As we approach the Feb. 19 trade deadline, things are heating up again in the NBA.
The New Orleans Hornets have sent Center, Tyson Chandler, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Joe Smith and Chris Wilcox.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Up to this point in the season, Chandler has been an injured eyesore on most fantasy basketball rosters.
Last season Chandler had the best season of his career with 11.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, but this season he has been less than impressive.
Chandler is supposed to come back from his left ankle sprain soon. He has missed the Hornets last 12 games and has missed 18 on the season.
When Chandler gets healthy, he should step in as the starting center for the Thunder, which will give OKC a few starting lineup options.
They could go big playing Chandler, Nick Collison, Jeff Green, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook.
Most think this is a bad option, because Durant has flourished as the starting three, but really Durant has flourished since P.J. Carlesimo was fired.
The Thunder could also simply replace Chandler for Collison and keep Kyle Weaver in the starting lineup at shooting guard.
I wouldn’t expect Collision to get less than the 20 minutes per game he already gets and backup center Nenad Krstic should continue to play in the low 20s.
Neither of these guys will take major stat hits, a rebound or two from Collison and they are only worth owning in deep fantasy leagues.
With Chandler in the starting lineup, I expect him to log 30 minutes per game or a little less because of his injury risk.
He won’t exceed 12 points per game and his rebounds ceiling is 10 per game—Chandler is a very efficient shooter but he lacks elite shot blocking ability.
If you own Chandler, his potential hasn't raised much being that he just left the source of most of his points, but considering the lack of centers in the NBA he might be valuable trade-bait.
The Thunder's young trio of Durant, Green, and Westbrook will continue to flourish under the Thunder's up-tempo style.
New Orleans Hornets
For fantasy owners Chris Wilcox will get the biggest boost off of this trade.
Wilcox is an athletic post who excels at finishing above the rim; he will be able to fill the offensive role that Chandler left.
I expect Wilcox to play in the 25-30 minutes per night averaging over 10 points per game and grabbing seven rebounds.
Joe Smith may help the Hornets win games with his veteran leadership, but he won't play enough to impact any fantasy rosters.
The current Hornets' player who will benefit most from this trade in fantasy hoops is Hilton Armstrong.
He should get a boost of confidence as New Orleans is now saying to him that you are our primary center.
In 13 starts this year, Armstrong has averaged 7.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks in 22 minutes of play. He is yet to register a double-double on the year and has been trading playing time with Sean Marks.
I still do not suggest picking up Armstrong yet, he is very raw and the Hornets are adding two posts that could cut into his minutes.
Keep an eye on him and if he seems to start playing more and producing more then take a chance.
The other Hornets post player who may be impacted is David West. There is potential for his minutes to drop from 37 to 35 per game, but that is a worst-case scenario.
The rest of the Hornets should be fine, Chris Paul got a few more passing options and injuries are the only thing that has held them back this year.