Making Your Team an NBA Fantasy Title Contender: Headline Before The Deadline

John TamelCorrespondent IJanuary 21, 2009

As the Feb. 19th NBA trade deadline approaches, its important for each owner to have all your trades accomplished. Nowadays, almost all leagues remove trading privileges once the deadline has passed, and there are no refunds for second place.

This year, there are a variety of different players that can really make your opponents sweat if you acquire them now.

Almost every year, owners wait to make a last minute trade to try and improve their team. This is a big mistake, trading players should not be impulsive. Some owners get irrational about acquiring players this time of year. Christmas is over, and now is not the time to start giving your superstars up to teams that are in championship contention.

If you are considering trading a superstar to a NBA fantasy title contender, my advice is "don't do it." Such a trade would be like giving up Kevin Martin & Chauncey Billups for Chris Paul. Although the trade is fair mathematically, it will be almost impossible to make up the ground on a title contending owner who receives a top five pick.

When I say top five pick, I mean Lebron James, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade or Dwight Howard. If you are proposed with such an offer from a title contender, this means he/she is coming in for the kill. 

If the trade were to be approved, the owner contending will most likely have a ready and able reserve player ready to go, in the scenario of a two for one trade for a superstar. 

Always remember to review the standings before you make any trade and ask yourself, "why do they want this trade?" If you want to trade a superstar, trade the player to a team that has no chance of winning. Almost every team will give you good value for a top five fantasy pick.

If you still have a shot at a championship or are on top of the standings and just want to improve your team, I would recommend these players:

Andrea Bargnani - Andrea is over the hump as a questionable fantasy producer and should be starting for all teams now. If you're worried about him falling off, forget it.

Bargnani has been putting up huge numbers and has crossed over the yellow brick road in terms of being a reliable and consistent fantasy option. Since he is probably long gone from the waiver wire, you can probably still buy him low.

Recently, I traded T.J. Ford for him, and it was well worth it in my opinion. This guy will finish the year out and will make you proud. Scoop him up if you can for a bargain.

Carmelo Anthony- If your fantasy team is in need of a serious boost, Melo is probably the guy you want to trade for. Melo has had minor injuries most of the year and has played quite irregular for most of the season.

However, if you have almost no shot right now of making it to the fantasy playoffs, Melo is a guy you want to acquire. Right now, you can probably get him for a decent bargain and is a very high reward player if he stays healthy.

Although I have been wrong in the past, my guess is that he will have a strong second-half. The Nuggets desperately want to get back to the postseason and it just won't be there without Melo.

If you're an owner who is at the top of the rankings, I would not recommend acquiring him. Unless you can get him for a real discount, you'll be sacrificing your season. Again, Melo is for owners who need to take a lot of risk for a potentially serious boost.

Zach Randolph- The whole three-headed monster thing in LA is bunk (Kaman, Camby and Randolph). When Randolph comes back, he will start and not be denied the rock. His offensive and rebounding skills are too great to ignore, and he has always delivered.

My guess is that Kaman/Camby split time, and Randolph gets 40 minutes a night when he returns. Some owners are really worried about his production once all three players are back healthy. This is why you can probably get him for a good discount. Randolph is high reward with moderate risk.

He should be back in a couple of weeks, so trade for him if you can. If you're an owner who needs a helping hand to win, acquire him low.

If you're an owner on top of the standings, its okay to acquire him but don't offer anything of equal or greater value in return for him. The situation always has the possibility of backfiring, but it's unlikely given the circumstances.

Finally, these are the players I would avoid:


Carlos Boozer/Paul Milsap- Boozer is on the verge of coming back and will most likely split time with Milsap once he returns. Unless Boozer gets traded or goes out for the season, they will be competing for each other's minutes and make a moderate splash. 

If you own Milsap, I recommend trading him now while his value is high. Otherwise, avoid these players at all costs unless one of those aforementioned situations occur. 

Baron Davis - Davis is so high-risk in terms of his history of injuries and attitude, its just too great to ignore. My guess is that he will continue to have these troubles, although he is scheduled to return as early as Sunday of this week. I recommend that you avoid him unless you can receive him at a substantial trade discount. 

That's all. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


John Tamel