In today's edition, we'll be finishing up this series with a look at deadline takeaway for the Atlantic Division.
If you missed it, here are the other five breakdowns for the deadline.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have already made their main moves at the deadline when they sent Kristaps Porzingis, Trey Burke, Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. to Dallas for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews. The Knicks could try to make a play for Anthony Davis, but they really don’t have the ammo. They cleared their two max spots for the summer and they’ll be looking to make a play for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins and others. While they’ve made their main move, the Knicks still have some unfinished business at the deadline with as many as 10 players hitting free agency next summer.
Enes Kanter is right at the top of the list. Coach David Fizdale has kept him out of the rotation and it’s led to some “we want Kanter” chants at MSG. Last summer, Kanter picked up his player option for this season, and he must have known he would be firmly on the trade block with the Knicks set for a rebuild. Even if the Knicks can’t strike a deal, he’ll almost certainly be bought out after the deadline. There was some interest from the Kings last month, but the emergence of Harry Giles may have changed that. Kanter should probably still be owned in most leagues, but he’ll have a hard time finding a team where he can play 26-30 minutes per game. This could make Mitchell Robinson an attractive add, but he's fouling too much to get huge minutes anyway.
Noah Vonleh has made himself some money this year. He’ll be a free agent this summer, and the Knicks are almost certainly going to try to get something for his expiring deal. They don’t have his bird rights, so there really is no benefit to keeping him outside of just being nice. When he’s traded from the Knicks, his fantasy value will likely plummet, making him a drop in most leagues.
The Knicks haven’t said if they’re going to buy out Wesley Matthews or DeAndre Jordan, but those two figure to get plenty of interest. Matthews has as many as five teams after him, but he will likely lose minutes on a contender. It’s going to be tougher for the Knicks to deal Jordan with his $22.9 million contract for this season, so a buyout makes sense despite what the team says. Zion Williamson is good. Emmanuel Mudiay is a restricted free agent this summer, but the Knicks’ interest in him likely decreased with Dennis Smith Jr. arriving to the Big Apple. Even if he stays, it’s going to be the DSJ show.
Speaking of DSJ, coach David Fizdale has some high hopes for the guard. “I want to put the ball in his hands a lot and get him out in the open court and get him a lot of space. Give him some freedom to make some mistakes," Fizdale said. "At the same time, I want to challenge him to do more defensively. To think more of himself defensively. But man, there's no doubt about it. The kid's a talent, and hopefully we can bring it out consistently." On a team without much offensive punch, DSJ should be busy. Plus, in his 146 minutes without Luka this year, DSJ has per-36 stats of 17.5 points, 6.2 boards, 7.9 dimes, 1.2 steals, 1.0 blocks and 1.5 treys on a 50 TS% and 24.1 usage rate with a +6.0 net rating (-4.2 with Luka). He’ll have his bad efficiency games, but the counting stats should pile up.
Besides the aforementioned upcoming free agents, maybe the Knicks will throw in Mario Hezonja, Luke Kornet (restricted), Isaiah Hicks (restricted) and Kadeem Allen (restricted) to make the money work on other deals. Sure, those guys could see boosts in playing time if the Knicks gut the roster, but there’s no need to stash them until we see how it plays out. Lance Thomas is still on the cap sheet for 2019-20 and Damyean Dotson is also going to be restricted in the summer of 2020.
That leaves two players left: Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier. The Knicks have a team option for Trier next summer, so presumably they would want to get a big sample on him to decide where he fits their 2019-20 plans. Since his 31-point explosion, Trier has been brutal over his last six,averaging 8.7 points, 2.8 boards, 2.3 dimes, 0.5 steals and 0.8 treys on a 42/46/91 shooting line. He should still be held in most 12-team leagues, but he’s not a must-hold guy if a hot pickup emerges.
Kevin Knox just hasn’t been able to do anything in fantasy this year. Since he started wearing a left thumb brace on Dec. 19, he’s made just 33.7% of his jumpers. Plus, he’s been terrible at the rim at just 51.7% for only 21.4% of his shot total in that span. The rookie still has shown he can’t score off the dribble yet either. He’s not a strong rebounder and he hasn’t blocked a shot in any of his last seven. He’s pretty much just a points-streaming option in 16-team leagues, and him getting more shots may not be a positive given his 36.6 FG% in January. No thanks.
Besides some talk of the Nets being in the mix for AD, there has been very little chatter about the Nets making a trade this week, but they will be getting an impact player in their lineup after the deadline. That’s Caris LeVert, who is practicing with the G League squad this week and go through 5-on-5 work for the first time since his dislocated foot back on Nov. 12. LeVert has been doing some on-court stuff since at least December. While the smart money is on him making a return just after the All-Star break, you’re obviously picking him up.
At the time of the injury, LeVert was the Nets’ leading scorer at 19.0 points per game, adding 4.2 boards, 3.7 dimes, 1.3 steals and 1.5 treys on a 48/33/72 shooting line. Coach Kenny Atkinson used LeVert as a closer with Spencer Dinwiddie the majority of the time. D’Angelo Russell was actually fourth on the team in scoring in the fourth, and worse yet he was sixth on the team in fourth-quarter minutes -- no missed games for injury either. In the last five without Spencer, Russell isn’t even tops in the fourth in the last five games without Dinwiddie and LeVert, ranking third in fourth-quarter minutes (DeMarre Carroll, Shabazz Napier). Russell could be taking a hit upon the return of LeVert.
Allen Crabbe is also set to return on Wednesday against the Nuggets. He practiced with the G League team this week and the Nets recalled him to the big club this morning. Crabbe was on fire from deep in December, scoring 14.8 points with 4.5 boards, 1.3 dimes, 1.2 steals and 3.8 treys in those six. His return will cut into Napier’s value, Rodions Kurucs will lose run, and presumably it would move Treveon Graham out of the rotation. If you have Kurucs, Graham or Napier, it might be time to make a proactive cut for a hot free agent. Besides all that, there's not much fantasy owners can do with their Nets leading up to the deadline.
Never count out Danny Ainge to make a deal at the deadline, and needless to say they have some interesting contract decisions coming up this summer: Kyrie Irving (player), Al Horford (player), Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier (restricted), Daniel Theis (restricted), Aron Baynes (player), Brad Wanamaker (restricted), P.J. Dozier (restricted) and R.J. Hunter. The Celtics also have their first-round picks, Sacramento’s top-one protected pick this year, Memphis’ top-eight protected pick in 2019, and the Clippers’ lottery-protected pick this year, as well.
The mainstream story here is the Celtics going after Anthony Davis this summer. They can’t get him at the deadline unless they deal away Kyrie Irving, but Ainge has encouraged the Pelicans to wait until the offseason to make a deal. All those draft picks clearly make the Celtics the best equipped to make an AD deal this summer. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports the Celtics have “refused to directly dangle” Jayson Tatum, but the Pelicans have the impression that nothing is off the table. So if they can’t get AD at the deadline (and they won't), the primary goal will likely be to accumulate as many assets to make a sweeter offer, preferably without Tatum in a package.
Based on coach Brad Stevens’ comments, the Celtics might not be too active at the deadline. "I like our roster a lot," Stevens said. It’s obviously not his call, but if the Celtics take a chunk out of their roster right now to make a better case for AD, will that rub Kyrie Irving the wrong way? Irving will do what’s best for him and he doesn’t owe anybody anything, per Irving in different words.
The first player that comes to mind in a trade would be Terry Rozier. It’ll be difficult to re-sign him in the summer, and perhaps some teams will take a shot on him to give him a trial run after the break. They won’t be able to get a haul for Rozier, but his play as a starter has been enough to garner interest: 15.0 points, 5.6 boards, 6.1 dimes, 1.9 steals and 2.5 treys on a 47/42//94 shooting line in eight games. The problem with dealing Rozier is they’d be stuck if Kyrie Irving (hip) got hurt because they really can’t count on Marcus Smart to run the point or put Brad Wanamaker in there. Rozier should already be owned right now because Irving didn’t travel on Tuesday, but maybe you can trade for him on the cheap. Marcus Morris’ expiring deal is interesting, but he’s having a career year and there’s almost no chance he would be traded.
There’s really no reason to trade younger assets like Robert Williams unless a team gives him an offer they can’t refuse. Besides the Rozier factor, most fantasy owners should stand pat on Celtics players leading up to the deadline.
Like most of these teams in this division, the 76ers have likely already made their big move for this season when they added Jimmy Butler. With Wilson Chandler (quad) hurt yet again, it’s very clear that the 76ers want another PF/C to add to their rotation. Of course, their most interesting trade chip is Markelle Fultz. A lot of rebuilding teams would be wise to at least throw an offer at the 76ers, but it all depends on how low the 76ers would be willing to go for a No. 1 pick on a rookie deal. If the 76ers did try to unload him, you would think him for Nikola Mirotic would be too much for Philly given Mirotic being hurt all the time this year. Maybe the Hawks go after him with a package of Dewayne Dedmon and Taurean Prince? Whatever the case, there’s no reason to stash Fultz until we see him stay healthy and play well.
Besides the Fultz factor, the 76ers have some free agents for this summer: Jimmy Butler (player), Wilson Chandler, J.J. Redick, T.J. McConnell, Justin Patton, Furkan Korkmaz, Mike Muscala and Amir Johnson. The 76ers won’t be dealing away Redick and McConnell, and really don’t have any other trade chips besides Fultz.
The Raptors are reportedly in on the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, but it’s not going to be easy with a lack of picks. Zach Lowe of ESPN also adds the Raptors could make a deal to drop their luxury tax, which also suggests the Raptors may not be big players at the deadline. After all, they already made their big splash in the summer. The Raptors biggest concern at the deadline will be if Kawhi Leonard will stay beyond this season. Leonard hasn’t played in back-to-back sets, but he’s said he’s going to continue to just focus on this season. The Raptors' primary focus is to make a run to the Finals and hope it can convince Kawhi to stay.
The Raptors have a lot of potential free agents coming up this summer: Kawhi Leonard (player), Danny Green, Jonas Valanciunas (player), C.J. Miles (player), Delon Wright (restricted), Greg Monroe, Malachi Richardson, Chris Boucher (restricted) and Patrick McCaw. There’s not much there except if they feel they can trust Fred VanVleet and think they can’t bring back Delon. That would make him probably the only Raptor player worth a stash in deeper leagues.
The Raptors were pretty much off the radar for a Kawhi deal in the summer, so maybe they can do something to add another star. That would likely mean they would have to part ways with the favorite for Most Improved Player Pascal Siakam. However, there’s really no other fantasy impact for one of the league’s best teams.