Trade Analysis and Fantasy Value Implications: Dwight Howard to the Lakers

Dwight Howard won big and the Orlando Magic were the big losers.  Reports this morning have Howard going to the Los Angeles Lakers to join Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.  That should put the Lakers in a good spot to take the title in the West.  The only concern is Howard’s health.  Back injuries can be tricky, but Howard is supposed to return for camp 100%.  We’ll see.

Here’s the players on the move in this big one:  LA gets Howard, Philadelphia gets Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson, Orlando gets Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless.

Dwight Howard’s fantasy ranking and projection doesn’t change much, he’s still the number one center on the board and a first round pick.  The only effect that I can see in LA is on Pau Gasol and his rebound numbers.  When LA puts Howard in the middle, then Pau should shift out more to the perimeter, which could help his offensive game, but hurt his rebounding and shot blocking.  Steve Nash should have a field day feeding Howard.  It could also be a big help to Kobe if opponents try to double up on Howard and leave the perimeter open.

Andrew Bynum will now be the starting center in Philadelphia and the focal point of that offense.  I have Bynum as my number two center in the rankings, but this move really closes the gap between Howard and Bynum.  The Sixers will ask Bynum to be everything and I expect that his stat projections will rise sharply since he doesn’t have to compete with the likes of Kobe, Nash and Gasol in the offense.  Now he only has to compete with Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes.  Big difference.

The two guys hurt in Philly are Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown.  There’s really no reason to keep both guys on the roster now, so maybe there’s another trade brewing.  I’ve seen some talk of the Sixers moving Hawes to PF, but I just don’t see that working.

A couple  of guys who could benefit are Dorell Wright and Thaddeus Young.  With Iguodala now out of the picture, the Sixers have to fill the starting SF spot and I’d expect that Young gets first shot, unless they decide to go with a starting five of Holiday, Turner, Wright, Young and Bynum, while using Jason Richardson, Lavoy Allen, Hawes and Brown as a second unit.  Either way, Dorell Wright is definitely helped since he only has Young, but not Iguodala, to compete with for minutes.

Jason Richardson has a chance to work his way back into some decent minutes if he can beat out Evan Turner for the starting SG spot.  Even if he becomes a source of scoring off the bench with the second unit, he will still be a valuable source of threes in fantasy leagues.

Andre Iguodala finally gets out of Philadelphia and fantasy owners should be thrilled about the change of scenery.  For the last couple of seasons it’s seemed like his talents were being used incorrectly and pretty much wasted by the coaching staff in Philly.   He’s now in Denver and should step into either the starting SG or SF spot, depending on how George Karl wants to play it.  The Nuggets currently have Danilo Gallinari at small forward and Wilson Chandler at shooting guard after trading away Arron Afflalo.  I’m guessing that he starts at shooting guard since Wilson Chandler can pretty much go at either SG or SF.

Orlando really didn’t get much in this trade and it seems like the previous Brook Lopez discussion would have been a much better return for Howard.   Arron Afflalo is probably the best player that they got in this deal, but from a fantasy perspective he’s still going to be competing for minutes with J.J. Redick, so his fantasy value is a bit cloudy until roles are defined in camp.

Al Harrington could be a big winner if the Magic decide to plug him in at center.  He’s got a great scoring touch and can shoot the three, which is a bonus from the center position.  The other option here is to use Harrington to basically act as a replacement for Ryan Anderson at PF since both guys play the same kind of perimeter game.  If they go  this route, Glen Davis will lose some minutes at the PF spot.

If the Magic decide not to go with Harrington at center, they could instead turn to the other guy acquired in this deal, Nikola Vucevic.  Vucevic was the odd man out in Philly with Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown already on the roster, so this move definitely gives him a shot at being fantasy relevant.  Vucevic has some size at 7’0, 240 pounds, but he’s still pretty raw at just 21 years old.  He got about 16 minutes a game in his rookie season and his per/36 numbers were pretty decent at 12.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks.

Moe Harkless has to like getting out of the crowded SF competition in Philadelphia.  The Magic currently have Hedo Turkoglu at small forward, but I really think that he might also be on his way out of Orlando with the Magic clearly in rebuilding mode.  If Turkoglu gets shipped out, then Harkless could get a chance at decent minutes.

Free Agency Action and Complete Initial Fantasy Draft Rankings

I’ve spent the last week getting the initial 2012-2013 fantasy draft rankings together and you can find them on the right side of the homepage or on the 2012-2013 Draft  Rankings Tab.  I’ll be updating these throughout the offseason, so check for new weekly rankings.

Free Agency has really slowed and we are mostly down to teams filling their bench slots and reserve roles.  Here’s the moves that have happened this week:

Greg Stiemsma signs with the Minnesota Timberwolves.  (Source:

The Celtics filled the backup center spot vacated by Steimsma with Jason Collins.  (Source:

The Celtics acquired Courtney Lee from Houston in exchange for E’Twaun Moore, JaJuan Johnson, Sean Williams and future second round pick.  Boston also had to send Sasha Pavlovic, two second round picks and cash to Portland to complete the deal.(Source:  ESPN)

The Celtics signed Keyon Dooling to a one year deal to backup Rajon Rondo.  (Source:

Brookly signed CJ Watson to backup Deron Williams.  (Source:

New York Knicks signed shooting guard Ronnie Brewer.  (Source:

New York Knicks sign Pablo Prigioni to backup Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd.  (Source:

Utah Jazz signed Randy Foye.  He’ll be competing for minutes with Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks and CJ Miles.  (Source:

Chicago Bulls sign Nazr Mohammed to backup Joakim Noah.  (Source:

Delonte West will return to the Mavericks for another season.  (Source: ESPN Dallas)

Kirk Hinrich has signed with the Chicago Bulls.  (Source:  Chicago Tribune)

Washington Wizards signed A. J. Price to backup John Wall.  (Source:

Houston Rockets sign Omer Asik for three years, $25 million.  (Source:  Houston Chronicle)


More NBA Free Agency Signings and Transactions, Luis Scola Done in Houston

NBA Free Agency keeps rolling along and there have been some interesting moves over the weekend.  Probably the most interesting was the Houston Rockets using their get out of jail free amnesty card on Luis Scola.  Say goodbye to Houston Luis.  It smells like a move for Dwight Howard, but will it work?

Phoenix Suns acquire Luis Scola with amnesty auction bid.  (Source:  Valley of the Suns)

CJ Watson signs with the Brooklyn Nets where he’ll backup Deron Williams.  (Source:  ESPN Chicago)

The Dallas Mavericks claimed Elton Brand with an amnesty auction bid.  (Source:

The Sacramento Kings acquired James Johnson from the Toronto Raptors.  (Source:  Raptors Republic)

Kyle Korver has been acquired by the Atlanta Hawks.  (Source:

The Indiana Pacers signed DJ Augustin to a one year, $3.5 million deal.  (Source: Indy Cornrows)

The Detroit Pistons signed Kyle Singler to a three year, $3.1 million contract. (Source:  Piston Powered)

Milwaukee Bucks signed Ersan Ilyasova to a five year, $45 million deal.  (Source:

Brendan Haywood has been claimed off of waivers by the Charlotte Bobcats.  (Source:  Queen City Hoops)

Phoenix Suns used their amnesty provision on Josh Childress.  There’s a chance he could end up back in Atlanta.  (Source:  Peach Tree Hoops)

Minnesota Timberwolves used their amnesty provision on Darko Milicic.  (Source:  Canis Hoopus)

Portland signed JJ Hickson to a one year, $4 million deal.  (Source:  Blazers Edge)

The New York Knicks acquired Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas from Portland in exhange for Jared Jeffries and Dan Gadzuric.  (Source:  Blazers Edge)

Jamal Crawford Joins the Los Angeles Clippers as Sixth Man

The Los Angeles Clippers agreed to a deal with Jamal Crawford for four years, $25 million.

Fantasy Advice:  Crawford will once again be a contender for sixth man of the year with his new team.  He’ll backup Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups and should get around 30 minutes a game.

Crawford is a scorer, but also has the ability to make plays when he needs to.  He’s averaged nearly 4 assists a game over his career and should hit that mark this season in LA.  He’s not a great three point shooter with a 34.8% career mark, but he’ll definitely help you in that category by launching at least four threes a game this season.

His biggest help to LA this season will be his ability to create his own shot.  If he’s subbing for Paul or Billups, then there’s one less playmaker on the floor for the Clippers, which isn’t quite as harmful if Crawford doesn’t need the help.

Another little known fact is that Crawford lead the league last season in free throw percentage with a 92.7% mark.  He got to the line 3.4 times a game, so fantasy owners can definitely use him to bolster that category.

Overall, Crawford is a great fantasy asset that helps in assists, points, threes, steals and free throw percentage.  He can probably be had in the middle rounds too, which is fairly cheap for all that he provides.

Steve Nash Will Play for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-2013

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Steve Nash with a sign and trade deal for three years, $25 million.

Fantasy Advice:  If Derek Fisher could lead the team to a championship, just think what Steve Nash might be able to do.  Nash will step in at PG and with all the weapons LA has, he could lead the league in assists this season.  He just moved sharply up the fantasy point guard rankings.

Nash saw his 2011-2012 stats sink to a near career low, but I expect that this move will give him new life and a chance at a title.  I’m projecting him at:

33.0 MPG, 15.5 points, 12.0 assists, 3.5 turnovers, 2.0 threes with excellent percentages.

The move also signals the end for Ramon Sessions in LA.  Sessions had an opportunity for fantasy relevance, but his opting out of the final year with the Lakers, combined with this move, will force him to seek a job elsewhere.