It's really hard to believe that we have reached the All-Star break. We do have an abbreviated week of action, but everyone gets Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, unless of course they are part of All-Star weekend festivities. What's in store in the second half of this shortened 66-game season? Those fantasy owners that get the jump on the future are the same ones that are going to get a jump in the standings. Lets take a look.
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Mid March will be very busy in the sports world. Conference tournaments in college basketball, spring training will be at the midway point, NFL free agency begins, spring practice gets underway in college football and its the NBA trade deadline.
Who will get moved at the trading deadline? The answer is the same every year. Players headed for free agency that have no plans of staying with the same team will be dumped. Who are likely candidates and what is the collateral damage? Lets address some key unrestricted free agents.
Dwight Howard- One of two things are going to happen. The Magic are going to move Howard before he walks like Shaq did and they get nothing in return. Or.... Orlando can get complimentary players to entice Howard to sign an extension and remain in Orlando. If Howard is moved, the Magic will likely be in a rebuild mode, at least for the short term. This could carve out some quality minutes for Daniel Orton. This would depend on who the Magic get back in a deal, if a center is not part of the deal, grab Orton.
Chris Kaman- If healthy, one would imagine there will be a number of teams on the phone with New Orleans the league office at the deadline. The Chris Paul trade, while unpopular with fans, really accelerated the Hornets rebuilding effort. Kaman will likely bring draft pick(s), which bodes well for the continued growth of Jason Smith and Gustavo Ayon. Until such time Kaman is moved, Smith and Ayon are borderline options, when is moved, they should be considered legit options.
Spencer Hawes- The Sixers don't have many options in the middle and find themselves competing in the Atlantic Division. Before anything happens, Hawes needs to get healthy. If he can play before the deadline, the Sixers would need to get a big man back in the deal. Philly could opt to go small and play Thadeus Young at the four and Elton Brand in the middle on a regular basis. Rookie Nikola Vucevic has some promise and legitimate size. Vucevic has been getting 25-30 minutes per game over the last couple of weeks, so he may be one to watch, regardless of Hawes' situation.
J.J. Hickson- Why did the Cavaliers move Hickson? Seems like they had said he was "untouchable". J.J. has a $3.4 million dollar qualifying offer and the Kings need to make a decision. It makes sense to me for Sacramento to build around Hickson alongside DeMarcus Cousins on the blocks. Keep an eye on the how the minutes are split with Jason Thompson in the second half.
Antawn Jamison- Fifteen million. That is what Jamison is making in the final year of his last big contract. Jamison may be the most likely player to be moved in the Association. The Cavs are in a total rebuild and Jamison does not figure in their plans.... at all. Jamison's departure will create starter's minutes for rookie Tristan Thompson and you need to anticipate that.
Anthony Randolph- Randolph, with a $4 million dollar qualifying offer is buried behind lottery picks in Minnesota. The Timber Wolves have young depth to trade and are interested in the likes of Pau Gasol. Could Randolph be part of a package to get the veteran the T-Wolves want? If Randolph gets minutes, they need to be for you.
Jodie Meeks- Why is Meeks starting in Philadelphia? Everyone believes Evan Turner is the man, and so do I. Doug Collins liked the idea of Turner coming off the bench, but that was before the Sixers became the surprise team of the Eastern Conference. With Lou Williams' emergence, Meeks could be moved and/or Turner becomes a starter full time.
Jonny Flynn- HOUSTON- What is with with the Rockets and their love affair with point guards? Before taking over the Big Apple, Jeremy Lin with the fifthstring point in Houston. Kyle Lowry is now the man with Goran Dragic in reserve. Flynn will be a nice target for a team needing a point for the playoff run and the Rockets will oblige as they won't be resigning him.
Jeremy Lin- NEW YORK- All I can say is WOW! How does a player go from playing out a 10-day contract to looking at a ten million dollar deal? Yes indeed, I saw that Lin may be commanding that kind of cash. Lin is so popular that the Knicks will cave and give him whatever he wants. With Chandler, Amare and Melo are they heading to "cap hell" ala Isiah?
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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