• I know that this will be a very hectic weekend for all of us. My plate is full with a ton of fantasy basketball drafts. I’m sure a lot of you are in a similar boat and are excited, just like I am, to totally kill it.

    Last-Minute Advice:

    Remember to lock in your own pre-draft rankings. Freshen up on the last-minute news. Keep some key notes such as positional tiers, a hot list, and ADP reports within arms reach. Get a good night’s sleep before your draft. Being well rested helps keep a sharp and incisive mind on point. Lastly, relax. Have fun. Let the research take your team to the level it needs to be to annihilate the competition.

    Injury Alert:

    Nicolas Batum is officially out for 8 to 12 weeks with a torn ligament in his elbow. This development immediately provides a fantasy bump for Jeremy Lamb, Malik Monk, and to some extent even Michael Carter-Williams (once he’s 100 percent). Avoid Batum in re-draft leagues where teams don’t have IR slots and/or set rosters daily.

    Dion Waiters is still bothered by his nagging ankle injury and threw up a dud of a game (1-of-8 shooting) against the Nets. He’s a risky late-round play and it would be better to find an alternative instead.

    Jusuf Nurkic hurt his leg and headed to the locker room to have it looked at. It didn’t look too serious but be sure to check back at Hoop-Ball for the latest updates.

    Preseason Action

    There were four preseason games on tap. The Rockets were in China and were hosted by the Shanghai Sharks, with the NBA club coming away with the blowout win as expected. The Miami Heat fell to the Brooklyn Nets, 88-107. The Orlando Magic dropped the Nowitzki-less Mavericks, 89-112; and the Portland Trail Blazers edged out the Toronto Raptors 101-106.

    The Dallas-Orlando game gave us another sweet, sweet taste of the offerings we can expect to be served on the “Aaron Gordon Hype Train”, which by the way, has left the station and is gaining steam once again. Gordon dropped a 17-10 dub-dub on efficient shooting, a trey, and just one turnover. He did fail to give prospective owners a sampling of his defensive numbers, but at least the energy he brought was electrifying. This finally could very well be the breakout year we’ve been waiting for him to deliver. As long as you keep those expectations in check, hope for the best, and not grab him too early, Aaron should provide some nice returns of value.

    Speaking of forwards, Dwight Powell showed us that he may just be ready to contribute. Dirk Nowitzki missed this game due to rest and Powell joined the starters in this one. He finished the night with 11 points, six boards, and two treys in 24 minutes.

    Those storylines are nice and all but no forward has made more noise this preseason than Portland rookie Caleb Swanigan. The athletic Purdue product cleaned up on the glass again their game against the Raptors. In his 18 minutes on the hardwood, “Swagnigan” (coined here first) scored six points, hauled in eight boards, and handed out three assists. Talk about him making a case to start for the Blazers this season is gaining serious traction. Even if he doesn’t start right out of the gate, he will get many opportunities to showcase his gifts. For now, he’s worth a standard league flier pick if you’re feeling aggressively speculative. Caleb is already on the radar and is being drafted and/or being picked up, post-draft in many of my deep leagues. He will face some competition from fellow rookie Zach Collins, so keep an eye on that guy as well.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had a solid game against the Heat, dropping 10 points, eight rebounds, four dimes, and two steals. RHJ is not going to wow you in the scoring department, but as a late-round pick, he should be able to provide a boost to your team’s rebounds and steals.

    Houston’s favorite “3 and D” forward, Trevor Ariza rained down treys on the Shanghai Sharks. He nailed four 3-pointers en route to his 18-point, 10-rebound game. He’s been scorching hot lately and is already primed to outperform his underrated ADP yet again. You hear “sleeper” thrown around every season, sometimes for the wrong players. Ariza is someone who is slept on year in and year out. Don’t be that guy who takes Andrew Wiggins over Ariza. You’re just not doing it right.

    Have a great weekend and may you kill it in your drafts!

    Remember, you can always reach me on Twitter: @FantasyHoopla, if you want to chat about fantasy hoops!

     

Fantasy News

  • Tyus Jones - PG - Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Wolves have extended a qualifying offer to Tyus Jones, per Adrian Wojnarowski, meaning he will be a restricted free agent.

    Jones allegedly asked for a trade last offseason before Tom Thibodeau reassured him that a larger role was coming. Instead, the team added Derrick Rose. Jones is too good for the Wolves to let him go UFA without having the chance to match, but given their reported interest in players like D'Angelo Russell, it certainly doesn't look like Jones will play a serious role. There's standard-league potential with Jones if he ever gets the proper playing time, so fantasy players should be hoping that another team produces an offer that's too rich for Minnesota.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Allen Crabbe - SG - Atlanta Hawks

    Allen Crabbe was arrested for DUI in California on Tuesday night, per a report from TMZ.

    TMZ also adds that Crabbe blew the legal limit of .08, resulting in him being booked for a misdemeanor DUI. There could be some supplemental discipline headed his way, but it will not be anything major.

    Source: TMZ

  • Kevin Durant - SF - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) is headed for unrestricted free agency after deciding to decline his player option.

    Durant's injury, which will take all of next season to heal, cast some doubt on whether he would pass up $31.5 million, but it's unlikely that teams would allow that to limit their offers to Durant. He's drawing interest from the Warriors, Knicks, Nets and surely other teams we haven't heard about, but word is that the Nets are prepared to offer KD a four-year max. His decision will be the first big domino in free agency.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Bol Bol - C - Denver Nuggets

    Bol Bol might not play in Summer League.

    Bol is apparently fully recovered from a stress fracture in his left foot but the Nuggets will take things slow with their new center. It's possible that he does end up suiting up, but that depends on what the doctors decide is the best course of action. Bol will at least be in Vegas to get to know some of his teammates and learn the playbook a bit, but it would be a real shame if we didn't get to see him on the court.

    Source: Katy Winge on Twitter

  • Kevin Durant - SF - Golden State Warriors

    Anthony Slater of the Athletic is reporting that the Warriors aren't seriously exploring the possibility of a delayed sign-and-trade of Kevin Durant.

    There has been speculation in the media that the Warriors could sign Durant to a five-year, $221 million contract with the understanding that they trade him to his preferred destination at a later date. Brian Windhorst specifically called it “a last-ditch” effort on the Warriors’ part to avoid losing KD in free agency with no return. It would take a strong level of trust on Durant’s part to agree to such a deal, but the Warriors would be smart to help facilitate a trade to wherever he wants to go.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kawhi Leonard - SF - Toronto Raptors

    Marc Stein of the New York Times is reporting that Kawhi Leonard is strongly considering signing a two-year, $70 million deal to remain with the world champion Raptors.

    Leonard is being courted by nearly every team in a major market after his championship run with the Raptors, and he is expected to meet with the Clippers next week. It has been suggested that signing a two-year deal with a player option in the third year would hold appeal for Leonard, since he would then be eligible for a higher maximum contract in the summer of 2021, after completing his 10th season. Kawhi averaged 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in 60 regular-season games with the Raptors and he should maintain the same value regardless of where he lands.

    Source: Marc Stein

  • Klay Thompson - SG - Golden State Warriors

    All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson would be open to a meeting with the Clippers should the Warriors not offer him a max-level contract, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

    Thompson is an unrestricted free agent this offseason and will undergo surgery later this week while Warriors general manager Bob Myers said it’s unclear when he will return. Thompson’s father, Mychal Thompson, told the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month that there’s “no question” Klay will re-sign with the Warriors. The 29-year old shooting guard averaged 21.5 points and 3.5 rebounds during the regular season and along with Steph Curry and Draymond Green, has been an integral part of the Warriors’ core that has reached the Finals five straight times.

    Source: ESPN

  • DeMarcus Cousins - C - Golden State Warriors

    Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins is among the players on the Knicks’ radar, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

    Cousins, 28, is coming off a one-year stint with the Warriors, where he averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds, but he was limited to just 30 regular-season games. New York is still holding out hope for Kevin Durant but if he doesn’t come to the Big Apple, the Knicks clearly have others on their radar as sort of contingency plans and Boogie is one of them. Spears also reported that the Knicks have their eyes on Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and DeAndre Jordan.

    Source: Marc J. Spears

  • Kevin Durant - SF - Golden State Warriors

    Appearing on ESPN last night, Adrian Wojnarowski said that the Nets plan to offer Kevin Durant, a four-year max contract.

    Brooklyn is in a great position to offer Kyrie Irving a max contract and then use that to pursue KD or perhaps another free agent. Zach Lowe added that the idea of Kyrie as a solo doesn’t appear to be the plan but the Nets would ultimately take on Irving as a solo act, although there would probably be a divide within the organization. KD is expected to miss the majority of the next season but it looks like teams won’t have any second thoughts offering him the max.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski

  • Bobby Portis - PF - Washington Wizards

    Tony Jones and Fred Katz of The Athletic are reporting Bobby Portis is looking for as much as $16 million in free agency and has interest from multiple teams.

    According to Jones and Katz, the Wizards aren't expected to match a huge offer sheet on Portis. As a restricted free agent, the Wiz declining to match would allow him to go elsewhere. The Utah Jazz have been a team at the top of the list on the rumor mill. Portis averaged 14.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in 28 games for the Wiz last season.

    Source: Tony Jones on Twitter