Free agents

Allen Iverson returns to Philadelphia 76ers

by on Dec.02, 2009, under Free agents

The only question (pun intended) now is whether he'll bring back the cornrows. (Flickr/ebot)

Will he bring back the cornrows? (Flickr/ebot)

Allen Iverson is back in Philadelphia after a quick stint in “retirement.”

With a starting point guard job in hand and a supportive city behind him again, Iverson quickly becomes very relevant to all fantasy leagues.

Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and the injured Lou Williams will likely have their fantasy values diminished to different degrees, while Jrue Holiday and Willie Green can safely be thrown back to most waiver wires.

Head on over to Dimemag.com to find out the fantasy consequences of Iverson’s return to his beloved city.

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Iverson to the Grizzlies: AI stands for “already irritated”

by on Sep.09, 2009, under Free agents

Allen Iverson is signing with the Memphis Grizzlies for what is expected to be a one-year deal worth $3.5 million.

This move (along with the trade for Zach Randolph) is questionable at best for the well-being of the young Memphis Grizzlies, who have a stable of promising young players that will probably be weighed down by the presence of these two historically selfish players.

Don't let the smile fool you - Iverson is set to suffocate the fantasy value of an entire team. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

Don't let the smile fool you - Iverson is set to suffocate the fantasy value of an entire team. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

While much can be said about this interesting signing, we’ll table that for now and get right down to the fantasy impact.

  • For Iverson, this move cements his spot in the realm of fantasy mediocrity. He’ll most likely be backing up the point guard position, which means he won’t get anywhere close to the 36:30 he played each game in Detroit last season. Expect him to put up decent stats once every couple weeks, but the Answer is no longer that for any fantasy squad. His name still holds weight but don’t think of him as anything more than a guard to fill out the bottom of your bench in most fantasy leagues. It’ll be surprising if AI can put up more than 14/2/3.5 and a steal per game.

    The key here is that Iverson will have to live with fewer minutes and touches, which is a growing shadow of bad things to come for him and the team. As Geoff Calkins at the Memphis Commercial Appeal writes:

    “Iverson was unhappy backing up Rip Hamilton in Detroit, understand. The man would be unhappy sharing minutes with God. If you think he’s going to merrily sit on the bench behind Conley and O.J. Mayo as the Grizzlies lose another 50 games, I have an Iverson workout video I’d like to sell you.”

    Which brings us to our next two bullet points…

  • With Iverson set to backup (read: steal minutes from) Mike Conley at the point guard spot, don’t expect any uptick in the third-year player’s stats this season. This is a shame, since Conley had a real shot at becoming a more consistent, productive point guard for fantasy squads this season. It should be considered a success if Conley can maintain his minutes and production from last season.
  • O.J. Mayo, who had a stellar rookie year in 2008-09, was set to be an under-the-radar fantasy stud this season. He played 38:06 per game last year and averaged 18.5/3.8/3.2 along with 1.8 threes and 1.1 steals per outing. Since Iverson will inevitably play some minutes at the two-guard spot, Mayo’s heavy minutes are now under threat to either remain the same or even dip a bit, which could mean the same for his production. He’s still worthy of a spot on your roster, but keep your expectations in check.
  • For the rest of the Grizzlies’ relevant fantasy players (Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol), Iverson’s presence means less touches and shots, which doesn’t bode well for their values.

As if all the red in this post doesn’t spell it out for you, think of it this way: Iverson is a wet towel that’s been thrown onto the entire Grizzlies roster. It’s possible that one or two of his teammates will figure out a way to thrive underneath, or even escape its evil, damp clenches, but the chances for anything good coming from this situation are slim at best.

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Where will Iverson end up?

by on Aug.20, 2009, under Free agents

It appears that Allen Iverson will soon find a new home, according to his steady stream of tweets.  The Charlotte Bobcats, Miami Heat and New York Knicks appear to be the three front-runners for AI’s services.  The Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies are also long-shot possibilities.

The end of Iverson's summer-long drama should be a good one.  (Flickr/Keith Allison)

The end of Iverson's summer-long drama should be a good one. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

However, there is no obvious (…wait for it…) answer for the Iverson conundrum, as Chris Sheridan at ESPN.com discusses.

From a pure NBA fan’s perspective, you’ve got to hope The Answer lands in New York, where he’ll become the immediate leader of a lost team.  Here, Iverson will be the center of a media tsunami that would surely make for entertaining and interesting news during the entire season.  It would also be great to see him potentially finish a stellar career on the world’s biggest stage.

Miami wouldn’t be a bad destination either.  A backcourt tandem of Dwayne Wade and AI would be incredibly intriguing, though coach Pat Riley has asserted that he will stick with Mario Chalmers as the team’s starting point guard.

From a fantasy perspective, Iverson would probably put up the biggest, most consistent numbers in Charlotte or New York.

Regardless, AI appears to be very close to signing with a new team, and you can bet that wherever he ends up, the news will be huge.

It’s not every off-season that a big-time former MVP, just two seasons removed from putting up 26.4 points, 7.2 assists and 2 steals per game, is still available in mid-August.  There are multiple storylines in this unfolding drama and it will be fascinating to see how it all ends.

Vote on where you think Iverson will end up below.

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Odom stays with Lakers

by on Jul.31, 2009, under Free agents

Lamar Odom signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers yesterday for up to $33 million, “if the Lakers exercise their option on the fourth season,” according to ESPN.com.  (This is within my expectations expressed in an earlier post.)

Odom re-signed with the Lakers, where he'll round out a deep frontcourt. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

Odom re-signed with the Lakers, where he'll round out a deep frontcourt. (Flickr/Keith Allison)

This isn’t a huge surprise, though Odom had been courted by the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers.  Dwyane Wade, the Heat’s star guard, had been pulling for Odom to return “home,” but expressed happiness for Odom on his Twitter.

For the Lakers, this solidifies their position as the front-runner in the Western Conference.  While losing Trevor Ariza was a big hit, signing Ron Artest was a solid move and the re-signing of Odom gives them a dynamic frontcourt.

Odom will likely see his fantasy value remain about where it was last year, when he averaged 11.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steal and 1.3 blocks in 29:41 per outing, the fewest per-game minutes he’s seen in his career.  Artest’s presence will keep Odom’s value muted, though it shouldn’t cause it to drop much, if at all.

He’s no one to scoff at, but keep your expectations for Odom in line with last season.  If Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol or Artest go down with an injury, look for Odom to take advantage of the extra playing time.

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Miller signs with the Trail Blazers

by on Jul.24, 2009, under Free agents

It’s official: you can take Andre Miller’s name off of this morning’s post about the top 10 available free agents.

The underrated point guard has left the Philadelphia 76ers to join the Portland Trail Blazers, reportedly signing a 3-year deal worth $21 million, with $14 million guaranteed and the other $7 million as a third-year option.

Let’s get right to it.

Fantasy impact:

  • Portland:
    • Miller is now a Trail Blazer, which is good news for his fantasy value. (Flickr/bucko73us)

      Miller is now a Trail Blazer, which is good news for his fantasy value. (Flickr/bucko73us)

      Miller now has many offensive options to pass the ball to.  Last season, with Elton Brand out for the majority of the year, Andre Iguodala was essentially the only reliable teammate Miller had on offense.  As a Trail Blazer, he now has Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge as his go-to guys, not to mention other capable scorers like Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw.  Expect Miller’s numbers to return to 2006-07 form, with 13 points, 4.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game as feasible expectations.  It may take him a few weeks to get used to his new teammates, but expect nothing short of a strong fantasy season for the new Trail Blazer.

    • Roy now has a very competent partner in the backcourt who can handle the ball in pressure situations.  Don’t expect his numbers to change too drastically now that Miller’s here.  His points will probably see a boost and his assists might see a minor dip, but any change in Roy’s nightly stats should help his overall fantasy value, which is already quite high.  His development can only be helped by Miller’s presence.
    • Aldridge was already on an upward climb and the addition of Miller shouldn’t change that too much.  It will be interesting to see how Miller plays with Aldridge, given that the former 76ers point guard was only given 29 games to play with Brand, another skilled offensive power forward.
    • Steve Blake, the starting point guard for the Trail Blazers, has the most to lose here.  He’ll obviously see fewer minutes, which means that his fantasy value will be minor and only relevant in deeper leagues where his three-point shooting prowess will be helpful.  It’s a shame because Blake was an underrated fantasy point guard and showed flashes of real talent last season.
    • Greg Oden has resorted to seeing a psychologist to help him rebuild his confidence.  Miller might do some to help in that area, too.  While Oden’s teammates can offer encouragement through words, Miller will be able to encourage him the most on the court.  Don’t expect a huge improvement from Oden, but his natural talent and his new point guard’s guidance will most likely breathe some new life into the discouraged big man.  However, as always, his health is his worst enemy.
    • Jerryd Bayless, the second-year point guard who has shown that he can play in this league, will see his playing time held down by Miller’s arrival.
  • Philadelphia:
    • Louis Williams is the biggest winner here.  He’s got the starting point guard job now and will see way more than the 23:41 per night he saw last season.  Williams is a surefire scorer, but shoots a low percentage from the field.  Look for about 15 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists per game from Williams, with a low field goal percentage.
    • Jrue Holiday, the rookie point guard who is now the team’s second in command at the point, is still probably too raw to make any kind of fantasy impact this season.  He’ll get more minutes than he would have if Miller had re-signed, but don’t get your hopes up too high for Holiday.
    • Look for the rest of the 76ers roster to hurt a bit from Miller’s departure.  Williams isn’t as much of a distributor as Miller was, and with two green point guards the 76ers’ offense will be a bit rough around the edges.
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