoove, so a lot of the research here involves educated guessing. For the Suns, the only talent worth trading would be Goran Dragic (not a fit in Atlanta plus he just signed long term in Phoenix), Michael Beasley (at this point, who really believes he hasn’t reached his full potential?) and Kendall Marshall (even if he’s dealt, his role would be the same behind Jeff Teague). The Mavericks’ young trade-worthy talent consists of Darren Collison (not a fit in Atlanta), Rodrigue Beaubois (could actually be a handy little Lou Williams replacement), Bernard James, Jared Cunningham and Jae Crowder (all fantasy irrelevant). For the most part, Dallas would be offering nothing more than cap relief.