Trade deadline week is here, and we’ve already had a major deal consummated. On Sunday, Brooklyn traded Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris to Dallas, with the Mavericks sending Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, an unprotected 2029 first-round pick, and second-round picks in 2027 and 2029. Dallas gets a star to pair up with Luka Dončić, but the move comes with considerable risk. In addition to Irving’s past availability issues, he’ll be a free agent this summer, which puts more pressure on the Mavs to get this right. As for Brooklyn, not only did the Nets acquire the two Mavericks players they coveted the most, but they were also able to get some draft assets. They can hold onto those picks or use them as sweeteners in an attempt to improve the roster around Kevin Durant. Buckle up if this trade is a harbinger of what’s to come ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.
Week 17 Schedule: Games Played
4 Games: BOS, BKN, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, SAC, SAS, UTA
3 Games: ATL, CHA, DEN, GSW, HOU, IND, LAC, LAL, MEM, MIA, MIL, MIN, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, PHO, POR, TOR, WAS
2 Games: NOP
Top Storylines for Week 17
-- It’s Sumner/Cam time in Brooklyn...for now
Since trades don’t become official until all involved players pass their respective physicals, the Nets and Mavericks will be shorthanded for their respective games on Monday. For Brooklyn, they’ll begin Week 17 with a home back-to-back against the Clippers and Suns. In addition to not having Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith for Monday’s game, Seth Curry (adductor) has been ruled out, and Kevin Durant (knee) remains sidelined. While T.J. Warren (shin) is probable, Ben Simmons (knee) remains questionable.
So, fantasy managers should save their seats on the Edmond Sumner/Cam Thomas bandwagon, especially after they combined to score 73 points (44 by the latter) in Saturday’s comeback win over the Wizards. Brooklyn plays four games in Week 17, and the trade gives Sumner and Thomas the opportunity to build on their performances against the Wizards before the Nets’ newest additions are cleared to play. Also, players like Joe Harris, Yuta Watanabe, and Patty Mills will be worth a look in deep leagues, thanks to the Nets’ limited numbers.
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-- Warriors lose Curry to a left leg injury
Stephen Curry was injured during Saturday’s win over the Mavericks, exiting during the third quarter with a left leg injury. The severity of the injury remained unknown as of Sunday afternoon, but he has already been ruled out for Monday’s game against the Thunder. More will be learned about Curry’s injury in the coming days, but there’s a real possibility that he’ll be out through the All-Star break at a minimum. Fantasy-wise, it’s quite simple: Jordan Poole, who’s rostered in 94% of Yahoo leagues, will return to the starting lineup. But does this make Donte DiVincenzo a fantasy-relevant player again? He’s rostered in just 28% of Yahoo leagues, and that number should increase, even with the Warriors facing a three-game Week 17.
And will this impact how the Warriors approach the trade deadline? They’re currently part of that massive cluster in the middle of the Western Conference standings, and measures have been taken to preserve games for two-way contract recipients Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome. Continuing to limit the availability of those two while also being without Curry could be a tough ask from a depth standpoint. JaMychal Green, who played well against Dallas, may take on more minutes as the Warriors look to avoid too much slippage before the All-Star break.
-- Will Doncic, Wood be back during Week 17?
Luka Dončić (heel) has been ruled out for the first two games of the Mavericks’ five-game road trip, which began Saturday in San Francisco. He won’t play Monday night in Utah, either, with the next opportunity to play being Wednesday against the Clippers. Add in Christian Wood, who’s been sidelined since January 18 with a fractured left thumb, and the Mavericks are without their top two scorers. However, Wood is getting close to a return and could be back as soon as Monday. A return then would give him a shot at playing four games in Week 17, although the Mavericks close their trip with two games against the Kings on consecutive nights.
The injuries and the trade with Brooklyn make Josh Green a must-add to begin the week. He’s only rostered in five percent of Yahoo leagues, so it won’t be too difficult to find Green on most waiver wires. This could be a case where he’s only streamed for one game if Doncic and Irving are cleared to play in Wednesday’s game against the Clippers. But that isn’t something fantasy managers should concern themselves with, as long as they aren’t in a league that locks in lineups for the week on Monday.
-- Will Lakers make another move before the deadline?
The Lakers were one of the teams believed to be in the running for Irving, but Dallas won out in the end. So will the Lakers make a move before the deadline? And if so, what would that deal look like, given the team’s lack of attractive talents/draft assets? The Lakers may have to settle for the addition of Rui Hachimura and Anthony Davis returning from a foot injury as the “major” moves when the trade deadline passes. That said, Russell Westbrook continues to be mentioned in trade rumors. It makes sense, as his expiring contract may be the most attractive piece that the Lakers can offer, especially if they’re looking to hold onto their first-round picks in 2027 and 2029.
That’s one of two major storylines involving the Lakers in Week 17, with the other being LeBron James’ pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career points record. LeBron is only 36 points away heading into Tuesday’s game against the Thunder, and that will be Oklahoma City’s second game in as many nights. This week will determine if James will truly have a shot at winning another championship or if the remainder of this season will be primarily about his continued assault on the NBA record books.
-- Poeltl, Plumlee among bigs in trade rumors
San Antonio will play four games in Week 17, while Charlotte has three, and both teams have starting centers who have been the subject of trade rumors. Jakob Poeltl may be the center teams are focused on trade-wise, as he’ll be a free agent this summer and can help as a rebounder and defender who also shoots nearly 63% from the field. With backup Zach Collins averaging nearly 21 minutes per game over the last month, he’s cut into Poeltl’s workload (24.9 mpg during that stretch). Whether that’s been by design on the Spurs’ part is for them to reveal, but it has been interesting to watch. If Poeltl isn’t traded by the deadline, will San Antonio look to have him sit for even longer stretches, freeing up additional minutes for Collins? Or would they play it straight, as the team reportedly wants to re-sign Poeltl this summer if he isn’t moved?
As for Charlotte, Mason Plumlee is having a career year, which could make him a more attractive option to contending teams. He’s made noteworthy strides as a foul shooter, which has boosted Plumlee’s confidence on the offensive end of the floor. His future in Charlotte impacts first-round pick Mark Williams and Nick Richards, with the former serving as the backup center in recent games. Richards has taken over the duties every so often since Williams returned from a stint in the G League after Christmas, but there isn’t enough room for both of them to play with Plumlee on the roster. Charlotte plays two of its three Week 17 games after the trade deadline: at New Orleans on Friday, followed by a home game against the Bulls the following night.
-- Everyone’s still looking at the Raptors with curious eyes
Yes, more conversations about the Raptors and what this week could hold for the franchise won’t stop until we get answers once and for all. Like Charlotte, two of Toronto’s three Week 17 games will be played after the deadline, so the rotation Nick Nurse sends out for Wednesday’s game against the Spurs could look a lot different two nights later when the Jazz visit. Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., and O.G. Anunoby have been mentioned the most in trade rumors, with Toronto’s asking price reported to be particularly high for the latter.
And with the Raptors two games behind 10th-place Washington in the loss column entering the week, who’s to say that they won’t be “buyers” at the deadline? If there’s a “Trade Deadline Team of the Week,” it would be Toronto, given the team’s individual talents and the questions about which direction the franchise will go: break it up and rebuild or look to improve the team’s current roster in hopes of making a run to get into the playoffs.
-- What will happen in Portland, especially with Nurkic (calf) injured?
Portland’s another interesting case, and the Trail Blazers have even less separation between themselves and the teams that would not need the play-in tournament to qualify for the postseason. Portland enters Week 17 trailing the 4th-place Clippers by one game in the loss column, and L.A. has played three more games. In fact, four through 12 in the Western Conference standings are within a game of each other in the loss column, so it’s difficult to see the Blazers becoming “sellers.” That said, Josh Hart has been mentioned in trade rumors. And with Jerami Grant set to be a free agent this summer, will opposing teams “kick the tires” on a possible deal there?
What may complicate things is the status of Jusuf Nurkić, who the Blazers were reportedly willing to trade just over a week ago. He aggravated his calf injury during the first quarter of Friday’s win over the Wizards and is not expected back before the All-Star break. That has left Portland with Drew Eubanks and Trendon Watford at the center position, and the latter isn’t a five at all. Do the Blazers make a move for another big now, or will they be content to wait for Nurkic to return to fill strength? Portland plays two of its three games in Week 17 before the trade deadline, making Eubanks and Watford “safe” fantasy options for the time being.
Light Game Days
Thursday: 4 Games
DEN vs. ORL
PHO vs. ATL
CHI vs. BKN
MIL vs. LAL
Sunday: 2 Games
MEM vs. BOS
DET vs. TOR
Week 17 Back-to-backs
Monday-Tuesday: BKN, CHI, OKC
Thursday-Friday: MIL, PHO
Friday-Saturday: CHA, CLE, DAL, IND, MIA, NYK, PHI, SAC, SAS, UTA