The NBA trade deadline is near and there are plenty of big names that have been frequently brought up. How does this affect your fantasy basketball team? Players moving to different teams and having to learn a whole new system is scary. It is especially scary if the player traded was a No. 1 option of any kind on their previous team. A player who is used to getting the green light to shoot an infinite amount shots could be traded to a team who might limit shots. You just never know. Do not freak out and make a trade solely because the player is being traded to a different team. Be mindful though of your leaguemates who might be trying to sell you on a player because of a possible change in venue. Do not get let your guard down when negotiating. Here are some fantasy basketball beasts who might be on the move soon enough.
Josh Smith, forward, Atlanta Hawks: Of all of the star players on the trading block, I think that Smith is most likely to get dealt before the trade deadline. The teams leading the charge to acquire Smith are the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns. Smith's playing style fits right in with both fast-paced offenses. Smith has scored 17.4 points, shooting 46 percent from the field, on the year. Smith is one of the best midrange players in the league. He is also a power player who has no issue driving the lane.
On defense, Smith is also dominant. He has grabbed 8.6 rebounds and blocked 2.1 shots per game this season. He is quick and aggressive; do not think any of his statistics will suffer no matter where he goes. He has stolen the ball 1.2 times per game. If you are looking to trade for Smith, value him the same. Do not let your leaguemate convince you that Smith's statistics will get better with a top point guard. He will make an impact wherever he goes and can play both forward positions equally well.
J.J. Redick, guard, Orlando Magic: Redick has done a great job of making teams want him more over the last month. For the season, he is shooting 46 percent but has raised it to 49.6 percent over the last month. He has scored 15.3 points per game this season and 18.3 a game in the last month. We have seen Redick have multiple 20-point performances this season. Redick's best attribute is his shot and playmaking ability. He has dished 4.1 assists per game over the last month. Redick is not a ball hog. He takes between 11 and 12 shots per game.
I am slightly worried about a change of scenery for Redick, because if he is given the green light to keep shooting his percentage might suffer. Redick is capable of taking on a starting role but has been coming off the bench for his entire career. If you want to acquire him, value him high if you are desperate for a shooter. Do not go into trade negotiations thinking that if Redick gets moved he will immediately blossom into a superstar. He is a shooter, meaning that when he is hitting he is gold but when missing it will haunt your field goal percentage. A new system would require a period of adjustment and patience if you own him. The Knicks and Bucks have been brought up as possible suitors.
Al Jefferson, forward-center, Utah Jazz: For many, Jefferson was a first-round pick in fantasy leagues this season. Should you be more concerned because your first-round pick might get traded to a different NBA team? No, because you cannot value a player based off what round you selected him in. Even though the Jazz might not be too happy to call Jefferson their leader, fantasy owners have been able to. Jefferson has scored 17.5 points while shooting 48.5 percent from the field this season. He is a complete inside player, and I am not worried about him in a new system. Jefferson has grabbed 9.5 rebounds per game in 2013.
If looking to trade Jefferson, value him for his smaller contributions, as well. The fact he grabs a steal and block per game definitely helps provide your team with balance. Jefferson is a complete player and if you are looking to trade him in package deal, make sure you are getting back a good rebounder and a player who shoots well from the floor. The San Antonio Spurs are looking to get younger and have had Jefferson on their radar. Jefferson fits right in with their slower style of play.
Monta Ellis, guard, Milwaukee Bucks: I am not surprised that the Bucks are looking to abort their experiment of having two of the most shot-heavy players in the league. It is no secret that a concern of putting Ellis and Brandon Jennings in the same backcourt would do more good than bad. There are not enough shots to go around. Ellis has been shooting barely over 40 percent on the season. He has scored 18.4 points per game this season. If you have a specific need on your fantasy team, sell Ellis a bit lower to fulfill that need. He has provided 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Both statistics are great selling points.
If you are struggling in points and field goal percentage and own Ellis, it is time to look in a new direction. Like Redick, Ellis will take time to find his role in a new offense. I am not saying that you should give up Ellis for nothing, because he does make an impact, but seek out interest on him around your league. He currently takes between around 18 shots per game. If Ellis is traded, that number will most likely decrease in the beginning of his transition to a different team. The Hawks have shown interest in acquiring Ellis.
Dwight Howard, center, Los Angeles Lakers: Once again, Howard has been the center of attention (no pun intended) around the NBA. The reputation behind Howard is that he will help you a ton in rebounding and will kill your free-throw percentage. He has been shooting 49.5 percent from the free-throw line. Howard has been battling a shoulder injury for most of the season. He has been a huge help on the scoring front, averaging 16.3 points while shooting 57.8 percent from the floor. On the defensive side, he has grabbed 11.8 rebounds and has blocked 2.3 shots per game.
Among active NBA centers, Howard is the top rebounder and a top-five blocker. If you are looking to trade a big piece in Howard, make sure you are getting back multiple complementary pieces in return. If Howard were traded, it would most likely be to the Brooklyn Nets. They have been pursuing Howard for about a year (since the 2012 NBA trade deadline). Fantasy owners should not worry, because he is one of the most dominant players in the league (in size and strength) and will find a way to continue to help fantasy players.