Month: April 2024

Fantasy Hoops: Plumlee, Ferrell, McConnell

We’ve hit the third quarter of the NBA season and Hoops Rumors is examining the fantasy basketball landscape in order to help you dominate the competition. Check back weekly for more fantasy basketball analysis.

Can I Get A Triple-Double?

Mason Plumlee entered the 2016/17 campaign with his mind set on a specific goal. “I would love to have triple doubles because that just means you are playing a complete game, getting everyone involved,” Plumlee said back in October. He had spent the summer working to expand his game in order to become a better shooter and facilitator. Damian Lillard compared Plumlee’s passing ability to that of Draymond Green, and C.J. McCollum predicted that the big man would get multiple triple-doubles this season.

Plumlee has indeed expanded his game. He’s gone from being a one-trick pick-and-roll pony on offense to a player whom coach Terry Scotts can design some offense around. He’s averaging a career-high in assists per game this season and added a midrange shot that forces opposing bigs to leave the paint as they try to defend him.

The Duke product hasn’t reached his goal of a triple-double yet, but he’s come close on a few occasions. He had at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in five straight games entering tonight’s tilt with the Hornets.

He’s been a superb fantasy asset due to his ability to contribute across many categories. He’s making 53% of his shots from the field and he’s adding 1.2 blocks and nearly a steal per contest. He should be owned in all leagues (somehow, he’s available in nearly 20% of ESPN leagues). The only caveat with owning him is that the Blazers could potentially add another frontcourt player in a deal before the deadline. If they make a trade for a player such as Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor, Plumlee will certainly see his role decreased. If Portland refrains from making a significant move, Plumlee will continue to be a solid fantasy contributor.

Here’s more fantasy analysis and notes from around the league:

  • Clint Capela recorded a double-double in 20 minutes of action tonight against the Kings. He’s a solid fantasy contributor, as I mentioned in a previous edition of Fantasy Hoops. He’s only going to get more minutes as the season progresses. He’s owned in roughly 55% of ESPN leagues, though that figure should be much higher.
  • Yogi Ferrell signed a 10-day contract with the Mavs last week and he’s seen 73 minutes in his two games with the team. As long as Deron Williams remains sidelined, he’ll remain valuable in daily fantasy and useful in season-long leagues. Just don’t drop anyone too valuable for him, as he’s not even guaranteed to be on an NBA roster past February 5th.
  • Since MLK day, only three players are averaging more assists per game than T.J. McConnell. The point guard is averaging 9.8 assists, 9.8 points and 1.4 steals per contest while shooting 53.2% from the field over that stretch. He’s available in nearly two-thirds of ESPN leagues.
  • Thaddeus Young, who was traded to the Pacers in the offseason, has 27 steals over his last eight games. He leads the league over that stretch by a wide margin. Jrue Holiday and Dwyane Wade are tied for second over that timeframe with 19 steals each, while Robert Covington comes in behind them with 18 of his own.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Lakers, Durant

The Suns haven’t experienced much success this season, but Devin Booker believes the team’s future is bright, as he tells Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.

“We have a really good young core,” Booker said. “Our young players are developing, including myself, very well. Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Tyler Ulis have been getting some time now. And then we have a mix of really good veterans, Tyson Chandler, Jared Dudley, Leandro Barbosa, P.J. Tucker; they’re leading us on the right way. Each and every day, they push us every day in practice. They’re patient with us. We’re messing up a lot. That’s what you expect coming into this league, playing against grown men. We’re still learning, but at the same time, I think the future is really bright here.”

Phoenix has a record of 15-33 and currently sits in the second spot in our Reserve Standings. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders examines the trade market for Lou Williams and Nick Young, and finds it difficult to envision the Lakers netting a first-round pick for either of the veterans. Pincus believes Los Angeles could flip one of them for a young player with untapped potential akin to the team’s 2014 Steve Blake trade. In that deal, the Lakers brought in Kent Bazemore, a player who flashed promise once he was given meaningful minutes.
  • The Lakers may need to move Williams and Young in order to open up the cap space necessary to sign a max-level player, such as Blake Griffin, Pincus writes in the same piece. Young holds a player option for next season worth slightly under $5.7MM and Williams will make $7MM next season in the final year of his deal.
  • Kevin Durant told Stephen Curry to stop trying so hard to incorporate him in the Warriors‘ offense, as Chris Haynes of relays. “I just said to [Curry], ‘Don’t worry about me,'” Durant told Haynes. “I’ll figure it out around you. You’re the engine of this team, and I know that. I’m not trying to come over and feel like everything just revolves around me. Just do you, man. I’m going to play around you. I’ve played this game long enough. I know how to score. I know how to find the ball. Just go out there and play your game.’ And that’s what he’s been doing.”

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/31/17

Here are Tuesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:


  • The Grizzlies have assigned Wade Baldwin to their D-League affiliate, the team announced via a press release on their official website. Baldwin has averaged 13.3 points and 5.7 assists in 26.5 minutes per game in 13 previous games for the Iowa Energy.
  • The Pistons have recalled Henry Ellenson, Darrun Hilliard and Michael Gbinije from their D-League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. In eight games with the Grand Rapids Drive this season, the rookie big man has averaged 18.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.


  • The Rockets have assigned rookie forward Kyle Wiltjer to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). Wiltjer had been with the NBA club for the last two and a half weeks, but has been inactive in each of Houston’s games, so he should get a chance to play with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  • Joel Bolomboy has been sent back to the Salt Lake City Stars by the Jazz, the team said today in a press release. Bolomboy’s assignments this season generally haven’t lasted long, so the rookie will likely return to the Jazz soon.
  • The Nets have assigned Chris McCullough to the D-League, according to a press release from the team. McCullough has played sparingly for Brooklyn this season, but has been one of Long Island’s standout contributors, averaging 19.0 PPG and 8.0 RPG in 25 games.

Atlantic Notes: Ainge, Sullinger, Bradley

The Celtics remain the most likely team to make a splash before the deadline, writes Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. The abundance of draft picks and valuable supplementary assets put them in a unique position to either get a deal done directly or facilitate one for others.

I don’t think any move of significance gets done before the deadline without [Celtics general manager] Danny Ainge being given the chance to put his fingerprints on it,” one executive tells Bulpett.

The Celtics, of course, have been featured in trade speculation all season and are one of the possible destinations that Carmelo Anthony would supposedly consider waiving his no-trade clause for. Sources around the league, Bulpett writes, say that Ainge is “patrolling the marketplace in hopes that a player worthy of some of the assets he has accumulated becomes available.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Fifth-year big man Jonas Valanciunas isn’t a good fit in Toronto, writes Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun. Valanciunas’ defensive deficiencies — and Lucas Nogueira‘s lack of strength — make Bismack Biyombo‘s absence this season all the more noticeable during Raptors games. Still, Wolstat argues, while it’s hard to put a value on talented big men like Valanciunas, you can’t just give them away without getting something substantial in return.
  • When Jared Sullinger went to the D-League for a rehab start over the weekend, he did so of his own volition, writes Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. “I thought it was great,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “You can’t force him to go. He decided to go. He wanted to go. It was a great step.”
  • The steady growth of Avery Bradley has been invaluable for the Celtics, writes Steve Bulpett in a separate story for the Boston Herald. “Isaiah’s having a spectacular year, and I think that’s a little bit overshadowed how great of a year Avery’s having,” said president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. “[…] Listen, he is our best defensive player, and he’s our second-best offensive player. And that’s a rare combination for a player.” Bradley has been out of action since January 16 but is expected to return this week.
  • The Knicks have struggled this season but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Derek Fisher was the better head coach. The former New York bench boss recently slammed current Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek in a Lakers broadcast where he now serves as an analyst. “There’s enough analysts and reporters who like to talk about: coulda, shoulda [in] what they did,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We don’t pay much attention to it. I think he’s also trying to push himself in a light that maybe someone else will give him a job.”

Magic Won’t Re-Sign Anthony Brown

The 10-day contract Anthony Brown signed with the Magic earlier this month is set to expire tonight, and the team doesn’t intend to re-sign Brown to a second 10-day deal at this time, reports Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel (via Twitter). According to Robbins, Brown is set to return to the D-League’s Erie BayHawks.

Brown, the 34th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, spent his rookie season with the Lakers, but was a surprise cut when the team reduced its roster to 15 players this past October. The 6’7″ small forward had a brief stint with the Pelicans earlier this season before joining the Magic this month on a 10-day deal.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 10-day contract tracker]

During his 10-day stay in Orlando, Brown got the chance to play in a pair of blowout losses against Golden State and Boston. In those two games, he played 16 total minutes, picking up nine points, seven rebounds, and a pair of assists. With the Magic not in action tonight, he won’t get another chance to play for the team unless Orlando decides to bring him back later in the season. Meanwhile, the Magic will open up a spot on their 15-man roster.

Brown’s return to Orlando’s D-League affiliate in Erie will be a welcome one for the BayHawks, who have struggled this season, particularly without their leading scorer (21.6 PPG) in the lineup. Erie is 5-11 with Brown, and just 2-10 without him.

Southeast Rumors: Magic, Wizards, Sanders, Ibaka

Weighing in on recent Serge Ibaka and Nikola Vucevic rumors, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders reports that the majority of trade talks the Magic have been involved in are “very exploratory” in nature. That applies to the Vucevic talks with the Celtics, in particular, with sources telling Kyler that no deal involving Vucevic going to Boston was ever “actively under consideration.”

The Magic have been very active in pursuing potential deals, with GM Rob Hennigan recently vowing to be aggressive as he attempts to improve the roster. But Orlando doesn’t appear ready to make a deal yet, and sources who have talked to the team tell Kyler that the Magic may be overvaluing some of the players on their roster.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Larry Sanders, who is attempting an NBA comeback, is on the Wizards‘ radar, but Washington’s interest in Sanders depends on Ian Mahinmi‘s health, sources tell J. Michael of If Mahinmi can return to the court for the Wizards, the team’s interest in Sanders would fade. Michael also adds that Washington doesn’t have interest in trading for Ibaka.
  • There were some offseason questions about the relationship on and off the court between Wizards guards Bradley Beal and John Wall, but Beal is tired of answering questions on that topic, as Ohm Youngmisuk of writes. Appearing on ESPN Radio’s NBA Insiders, Beal said that his relationship with Wall is going “really well” this season. “It’s kind of getting old, people saying that we don’t agree and that we don’t click,” Beal said. “We’re just going out and proving it on the floor.”
  • The Heat‘s supporting cast has played a huge role in the team’s recent winning streak, and many of those players are eligible for free agency this summer. In a mailbag, Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel examines whether it makes sense for the club to try to keep players like Dion Waiters, James Johnson, and Willie Reed beyond this season.

Timberwolves Facing Decision On Nikola Pekovic

Nikola Pekovic last appeared in an NBA game on January 31, 2016, which means that as of today, the Timberwolves are eligible to move forward with removing the veteran center from their books. In the event that a player like Pekovic – or fellow big man Chris Bosh – is deemed medically unfit to continue his basketball career, his team has the opportunity to take his salary off its cap, one year after his last game.

There are a few aspects to take into account as the Wolves consider their next move with Pekovic. For one, the determination on Pekovic’s health must be made by a doctor who is jointly approved by the NBA and the players’ union, so the team’s own doctor won’t be able to make that judgment.

If that independent doctor indeed rules Pekovic medically unfit to continue playing, Minnesota would immediately be able to eliminate his cap charges for the rest of his contract. The Wolves are currently on the hook for $12.1MM this season for Pekovic, and $11.6MM in 2017/18. The team would still have to pay that money, and it would continue to count toward the salary floor, but it would free up cap room, creating some spending flexibility for the franchise.

Before the Wolves move forward on this front, however, they’ll have to consider Pekovic’s stance. In Miami, Bosh has said he’ll do everything he can to return the court, despite blood clot concerns — if the Heat were to wipe his cap hits from their books and he’s eventually medically cleared and plays 25 games for another club, those salary charges would go back onto Miami’s cap, potentially creating major problems.

In Pekovic’s case, things look a little simpler. The big man is only under contract for one more year beyond 2016/17, and his cap hit isn’t as substantial as Bosh’s, so the financial risk of the move wouldn’t be as great for Minnesota. Additionally, Pekovic himself has acknowledged that his career may be over due to ankle and Achilles issues that have plagued him in recent years.

“For two years I have struggled with this injury,” Pekovic said last month. “I have been mentally exhausted. This year I went to Minneapolis for two months and I did everything possible to return to the court, but there are times when you simply can’t. I can’t run without pain.”

The Wolves are currently almost $13MM below the 2016/17 cap, so it’s not as if they need the extra space this season. But if Pekovic is prepared to accept medical retirement, it’s probably in the best interest of both sides to go down that road — he would still get paid, while Minnesota would gain significant financial flexibility for the coming summer. We should find out soon whether that’s the plan for the Wolves.

NBPA Publishes New Collective Bargaining Agreement

The National Basketball Players Association has published the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement on its website, making the entire 598-page document available for public consumption. You can find it right here, alongside the previous CBA.

The NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement won’t go into effect for about five more months, but teams will be looking ahead to determine how the changes to the league’s rules will affect them, beginning on July 1.

Leading up to July, we’ll be updating several of our Hoops Rumors Glossary entries to reflect the changes in this CBA. We’ll also publish entirely new glossary entries on features that are new to this CBA, such as the designated veteran extension or two-way contracts.

In the meantime, we’ve recapped most of the notable changes to the CBA over the last month and a half, so be sure to check out our CBA news archive to brush up on those changes. And if you feel so inclined, you can tackle the full CBA document via the NBPA’s site — be warned though, even the table of contents is 22 pages long!

New York Notes: Carmelo, Knicks, Fisher, Nets

After a weekend report suggested that Carmelo Anthony may be willing to waive his no-trade clause and approve a deal to the Celtics, New York media has engaged in renewed speculation about a possible trade with Boston.

However, on Monday night, Anthony evaded the question of whether the C’s would interest him, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. ‘Melo then told reporters today that he hasn’t provided the Knicks any sort of list of which teams he’d approve, and he’s still not thinking about waiving his NTC and leaving New York (link via Frank Isola of The New York Daily News). If Anthony does consider approving a deal, his family will be his first priority, he said today.

Of course, the discussion of a move to Boston may be moot, since there’s no indication that the Celtics have real interest in adding Anthony to their roster. In fact, a report last week suggested that the C’s have informed the Knicks they’re not interested. Perhaps that stance will change in the coming weeks, but for now it appears the Knicks will have to look elsewhere for a trade partner.

Here’s more from out of New York and Brooklyn:

Hawks’ NBADL Affiliate To Play In Erie For Two Years

JANUARY 31: The Hawks have officially announced in a press release that they’ll take control of a D-League team in Erie for the next two seasons before relocating to College Park for the 2019/20 campaign.

JANUARY 23: The Hawks are in the final stages of an agreement to operate the Erie BayHawks in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This development comes on the heels of a report from’s Scott Howard-Cooper during last week’s D-League Showcase in Ontario.

The BayHawks will serve as a placeholder for Atlanta, whose permanent D-League team in College Park, Georgia is expected to begin operations in 2019/20. The Hawks will supplant the Magic as Erie’s NBA affiliate, as Orlando has a deal in place to move its D-League affiliate to Lakeland, Florida.

The Hawks, who currently use the D-League’s flexible assignment system, haven’t been tied to any one particular NBADL team this season, assigning players to the Salt Lake City Stars, Long Island Nets, and Delaware 87ers.

With the Hawks and Timberwolves expected to gain control of current D-League teams while the Grizzlies and Magic move their operations elsewhere, the NBADL should feature at least 24 teams for the 2017/18 season.