Basketball is back baby!  The NBA season returns from the All-Star Break tonight after four-and-a-half months off…  Maybe hyperbolic, but certainly feels that way!

And right as games start, we’ve got the NBA Trade Deadline passing this afternoon at 3:00 PM EST.  That was fast!  We’ve got a big day of trade analysis, with a live post that will go up around 1:00 PM-ish EST and get frequently updated to track all of the last-minute trades as they go down, then a slightly later podcast record time with our special edition Trade Deadline Razzball Basketball Podcast up sometime around 4:00-4:30 PM EST.  It’s all hoops all afternoon!

With these big changes about to ripple through the fantasy hoops landscape, the biggest news from over the break is probably the most anti-climatic – Carmelo Anthony has been officially shutdown.  “3P0 – Shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level!”  “No! Shut them ALL down, hurry!”  Pretty apt to The Poppycockers shituation, amiright?!  We’ve known Melo was about to be Melba Toast sometime around the break, and now the swift gavel of realism has hit (huh? weird metaphor day!  I’m rusty OK?!).  Langston Galloway, who has probably been picked up in most leagues (and subsequently dropped in some after struggling) should likely be scooped up.  He’s not going to do anything too special, but his career-high in shots (19) was in a Melo-less game and should give you some low-TO guard stats.  Tim Hardaway Jr. also gets a bit of a boost, but he does absolutely nothing beyond score and trey.  Would be a nice, high-minute ThrAGNOF!  But those ain’t got no face…  So I’m not married to Timmy J at all even if he starts hot with Melo now gone.  Here’s what else has gone down since we left for the break:

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The All-Star weekend begins on Friday, giving most of the league some time off before the final stretch of the season. After the break, there are only four weeks left in the regular season for standard leagues. That’s not a lot of time to wait for guys to return from injuries. Owners will have to make hard decisions on whether to keep their injured stars or let them loose. More should be known after the All-Star break about the severity of many of these recent injuries, so hold on until then.

Blake Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to remove a staph infection in his right elbow. Prior to surgery, Griffin was expected to miss anywhere from 2-to-6 weeks. Griffin will be reevaluated in three weeks, which should help clarify when owners can expect to have Griffin back. Since Griffin is a top talent and there isn’t much clarity on his timeline, owners should hold onto Griffin for the time being.

With Griffin out, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Hawes become the biggest benefactors. Jordan has put up back-to-back 20/20 games and looks like he’ll grab every rebound that Griffin used to get.

While Jordan is universally owned, Hawes becomes a top waiver wire pickup. In the three games that Griffin has missed, Hawes has averaged 11.0 ppg and 1.7 rpg. The numbers have been underwhelming so far, but Hawes has shown that he can fill up the box score when given starters’ minutes in the past. Last year as a starter, he averaged 13.2 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.2 bpg, and 1.6 3PTM. He probably won’t approach those numbers, but I expect Hawes to be useful for owners for as long as Griffin is out.

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Well Ello there, Poppet!  Bootstraps Bill Turner pulled a scoop and squat shot with under a second left to pull off the upset of the century…. It’s only been 15 years this century, it could be true!

Evan Turner put together a solid 12/7/9/1/0 line hitting 4-11 from the field and all 4 freebies with only 2 TO.  Ending the first half on a high note!  The move back to his more natural SF spot is finally paying off, as he’s averaging at least 6/6/6 (THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST!) the past 4 games.  The FG% is terrible, but I guess I have to believe a little in the out-of-position dimes.  The greatest trick Miss Turner ever played was convincing me he wasn’t fantasy usable!  Well, he still isn’t ever going to be a stalwart on 10 or 12 team squads due to the low %s, TOs, and absence of 3s, but a lot of teams could use his popcorn stats for their build.  He’s like Lance Stephenson, but actually worth owning!  At least for now, if he sticks with Boston until the end of the year… Here’s what else went down in our last busy slate of NBA games before the All-Star Break:

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I’m not what you would profile as a “PC”, “everyone gets a trophy” type. I’m not a raging “right winger” either, but the “politically correct” epidemic is taking over, and I’m not going to stand for it any longer. Besides, I much prefer “sitting down”. But the “all star” “process” has gotten a little too “concerned” with “inclusiveness”. I believe that you can feel my sarcasm at this point, so to further the snarky quotations would just be douchey of me. And speaking of douchey, the NBA has changed the all star weekend to the point where it’s too silly. I propose the following rule changes be reverted to their original order:

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With the football season over we can now fully concentrate on the NBA.  Last weekend the article did awesome.  I had my best day of the year and if you followed the write up I am sure you did well too.  We have a 7 game slate on tap for tonight.  I want you to take note that I am not going to write up any of the starting Golden St. players.  It’s not that they aren’t good plays.   Golden St. is in the middle of a tough schedule.  They are playing their 6th game in 8 days, the  third set of a series of b2b’s.  After playing a tough game in Atlanta last night, a game against the Knicks gives Steve Kerr a opportunity to limit the minutes or rest some of the starters.

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Ugh.  I’ve said numerous times I hate when injuries prove any calls right or wrong, but my BJ tooting horn, ya know – the one that says sell high – isn’t looking bad anymore.

If you missed it over the weekend, Brandon Jennings tore his Achilles and is out for the season.  And this isn’t one of those LaMarcus Aldridge thingies where he can just decide not to have surgery and keep playing.  Let’s hope Aldridge didn’t inject some sort of juice in that thumb!  ADHD alert, JB!  More on L.A. later…  So with BJ done, the Pistons only have to change one letter and put in the D.J.!  D.J. Augustin is an obvious must-own in all leagues, and while I’ve been one of the hardest “Wahhhhhhhh!  I’m Jarrett Jack!” pushers, Augustin vaulted him right away, even before last night.  Tore up the Craptors for 18 points in the first half in a redonkulous 35/4/8 line with 5 treys.  D.J.s no longer welcome in Canada!  Wedding costs are going to be out of hand…  No more Jazzy Jeff!  “Who got maple syrup all over the turntable, eh?!”  If you’re reading this and there’s still a D.J. on your wire, as The Crystal Method would say, “NOW IS THE TIME!”  Here’s what else went down over the crazy weekend of fantasy basketball:

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Last year, I think Jonas Valanciunas might have won the “most annoying player for JB” award.  Eh, Jeff Green was up there too…  But we’ve got a clear front-runner for 14-15!

If you had money on Brandon Jennings racking up the first double dimebag of the season, then all praise be onto you!  Great game against the Magic, as he gashed their “defense” for a 24/0/21/0/0 line.  Pretty empty to me, only two cats in there!  First 20-assist game this season, doubling up the dimebags and making BJ’s value as high as Katt Williams.  You’re probably looking like this as a Jennings owner right now!  He’s only the 4th guy to put up a 20/20 game since 2000, and I guess all my sell Jennings high hooblah is looking a little dumb now…  I still think if you can get one of the higher-tier guys like a Jeff Teague you have to do it, but otherwise I guess it’s a strong hold and ride the wave.  Upside of two dimebags on any given night?!  That’s a friend you need to keep for life!  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

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After celebrating Ohio State’s National Championship on Monday, LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers lineup on Tuesday. He picked up right where he left off, scoring 33 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, and dishing out 5 assists following a two-week break due to knee and back issues. The Cavaliers still lost the game, but fantasy owners won’t care about the Cavs’ record as long as James continues to put up lines like that.

James looked healthy and explosive, especially on these dunks. He wasn’t on a minutes restriction, as he saw 37 minutes of court time. James’ return pushes Mike Miller back to the bench, but he wasn’t providing much in starter’s minutes anyways.

While Miller moved back to the bench, J.R. Smith put up 29 points in his third start for the Cavs, after scoring 4 and 27 points in his two previous starts. It’s clear that Smith can still score in bunches on any given night, but expect the inconsistency to continue, as he is the fourth option on offense. There are just not enough shots to go around when you’re starting alongside Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James.

Now that J.R. Smith is teammates with Shawn Marion, perhaps Smith will stop trying to untie Marion’s shoes.

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What a game in London!  One of the biggest franchises in the NBA, losers of 15 straight heading into yesterday’s international soiree, were the heavy underdogs to the Bucks.  Yikes.

Best player in the game?  Probably my boyfriend!  Brandon Knight went all Guy Ritchie on the Knicks for 6 Snatches and a 20/5/6/6/0 line.  Hit two threes and continues to be a FT% beast with 6-6 from the stripe.  Really the only annoying thing about Knight right now is he only had one game this week!  Friggin’ Brits.  Stealing our ideas like “sovereignty” and “not beheading people”.  Black Mirror is pretty dope though!  There is one thing about Knight that is actually a little concerning – papi no likey el TO!  3.4 per game with another 3 yesterday.  But so far in Janurary – very small sample bias – they’re down a tad.  Really like Knight ROS, and as a possible husband.  Here’s what else went down last night in fantasy basketball action:

[NOTE – I’ll be out of town Monday, so I’ll be back with the weekend/Monday recap on Tuesday!]

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Operation shutdown: when a team shuts down a star player in order to preserve them for the future. It’s a fear of every fantasy owner and that’s exactly what the Knicks are contemplating doing with Carmelo Anthony and his sore knee.

As a DC sports fan, I’m all too familiar with the shutdown. Different sport, different circumstances, but it’s the same idea.

As of now, Anthony refuses to be shut down. He’s said that his knee won’t get any worse by playing on it, but he’s already missed the last five games with the injury.

Having lost 14 games in a row, the Knicks have now surpassed the 76ers as the worst team in the league. It’s clear that the Knicks are in total rebuild mode. This week, the Knicks waived Samuel Dalembert and traded JR “I’ve Never Taken a Bad Shot” Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers in a salary cap dump.

Right now, Anthony is day-to-day without a timetable for his return. He says he wants to play next week in London, but we don’t know for sure.

Please, blog, may I have some more?