As if the All-Star break wasn't exciting enough, the Raptors and Heat just caused additional commotion by trading Jermaine O'Neal and Jamario Moon for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks.
While the trade helps the Heat get bigger and solidifies their Playoff hopes, what does it do for your fantasy team's hopes?
Let's take a closer look.
Jermaine O'Neal will come in and start at center for the Heat, playing between 30 and 35 minutes per game. This means that Joel Anthony, Jamaal Magloire, and Mark Blount will all see a reduction in playing time and statistics, greatly reducing their fantasy value.
O'Neal is a very capable big man and will be the Heat's No. 1 post-up option. As the primary block player, I expect his stats to have a floor of 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game. His ceiling is at 18 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game.
O’Neal will take some touches away from Udonis Haslem, but Haslem's strength is still his mid-range game, so don't expect much of a drop-off from his 10 points and eight rebounds per game.
Marion's exit vacates 36 minutes of playing time. I expect Jamario Moon to step in as the starter, and to average anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes per game.
With this amount of playing time, the highly efficient Moon can do a lot. Look for eight points, six rebounds, one steal and one block per game out of Moon.
For the Heat (and for fantasy managers) it will work out best if Michael Beasley continues to come off the bench, as he can come in at any time to create a matchup problem. His minutes should get a bump into the mid-20's, and his scoring could increase to 15 points per game.
Looks like if you own any of the current Heat players (except for maybe Joel Anthony), you are in good shape. Dwyane Wade may not have to score as much, but his assists and shooting percentage should benefit.
The new Raptors starting lineup should include Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Shawn Marion, Anthony Parker, and Jose Calderon. Not bad, but that's what we were saying about their lineup at the beginning of the year.
Shawn Marion will fit in nicely. Really, Moon was a poor man's version of Marion, and I expect "The Matrix" to log over 30 minutes per game, scoring between 12 and 15 points with eight rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal.
If Chris Bosh's knee injury is more serious than anticipated, expect Marion to produce even more rebounds and points.
If Bosh is healthy, you can expect him to be the same player he was. Marion will blend with him nicely and if anything, Bosh will be hitting the glass harder.
Andrea Bargnani doesn't have to look over his shoulder to see if Moon or O'Neal is coming in for him anymore. As a starting center this year, Bargnani has averaged 18.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 threes, and 1.1 blocks in 21 games. I would consider these numbers to be ceiling estimates, but he may finally be starting to tap into his potential.
Joey Graham has emerged recently at the forward position, but with the arrival of Marion, who is much more capable, his days of 30-minute games are over. He had a nice run, but his value is limited now.
As for the rest of the Raptors, Jason Kapono will continue to hit threes, Calderon will continue to be efficient, and Parker will continue to be marginal with solid playing time.
One caution for fantasy owners: The Raptors, as a team, seem to be very injury-prone, and coach Jay Triano likes to use many different lineups.
If you own Calderon, Marion, Bosh, or Bargnani, you can expect some stability (barring injury), but if you own any of the others, you may see a large fluctuations in production from one night to another.