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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So one of my favorite Charlotte Hornets memories was Glen Rice winning the All-Star Game MVP in 1997.  I was still a chitlin, but even then I knew the Hornets were the epitome of small market (and moved just a few years later).  Rice seemed like a fill-in bench player (even though he was pretty nasty in 96-97 with a by far career-high 26.8 a game), but went absolutely bonkers in the ASG second half, putting up 20 in the 3rd quarter.  He was hotter than P.J. Hairston in a “yo mama” contest!  I knew the Hornets had no title aspirations (ending up getting swept in the first round), but it made the whole season worth it.

And the Glen Rices of the world now have another, well smaller, trophy on their mantle with Glen Rice Jr. winning the Summer League MVP.  Actually, I’m not sure if he gets a trophy… Maybe just a stack of $1,000 in Belagio chips… Either way, Rice put up a 6-game line of 25/7.8/2.3/2.5/0.5 boosted by a plain stupid 36/11/3/4/0 line with six treys last Saturday.  “Pretend every game is the All-Star game film I always make you watch, son!”  The Wizards boosted their wings (and headband usage) with Paul Pierce brought in, plus Otto Porter should see a lot of minutes off the bench.  But behind Bradley Beal, Martell Webster just had herniated disc back surgery leaving a big early-season gap for backup SG minutes.  Sure Garrett Temple might be able to fill-in, but off the hot Summer, I think Rice Jr. has got some minutes coming his way.  Plus one of the biggest concerns for Beal is his injury risk, so a deep-league gamble on Glenny Jr. could be an interesting flier.  Here’s what else has gone down with Summer League wrapping up and free agency moves:

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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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Razzball Nation!  You’ve seen a dime a dozen… And no I’m not talking about lady parts or buttcheeks on Game of Thrones…. But mock 2014 NBA Drafts!  And since Game of Thrones is the hottest thing on TV, Slim and I decided to join the fray.  Let’s pretend he’s built like Drogo, the facial hair is fa rizz folks,  and I back-and-forth with him like whatever the hell that giant was north of the wall.  But not like that!  Wait, this just got way off track…

What we did differently is alternate picks to adjust our thoughts and expectations accordingly.  Slim thinks Embiid to the Cavs, I think it’s Wiggins, many others think Parker… We then have to make new thoughts as we go, and track players falling to get them to their upcoming destinations.  We both go into why we made that pick for the team, and a quick blurb on their fantasy impact on said destination should it come to fruition.  Here’s how we see the 2014 NBA Draft’s First Round going down:

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Brewers baby!  Best record in baseball.  9 in a row.  Oh yea, this is basketball, but man!  My Brewers are unstoppable!  And it carried over to the hardwood, when Corey Brewer had maybe the most preposterous, out-of-nowhere game all year.  I actually did highlights for the Wolves Rockets game Friday night, and it was like watching a pickup game where one guy was just light years better than everyone else.  Slice-n-dice, no need to take shots.  In the first quarter, I leaned over to a co-worker and said Brewer is having the game of his life.  Made me look smart!  Going in with a career-high of 29, Brewer dropped 51 on like, a trillion layups and pick 6s.  51/2/1/6/0, and just how everyone learned from Oliver, “you’ve got to pick a pocket or two!”  Or six.  And probably 5 of them led to uncontested layups, but he did have some pretty sick and-ones for good measure.  Deeper leaguers that had Brewer probably thought stat tracker was broken Friday night.  I’ve always been a Brewer fan, it was sad to have to trade him to Slim, but when Kevin Martin and Kevin Love returned, it was cool down time for the NBA’s Brew Crew on Sunday, going for only 10 and two steals.  Regardless, I love that Brewer now gets to share a milestone with Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson and Rick Barry as the only guys to go 50+ with 6+ steals.  One of these is not like the other!  Good for Brewer, and if the Wolves indeed deal Love and/or let K-Mart walk, Brewer could be pretty interesting next year.  Here’s what else I saw over the weekend in fantasy basketball action:

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Perhaps the funniest catch phrase I made up with my buddies while watching the NBA through college -”Wahhhhhh I’m Jarrett Jack!” – can be used in so many instances.  It’s like Brian Dennehy’s speech about how versatile the F-Bomb is when he played Bobby Knight in an ESPN movie.  Whomever greenlit that idea, airing a movie with constant F-Bombs on ESPN2, is probably fired.  He’s like, “Don’t fire me!  Wahhhhhhhhh!  Wahhhhhhhhhhh, I’m Jarrett Jack!”  I use this phrase because every time I seem to watch him, he looks so so sad.  And just look at the cover screen grab for the Yahoo recap from the game last night!  So after Kyrie Irving flexed his guns too hard, Jack had three starts of very uninspiring ball.  Mike Brown sat him down and said he needed more from him.  The veteran responded, “Wahhhhhhhhh I’m Jarrett Jack!”   Then last night rolled around with the Knicks rolling out Raymond Felton to play defense.  Seriously, it’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the blueberry chick.  The only difference is Felton actually ate the meals and didn’t chew the LSD-laced gum!  After a minute or two, Felton was winded, and went “Wahhhhhhhh, I have to guard Jarrett Jack!”  Jack lit up the terrible Knicks D for 31/5/10 with a trey and a side of whoopass.  Finally kicking it into gear as the starter, Jack has a four-gamer cooking up for week two of the playoffs, with my eye eagerly on Wednesday at the awful Pistons.  It doesn’t really matter who he’s playing, pretty much a must own.  Of course, in all my leagues where I’m still alive, he was already snatched up.  “Wahhhhhhhhh, I’m Jarrett Jack!”  Here’s what else I caught over the weekend in NBA action:

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I imagine if you’re reading this, you have an injury or two on your fantasy roster, and you need promenade left to do-si-do your way into week 2. I don’t know where I’m going with this analogy, I’m more of an electric bugaloo type myself. But while I may not understand the allure of square dancing, I do understand all too well how an injury can derail your playoff hopes. I lost Kyrie Irving, and Jameer Nelson this week, and I will be hard pressed to make it past my opponent. There are more cats out than just those two: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dwight Howard, Nikola Pekovic, Andre Drummond, Jonas Valanciunas, Jamal Crawford, and the list goes on. So what’s a fantasy owner to do? You already know the answer, and it sucks the sack: Captain Obvious reminds you that you have to look long and hard at your situation, and decide whether you can afford to hold onto your injured player, or to drop him, because he can’t help you if you don’t make it to the semis. Of the few I just listed, only Kyrie, Jamal, LaMarcus and Nikola are pretty much guaranteed to be out for the weekend at least, perhaps into the semi finals week, so take that into consideration. If you do decide to drop somebody, here’s, in my opinion, the best of the waiver:

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Wow.  Last night was rocky.  For a lot of people.  Hopefully your playoff teams came out of the better end!  Lots of guys with minor injuries were forced to sit, and within only minutes of each other Nikola Vucevic and Josh Smith got ejected in different games.  Pretty much like the wild west out there!  Next thing you know, I’m quoting Will Smith from that god forsaken movie… “Let me kindly stand up!”  Probably the biggest benefactor in what will be dubbed “DNP-Day” was Aaron Brooks, who started for Ty Lawson who had “illness”.  Wow, that sounds ominous.  Brooks went all 2009 on us, and posted a redonk 27/6/17 line.  Dude, if you played in a daily league or if you were streaming Brooks for the dimes, you just got a major sign from the fantasy gods.  “You, my son, are blessed with stats that overfloweth!”  Distribute some to us less fortunate ones!  The Nugs play again on Friday, and it’s tough to say what Lawson’s status will be by then.  Ricky Rubio went bonkers on the Mavs last night (more below), so if Brooks does get the start – cue the Pavlovian salivating.  Here’s what else I saw last night in fantasy hoops action (and if you get here early enough, be sure to sign up for the Razzball NCAA Bracket pool with a fun prize to the winner!):

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The injury bug hath claimed another victim, with LaMarcus Aldridge suffering a tough fall in San Antonio on his lower back/coccyx.  What are you doing to us fantasy gods?!  While reports right now is it was only a lower back contusion, you never want to hear “needed a wheelchair to get around the arena.”  Unless you’re Professor X!  Yikes.  As Slim is putting out early this afternoon, the Blazers have a mammoth of a 5-week slate coming up in the second week of the playoffs.  So if you’re an Aldridge owner, I would just thank my blessings, or count my lucky stars, or something like that, if L.A. can indeed give you all five of those.  In the immediacy, Thomas Robinson looks like an interesting pickup for some flashy upside.  “Oh camon JB, Thomas Robinson again!?”  Yup!  And I said it last time and he had a 14/18/2/0/2 in there!  I serious doubt Aldridge will suit up again this week, giving T-Rob some serious run.  We’ll obviously get some more detailed updates throughout the day, so sacrifice a shot of rum to Jobu, or rub your bunions against the carpet, whatever you do to appease the fantasy gods to get a healthy Aldridge back for the postseason.  Here’s what else went down in fantasy action:

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Wow, what a wild night across the NBA-osphere.  Tons of injuries, lots of scrubs getting some burn, if I didn’t know better, I woulda though it was late March.  But no!  I guess we can start with that other JB as Jerryd Bayless moved into the starting line-up and lit up the Hawks for a season-high 29 Pts.  Shooting 12-21, it was pretty ThrAGNOFfy for 29/2/2/1/0 with 5 treys.  Why you avoid the 3-point specialists on draft day!  Who knows what preppy-boy Brad Stevens is going to do next, and while getting the Pacers on Saturday isn’t a great matchup, home games vs. GS, BKN, then DET next week could be a 10 3PTM week for JB.  And while he’s not as multi-cat as the real JB over here, we can all grab the band if we need some scoring.  I’ll wear a headband as well for the moral support!  Here’s what else went down on a very busy night of injuries and surprise games in the NBA:

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