The NBA really is Jordan Belfort.  The Wolf of Fantasy Sports!  It’s tantric and never slows down, from the Finals ending less than two weeks before the draft, free agency hitting a week later and we’re already starting summer ball.  And the NBA will soon revel in the excess that is the 16-17 salary cap boost with a TV deal that put Seinfeld reruns to shame.  I need my ludes to get me through!

Even the Spurs couldn’t avoid the world of excess and massive free agency signings, bringing in LaMarcus Aldridge for a cool $80 million.  Loosening up the purse strings!  My first thought was, “dammit, Kawhi is never gonna be the guy!”  Then again, he got over $90 mil with his extension, so there’s that!  But Kawhi Leonard sometimes struggles with the mid-range and long-distance shooting, so L.A. should help Kawhi by opening up some lanes and keeping him in his game.  This is going to be a crazy offense, with Tim Duncan moving to center and likely being his solid old self.  Which leaves us with what to expect from Aldridge…  And, me no likey for fantasy.  After being really durable early in his career, he’s had a few bumps and bruises (I know, I know, playing through a torn thumb tendon gets mad props) and the Spurs – as we all know – love to limit the minutes.  I also don’t think he quite gets to 20 shots a game like we’ve seen the past few years.  I had him 20 in my way too early rankings, but the move drops him a few spots at the least.  L.A. in S.A. is not OK!  Here’s what else has gone on through the first few days of free agency and rookie ball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

[We’ve got the Trade Deadline Podcast up!  Slim and I react to all this hooblah as this post continues to be updated – you can find the Pod the post below this one as well as that link.]

Razzball Nation!

The Trade Deadline is nigh, which is to say, soon.  Can I trade the start of this open with a different one…?  “Did you hear the one about how the Hawks got nothing for the broke ass of Josh Smith last trade deadline?!”  Imagine the Hawks with a lottery pick as well…  I guess as fortune-tellers, they knew they didn’t need anything for Smoove!

The 2015 NBA Trade Deadline will pass at 3:00 PM EST, and up until the closing moments, I’ll be updating this post as each trade moves across my virtual news desk.  Fantasy spins galore!  That’s the younger sister of Pussy Galore…  So be sure to constantly ping that refresh like Goldfinger on Kitco!  Here’s what’s gone down so far:

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Maybe it’s because this is my first season writing for Razzball, but it seems like just about every week this season, there are a handful of fantasy stars who have come down with serious injuries.

Last week, I mentioned that LaMarcus Aldridge and Kobe Bryant would miss a significant amount of time. This week, we have more clarity on their situations.

Aldridge was supposed to have surgery on the torn ligament in his thumb and miss 6-8 weeks. He changed his mind and decided that he would play through the pain, just in time to beat my Wizards on Saturday night. He may miss a few games here and there, but as long as he can manage the pain, he should remain a top player. Hopefully you didn’t drop him prematurely.

Kobe Bryant on the other hand doesn’t have the option of playing through his torn rotator cuff. He’s out for the season and is droppable in all redraft leagues. There isn’t talk of retirement yet, but the future hall of famer’s career is coming closer to the end.

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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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The new year brings us the glorious 2nd coming of the Durantula, again.  Kevin Durant looked better than expected going 44/10/7/0/1 with 6 3s and 12-12 FTs.  Sure you could argue the stat line was OT aided but just that Durant played 40 minutes after missing 6 games tells me there is nothing wrong with his ankle.  I imagine any buy low window is long gone after this game but he might be worth one last attempt to trade for.  If you thought this is why I watched this game though you would be wrong.  I wanted to see the Steven Adams vs Alex Len match-up.  Lurch with 9/7/1/1/0 in 27 minutes and Len with 2/6/0/0/1 in 22 minutes.  There is no question Adams is the guy to own.  Neither are part of the offense but at times Len looked bored and unsure of what he was supposed to be doing on both ends of the court.  That is a sentence I will never write about Steven Adams.  His aggression does one of two things.  The foul trouble associated will give him a few duds but it will also lead to big games which I don’t think Len has in him this year.  There were a ton of huge stat lines in this 137-134 overtime thriller but perhaps the stat that tells the biggest story was the 6 technical fouls.  Including two and an ejection for…

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“Wahhhhhhh, I’m Jarrett Jack!”

He’s.  Just.  So.  Sad!  Cheer up, buttercup!  Deron Williams is just plain terrible these days…  Which means starting minutes!

Even though he didn’t set the world on fire last night (16/3/2/1/0), Jack seems to have a stronghold on the Nets starting PG spot.  With the range for treys (one 3PTM the past three games) and a great FT%, Jack is a must-own in all leagues for me.  However, there is a major concern.  The Showcase Showdown!  Brooklyn is trying to pawn Williams off like a bad case of gonorrhea, and sometimes you have to coax out the virus before it goes away!  Hah – let’s hope that’s not true, totally making that up (cough, cough…).  With another bajillion dollars left on D-Will’s contract, the injury-riddled walking kankle is a tough sell.  Then again, maybe keeping him off the bench will protect him from another injury making him go from normally hard to sell to “leave him on the curb and hope someone takes him” hard to sell.  Regardless, most teams even in 10ers should have room for Jack, as I think it’s likely he starts the rest of the season for the soon-to-be rebuilding Nets.  And there’s no one else that’s even waiting in the wings…  So pick up Jack where you can if he’s still out there, if only to cheer him up!  Here’s what else went down last night in Fantasy Basketball action:

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As we head into August, now is a perfect time to take a look back at the free agency period for the upcoming 2014-15 NBA season.

While there is one big name yet to sign (Eric Bledsoe), a few less-intriguing options still on the market (Michael Beasley, Andray Blatche, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Crawford), and another who’s unsure whether he’ll play or retire (Ray Allen), most of the fantasy basketball world knows where guys will be playing this season.  Of course, that still doesn’t include the possibility of Kevin Love finding a new home by the end of the summer, but that could be the subject of an entirely different article.

There is little doubt in anyone’s mind that Love will land in Cleveland, which will make them a huge force in the Eastern Conference — and in the entire NBA.

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Free agency is here!  It has been a bit mum since the FA pool is awaiting that LeBron James cannonball, leaving us without a good snapshot of how the league will look in 2014-15.  But we’ve got Summer League getting into gear and a couple interesting FA moves.

With the The Decision 2.0 on hold, even P.J. Hairston is antsy and trying to get some ball in.  According to reports, he got into a fight with a high school senior, literally at the YMCA closest to the one where I play pickup (Chapel Hill).  While some guys are really good at Chapel Hill, there aren’t any NBA players actin’ a fool and calling three in the key!  This is likely a non-story, but it just makes you shake your head.  Almost as much as my former rookie nookie Archie Goodwin getting arrested at an Arkansas skating rink.  Sure, you can tweet “Don’t assume if you don’t know the whole story…” to which I say, “the hell you gonna get into that kinda situation at a skating rink for!”  Man, that pine gonna stay warm this year, Archie!  Here’s some other [actually useful for fantasy] news and notes of free agent signings and early Summer League performances:

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“Whoa JB, two straight titles with ‘Triple Double’ in em.  You get an F for creativity, ya wank!”  Well, I have an F for you troll commenter!  Hard not to talk about trip dubs, especially when you have only two games and with under ten seconds left the dude hurts himself again.  Monster line from Blake Griffin in the loss to the Mavs, putting up 25/10/11/1/1 on 9-23 shooting, with 7-7 FT.  After missing a game with back spasms, Blake was able to suit up and was no worse for the wear.  For 47:51 that is.  Well, except maybe getting posterized by Brandan Wright.  Bias alert!  TNT didn’t show A SINGLE replay of that dunk.  Say whaaaa?!  Anyway, with under 10 seconds left, Blake took an inbounds pass and rolled his ankle on the court with no contact.  They were down six anyway!  Reminds me of Rob Gronkowski on the special teams and breaking his arm on a PAT up like 30 points.  Eh, maybe not the best comparison, but the game was over!  He said his back is ok and his ankle is fine, he’s just clumsy.  “Clumsy Clara!”  We’ll get more updates throughout the day, but if he has some swelling in that ankle or his back is still jacked when he gets up this morning, we might get a DNP.  Which spells terror for title bids coming into the final weekend for standard leagues.  Spells apocalypse.  Which ironically I found hard to spell for the longest while… The horror.  The horror…  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA action:

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– – do this anymore!!!!  And that’s appropriate too because when you run out of the Air Canada Centre, it turns from solid ground to ice!  Both Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross won’t be frantically chasing down kids any time soon with ankle injuries last night.  Lowry still finished out the OTs, but coach Casey said it was a bad booboo.  He’s had a ton of injury problems through his career, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he misses at least a couple.  We’ll see after it gets re-evaluated today.  Then Ross’ sounds worse, happening in the 2nd quarter and he wasn’t able to get back in.  Ross can’t!  Stepped on a foot and it rolled.  Those are never fun.  Did shoot his freebies and walk off under his own power, so there’s that.  In shallow leagues, if Ross was giving you some points you sorely needed you can hold out maybe a game, but he’s probably streamable.  The main takeaway is Greivis Vasquez chose the perfect game to get hot, scoring a season-high 26 for a 26/2/8/2/0 line with 4 treys which is muy bueno.  Did have 6 TOs which is muy mal.  With the Raptors possibly missing both Lowry and Ross Sunday against Golden State, un opporunidad is there for Vasquez to have a major stream-tastic outing.  You can sneak in Pts/3s/Asts/Stls and when you win, you’re opponent is gonna be like, “clever girl!”  Here’s what else I saw last night in NBA hoops:

Please, blog, may I have some more?