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NBA Trade Deadline: Fantasy Winners, Losers, and One "Small" Risk

The NBA Trade Deadline came and went as one of the most busy deadlines in recent memory. Trade announcements came fast and furious. Now, lets not get lost in the fact the Cleveland Cavaliers cleaned house, and rebuilt it from the ground up in roughly 12 minutes. Other teams quietly got in on the trade deadline fun and we'll take a look at moves that you should be aware of in your Fantasy League, with one trade that I will deem a surprising risk.


Blake Griffin - The Griffin trade came as a shock to many. It also came quickly. By the time you found out Detroit and Los Angeles were talking, the franchises were already faxing over the paperwork. Griffin comes out of this trade as a ever so slight winner. Griffin now gets to play alongside Andre Drummond, whose basically a better version of DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles. That better is what makes Griffin a slight winner. Griffin and Drummond are as formidable of a front court as you will find. What you will also find is they will be the leagues best passing front court. That's right, passing. There will be times Griffin may be asked to operate as a point forward (who knew that was a thing) when Ish Smith or Reggie Bullock hit the pine. Griffin will play and play a lot and with no true pure scorer on Detroit roster, and he has a high possibility to finish the second half strong.

George Hill -  George Hill went from cellar dweller to playing with the best player in the world. How does that in itself not make him a winner? From a fantasy standpoint, Hill slots in as the new starting point guard in Cleveland and gets a running mate in LeBron James. Hill currently leads the NBA from downtown with a 45 percent shooting percentage. Yes, I am sure he will have less opportunities with LeBron on the floor too, but the opportunities he does receive, will now be easier. Expect the threes to keep falling and the assist numbers to rise.

Jae Crowder - Jae Crowder landing anywhere but Cleveland makes a must own in all fantasy formats. Like everyone else in Cleveland not named LeBron, Crowder just never fit in. In Utah he will be capable of carving out a nice role for himself with his ability to play multiple positions and will see a lot more minutes than he ever did Cleveland. In a small sample size of two games in Utah, Crowder is already averaging 31 minutes and 14.5/4/2. More than worthy of a bench role on your fantasy squad.

Elfrid Payton - Have you seen Phoenix's point guards this year? No seriously, have you? It has been nothing short of a disaster. From Eric Bledsoe wanting nothing to do with the franchise, to Mike James running the floor on a 10 day contract, to Isaiah Canaan suffering a season ending injury and ending with a very underwhelming Tyler Ullis. This move is a win for Phoenix and fantasy teams. Phoenix gets a low cost, low risk point guard who was once drafted 10th overall just a few years ago. Minutes will be the least of your worries as a Payton owner as Phoenix will want to get a good long look at Payton as they continue to search for a franchise point guard. In his first two games Payton is averaging 24/7/7. Again, small sample size, but worth the add. Especially if you do not mind giving up defensive stats for offensive.


Jordan Clarkson & Larry Nance Jr - This simply comes down to a matter of numbers and minutes for Clarkson and Nance. There isn't enough. And there will be even less when Kevin Love returns. Don't get me wrong, from a real life team perspective, both Clarkson and Nance will serve purposes for Cleveland and have absolutely made them better. However, from a fantasy standpoint, they each took a big hit as Clarkson now will have to play in George Hill's shadow, and Nance in Hood's. Unless you play in some unheard of 20 team league, neither of these guys are worth wasting a roster spot for.

Joe Johnson - You may be reading this and saying, "When was Joe Johnson ever a winner? 8 Years ago?" Listen, your right, but if you were not paying attention, Joe Johnson has been a phenomenal streamer option this season. Even more so for those of you in the DFS game. It seemed anytime Utah sustained an injury, Johnson would step up and show flashes of what he once was. With the trade to the Kings and his immediate buy out, all signs point to Joe Johnson catching on with the Houston Rockets. I don't know if you have heard, but the Rockets are pretty good with some big names. Unless there is an unforeseen substantial injury to Harden AND Eric Gordon, Joe Johnson is simply only in Houston to ride the pine in the hopes of getting a ring before lacing them up for the final time.


Isaiah Thomas - A player who needs the ball in his hands who IS going to have the ball in his hands. Check. A player who plays his best when he is the star of the show. Check. So why the risk? Simple. The Lakers are not going to resign Isaiah Thomas at season's end. The Lakers are in full rebuild mode and are better off losing than they are winning in the hopes of keeping their protected first round pick. While they say Isaiah will play heavy minutes, there's no guarantee he will and the Lakers would surely rather get Lonzo Ball minutes when he returns than Isaiah Thomas. If he plays, this is a great move for him and fantasy owners, but if the rebuild and politics come into play, everything could come to a screeching halt again for the once loved Boston Celtic. And right there is your risk.

Follow Ryan on Twitter and ask your Fantasy Questions @RyTheFantasyGuy. 

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