The Cavaliers, Knicks and Thunder pulled off a complex six-player trade Monday night, ruining daily lineups and pulling the plug on two of the night’s more interesting daily plays. Dion Waiters will join the Thunder, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are now Cavs, and three players with nonguaranteed contracts are moving to the Knicks. Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson are heading to New York from Cleveland, and Lance Thomas is going from the Thunder to New York. Additionally, the Thunder are sending a protected future first-round pick to the Cavs and the Cavs are sending their 2019 second-round pick to the Knicks. The Knicks don’t have to keep any of the players they acquired and they also cut Samuel Dalembert on Monday. They will save roughly $20 million in salary and luxury taxes with these deals, as well as have some $30 million in cap space this summer.
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This deal went down just before game time last night so Waiters and Smith were both pulled well after lineup deadlines in most leagues. Those two, along with Nick Young, were heavy plays yesterday given that Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were all in street clothes. Waiters was 66 percent owned in one of the daily tournaments I played in, so fantasy owners took a big hit.
As for the fantasy impacts, I’m sorry to say they’re negligible. Waiters goes from a solid, 30-minute bench role in Cleveland to an unknown future in OKC, but is probably in the best situation out of the group. Andre Roberson doesn’t do anything on offense and Anthony Morrow hasn’t done much off the bench, but Reggie Jackson is still around to limit his ceiling. I doubt Waiters will be worth owning in 12-team leagues, at least initially.
Smith and Shumpert were popular Knicks to own in light of Melo’s “operation shutdown,” but are now just a couple guys likely playing off of Cleveland’s bench. Smith still has some sixth-man intrigue, but the huge role we were looking at for Shumpert with the Knicks is dead, although he will give Cleveland a much-needed defensive boost. Perhaps the biggest winners in all of this are Tim Hardaway Jr., who should get all the minutes he can handle now, and Quincy Acy. THJ had 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting in a disappointing performance on Monday night, but led the team in minutes and should be owned in most leagues as long as Melo is out. Acy had 19 points and 14 rebounds on 7-of-8 shooting and also hit two 3-pointers. Cleanthony Early also played 29 minutes and is another player to keep an eye on. The Knicks certainly did not get better with these moves and should make it even more likely that Melo is about done for the year.
Sixers 96, Cavaliers 92 – Robert Covington and K.J. McDaniels both started for the Sixers again, and both scored in double figures. Michael Carter-Williams double-doubled and Henry Sims added 12 points and seven rebounds in the win. Nerlens Noel was disappointing with six point and five boards, but did have two blocks, while Tony Wroten stayed hot with 20 points and eight dimes off the bench, and hit the game-winner. Holding onto McDaniels is a good idea as long as he continues to start, but we’ll have to see what happens there once Luc Mbah a Moute (toe) and Hollis Thompson (illness) are back from their ailments.
As expected, Kevin Love went off with 28 points and 19 rebounds, and Tristan Thompson added 18 points and nine boards in the loss. Matthew Dellavedova was disappointing with three points and eight assists on 1-of-7 shooting, and Joe Harris replaced Waiters and hit four 3-pointers on his way to 16 points and four assists. Harris is worth keeping an eye on now, but should be ruined by the arrivals of Smith and Shumpert.
Hornets 104, Celtics 95 – Kemba Walker went off for 33 points and a big line, Cody Zeller had 20 points, seven boards and a block, and didn’t miss a shot, and Gerald Henderson stayed hot with 13 points, eight dimes, a steal and two blocks in the win. Bismack Biyombo had 10 rebounds and two blocks, but as usual, scored just four points in 27 minutes. Marvin Williams played 30 minutes off the bench and had 10 points, eight rebounds, a block and a 3-pointer, and is also worth keeping a close eye on with Al Jefferson out for the next several weeks.
Jared Sullinger (22 points, four blocks) was the only starter to do anything last night for Boston, as Jeff Green, Tyler Zeller, Avery Bradley and Evan Turner were all big disappointments. Green made his first two shots then went 1-of-11, and rookie James Young, who had scored a total of 11 points all season had 12 last night. Coach Brad Stevens said after the game he needs to figure out his rotations and get his team playing better basketball, and I agree with him on both counts.
Mavericks 96, Nets 88 – Rajon Rondo couldn’t make a shot last night and had just two points on 1-of-13 shooting, but he still came through with 10 rebounds and 14 assists. His move to Dallas ha been better than I thought it would be. Dirk Nowitzki hit a clutch 3-pointer in overtime that moved him past Moses Malone and into seventh place on the all-time scoring list.
Brook Lopez made a surprising start alongside Mason Plumlee and hit 9-of-12 shots in the first quarter and finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds, a steal and four blocks. Joe Johnson and Jarrett Jack took over the rest of the way, while Deron Williams sat out with a sore left side. Any time Williams is out, Jack makes for a great play. Bro-Lo started because Kevin Garnett was held out for rest again, but it did quiet Plumlee down, as he had just seven points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Bulls 114, Rockets 105 – Pau Gasol stayed hot, Jimmy Butler returned with a bang and Derrick Rose just missed a double-double with 19 points and nine assists. Joakim Noah blocked six shots and Kirk Hinrich was in the starting lineup as the Bulls handled the Rockets. Nikola Mirotic also came through with 17 points and eight rebounds, but is too inconsistent to be relied upon.
Josh Smith came off the bench and had 21 points, six rebounds and three steals, as Donatas Motiejunas had 16 points and six boards in the start. Dwight Howard, Patrick Beverley and James Harden all played relatively well, while Trevor Ariza’s shot is still broken. Harden has actually been a bit disappointing over the couple games (7-of-22 shooting last night), so he should be about ready for a monster game. If Motiejunas was dropped in your league, he’s worth a look as long as he continues to start over Smith.
Grizzlies 105, Knicks 83 – Memphis had their way with the Knicks, even without Zach Randolph (knee) and didn’t need any starter to play more than 28 minutes. There was nothing to learn from this game, although Tony Allen’s seven steals was a highlight.
Nuggets 110, Timberwolves 101 – Arron Afflalo blew up for 34 points and four 3-pointers, and Jusuf Nurkic, J.J. Hickson and Nate Robinson all played well off the bench for the Nuggets. Timofey Mozgov has fallen off a cliff with the emergence of Nurkic and I’ve dropped him in my leagues. Wilson Chandler was also disappointing, playing 41 minutes but scoring just four points on 2-of-7 shooting. He’ll bounce back.
The Wolves saw all five starters hit double figures, led by Gorgui Dieng’s double-double. They also got 17 points, seven assists and three 3-pointers from Mo Williams, who replaced Zach LaVine as a starter, while Shabazz Muhammad and Andrew Wiggins stayed red hot for the Wolves. If Williams continues to start he’s worth owning until Ricky Rubio returns in the next couple weeks.
Wizards 92, Pelicans 85 – John Wall led the Wizards with 15 points and 12 assists in the win. Much like the Hawks, the Wizards play as a team and no one has to score all the points. Wall’s the star, but they get contributions across the board. Bradley Beal hit 3-of-10 shots for six points as the Wizards won a defensive battle.
Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans both went off, and Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday played reasonably well, but the Hornets couldn’t get by the Wizards. Omer Asik is though to love right now and had just two points, eight boards and a block, but at least he’s better than Mozgov.
Jazz 101, Pacers 105 – With Enes Kanter out again with a sprained ankle, Derrick Favors went off for 24 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks, while Rudy Gobert was disappointing with 11 points, four rebounds and three blocks in another start. He’ll take a hit once Kanter is back, but I’d hold onto him going forward. Trey Burke was out with strep throat and Dante Exum had 13 points and three 3-pointers in the start, but didn’t have an assist. I like him with Alec Burks done for the season, but Joe Ingles got the start for Burks last night and had eight points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals. He’s a guy to keep a close eye on and might be worth a pick up if he’s going to stick in the starting lineup.
The Pacers welcomed back C.J. Watson, who started and had nine points and two 3-pointers, but just one assist. Starters David West, Solomon Hill, Roy Hibbert and Rodney Stuckey all scored in double figures, while Luis Scola and C.J. Miles did so off the bench. For those of us who started Donald Sloan in hopes that Watson wasn’t going to play, we got burned, as Sloan had five points and three assists in 22 minutes off the bench.
Blazers 98, Lakers 94 – The Lakers were able to hang with the Blazers, but Portland got the win behind 39 points and a full stat line from Damian Lillard, as well as 21 points and eight boards from LaMarcus Aldridge. With those two accounting for so many points it was a disappointing night for Nicolas Batum, Chris Kaman and Wesley Matthews. Kaman got the start at center with Joel Freeland out with a shoulder injury, and it’s possible he keeps the job going forward. If it happens, he’ll become a hot pickup.
Kobe Bryant got the night off for rest and Nick Young wasn’t in the starting lineup after we were initially told he’d be there. Jordan Hill finally had a big game with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and given his poor play of late, he might have been dropped in your league. Hopefully this is a sign he’s going to get hot again. Ed Davis struggled with four points and four rebounds, but I’m not too worried, while Ronnie Price came through with 11 points and eight assists. Jeremy Lin had 14 points and two assists off the bench as the timeshare continues. Wayne Ellington started for Kobe and had 13 points and two 3-pointers, but Kobe should be back for the next one. As for Young, my prediction on Twitter was wrong, as I was hoping he’d break out of his funk and have a big night with Kobe out. But the reality is that he hasn’t played well when Kobe’s in street clothes, and that was true last night as he hit just 3-of-13 shots for 11 points. My sincere apologies if you listened to me and played him because of it. I'll keep my mouth shut tonight.
Warriors 117, Thunder 91 – The Warriors crushed the Thunder last night and were led by Harrison Barnes’ 23 points, seven boards and 5-of-5 3-point shooting. He was feeling it. Draymond Green had another double-double and a big line, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson played well, and only Marreese Speights was disappointing for the starters with six points and six boards in 17 minutes. David Lee had eight points and eight rebounds off the bench, and I’m glad I didn’t invest in him this season. Justin Holiday had 12 points and two 3-pointers off the bench and is officially someone to keep an eye on going forward after his third straight solid line.
Kevin Durant hit just 3-of-16 shots for 14 points and 10 rebounds, Serge Ibaka was 2-of-7 for four points, five boards and two blocks, and Russell Westbrook hit just 5-of-21 shots for 22 points, seven boards and five assists in the loss, and they were simply manhandled by the Dubs. Anthony Morrow came through with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but will take a hit with the arrival of Waiters.
Hawks 107, Clippers 98 – And finally, my Hawks stayed red hot and beat the Clippers in L.A. as Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Al Horford and Jeff Teague all played well in the starting lineup. Kyle Korver had a quiet night and Pero Antic had 13 points and two 3-pointers off the bench. The Hawks are winning the East with a 26-8 record and continue to confound their critics with some amazing team play. Mike Budenholzer’s system is really working for them.
All five Clippers starters played well and scored in double figures and Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan double-doubled again, but they couldn’t stop the A Train. After such a busy night things really slow down on Tuesday with just two games.