• Welcome, Hoop Ball readers, to another edition of The Week Ahead!

    As you probably know, the trade deadline was full of trades that shook up the dynamic of the NBA. Some trades made teams contenders, while other trades showed that a few teams are just looking for a change in culture. The 76ers traded for Tobias Harris without giving up a starter, so their starting lineup can now compete with anyone in the NBA.  The Kings traded for Harrison Barnes to fill the small forward position that has been a hole for quite some time.  The Bulls and Wizards swapped young players as the Bulls got Otto Porter Jr. and the Wizards got Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis.  The Raptors traded for Marc Gasol and gave the Grizzlies Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, and CJ Miles in return.  The Pelicans hung on to Anthony Davis, but they traded Nikola Mirotic to the Bucks. The Bucks, 76ers, and Raptors are all trying to prove that they are a competitive force in the East after many pegged the Celtics to be the favorite prior to the season. In the buyout market, Wesley Matthews signed with the Indiana Pacers to fill the void left by the injury to Victor Oladipo and Wayne Ellington went to Detroit after they lost Reggie Bullock.  Enes Kanter and Markieff Morris are the other two main guys on the buyout market that could potentially join contending teams.

    The All-Star draft was also this week and it seems as though LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a lot of fun with it.  Antetokounmpo picked Steph Curry as his first starter and Khris Middleton as his first reserve.  James picked Kevin Durant as his first starter and Anthony Davis as his first reserve.  After the draft, the two captains traded Ben Simmons for Russell Westbrook as James pointed out that Westbrook and Joel Embiid do not get along so it would be fun to see them as teammates on Team Giannis.  Bradley Beal was the last pick of the reserves round and he ended up on Team LeBron.  James also got first pick in the legacy round and took Dwyane Wade, which means that Dirk Nowitzki is on Team Giannis.  It will be fun to see how this game plays out on Sunday night.

    Now here is an overview of the week ahead:

    Weekly Schedule Breakdown

    3 games: Knicks

    2 games: 76ers, Bucks, Bulls, Cavs, Celtics, Clippers, Grizzlies, Hawks, Heat, Hornets, Magic, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers, Pelicans, Pistons, Raptors, Rockets, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Warriors, Wizards, Wolves

    1 games: Jazz, Kings, Lakers, Spurs, Suns

    Best Schedule: Clippers (at Wolves, Suns)

    The new-look Clippers traded away their best player, but they are still in the playoff race and have an easy two games this week.  They acquired Landry Shamet, Garrett Temple, Ivica Zubac, JaMychal Green and Wilson Chandler and gave up Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Avery Bradley.   The Clippers also acquired some solid picks in these trades, so this could benefit them in the long run.  They are playing the 12th seed Wolves and the 15th seed Suns this week and should be able to end the first half of the season on a high note.  Look for Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac, and Danilo Gallinari to have big weeks.

    Worst Schedule: Jazz (at Warriors)

    The Jazz play just one game before the break and it is against the hottest team in the NBA, the Warriors.  The Warriors have hit their stride and are looking like the same team that won 3 of the last 4 championships.  The Jazz will have a tough time winning this one in Oracle Arena, but expect Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell to put up solid numbers.

    Game of the Week: Celtics at 76ers on Tuesday, February 12th at 8 PM ET

    The Celtics and 76ers have become rivals since the playoffs last season, and the 76ers are looking good since acquiring Tobias Harris while the Celtics are a mess.  Marcus Morris said the Celtics’ season has not been fun for a while, which is disappointing to hear after looking at the youngsters thrive in the playoffs last year.  If Kyrie Irving is able to give it a go, this should be a fun game to watch and could come down to the wire.  Tune in on Tuesday night.

    Waiver Wire Watch

    Bobby Portis – Portis was acquired by the Wizards for Otto Porter Jr. and has played well in two games thus far.  He is putting up top-40 value in the two games he has played for the Wizards, and he is averaging 20 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two threes and one block on 55.2% shooting.  He is coming off the bench, but he is essentially their sixth man, so he should see plenty of opportunities to put up good value.  He is worth picking up if he is sitting on the wire.

    Kenrich Williams – Kenrich Williams has come out of nowher for the Pelicans and is becoming a must-own in standard formats.  He has started the last four games and over the past two weeks, he is averaging 12.9 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.2 threes, and 1.1 blocks on 48.6% shooting.  He is seeing the most minutes of anyone on the team in that span and is absolutely worth owning in all formats. He should be picked up immediately if he is floating on the wire in your league.

    JaVale McGee – McGee started the season on an absolute tear, but he cooled down once LeBron James went down and Ivica Zubac started to play well.  However, James is back and Zubac got traded, so McGee is back as the starting center and has returned to playing phenomenal basketball.  Over the past two weeks, he is back to top-70 value and is averaging 15.2 points and 7.7 rebounds on 67.9% shooting in just 20.9 minutes per game.  He should be picked up in all formats as he will likely be locked in for middle-round value for the rest of the season.

    Injury Report

    Derrick White (plantar fasciitis) will likely return after the All-Star break according to head coach Gregg Popovich.  Patty Mills and Bryn Forbes will run the offense while White is down, but neither of them is worth picking up and they are better suited for DFS streams.

    Mo Bamba (lower left leg) suffered a stress fracture in his lower left leg and will be out indefinitely. There is a chance he does not play again this season if the Magic fall out of the playoff picture, but regardless he was not playing enough to warrant many looks in fantasy.  He is stuck behind Nikola Vucevic, so until then his fantasy upside is capped.

    Frank Ntilikina (groin) will likely return to action after the All-Star break after suffering a groin injury on January 27th.  The Knicks are in no rush to bring him back as they are in tank mode, so they will let him get back to 100 percent before returning.

    Another week without a lot of significant injuries, so here is the list of guys who are day-to-day:

    Miles Plumlee, Kyrie Irving, Jared Dudley, DeMarre Carroll, Tony Parker, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas, Andre Iguodala, James Harden, Luc Mbah a Moute, Doug McDermott, Kyle Anderson, Nikola Mirotic, Derrick Rose, Robert Covington, Jeff Teague, Jerryd Bayless, Jahlil Okafor, Elfrid Payton, Emmanuel Mudiay, TJ Warren, De’Anthony Melton, Lonnie Walker, Rudy Gay, Jeff Green

    Check for updates on these guys throughout the week.

    Thanks for reading this week’s edition of The Week Ahead!

Fantasy News

  • Patrick McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw, who has been dealing with a personal issue for the last few games, is active for Game 6 on Saturday vs. the Bucks.

    It looks like McCaw got things sorted out. With him active now, the Raptros will get a bit more depth at the guard spot. That said, Fred VanVleet has been playing well, so McCaw will not likely see a lot of burn tonight outside of potential garbage minutes (if any).

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw - G - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (personal) is back with the Raptors but will not play in Saturday's Game 6.

    McCaw has been away from the team and hasn't played at all in the Conference Finals. Odds are he needs time to work back into shape, and we have a hard time imagining that Nick Nurse introduces him into the mix in Game 6 or a possible Game 7.

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    According to Anthony Puccio of SNY, there's mutual interest between Kyrie Irving and the Nets.

    Irving reportedly likes what the Nets have been building, and the fact that he grew up as a Nets fan certainly doesn't hurt either. The Celtics and Knicks are also known suitors in the Irving sweepstakes, with the Lakers becoming a more popular rumored destination by the day. Brooklyn would love to pair Irving with D'Angelo Russell and have room to add a max free agent.

    Source: SNY

  • OG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors

    OG Anunoby was spotted on the court before Saturday's Game 6, where he was taking jumpers and working on dribbling and footwork drills.

    Anunoby still has no timetable to return but he is trending in the right direction. Should the Raptors make the Finals the general expectation is that Anunoby would at least be an option at some point, but there's not much to act on until we get a more concrete update from the team.

    Source: Blake Murphy on Twitter

  • Jimmy Butler - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Arash Markaz of the LA Times said on Colin Cowherd's show that he's been told the Clippers do not want to sign Jimmy Butler.

    Markaz hinted that the Clippers will go after bigger names than Jimmy Butler this offseason and that the Lakers would likely land him if they were to offer him the max. LeBron James has reportedly already reached out to Butler as well. He will be 30 years old at the start of season and should remain in his prime for at least a couple more seasons. Over 12 playoff games with the 76ers, he averaged 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks and 1.0 triples while shooting 45.1 percent from the field.

    Source: Arash Markazi on Twitter

  • Taylor Jenkins - C - Milwaukee Bucks

    The Grizzlies have interviewed Bucks assistant coach Taylor Jenkins for their vacant head coaching position.

    Jenkins has been on Mike Budenholzer's staff over the last six years with the Hawks and Bucks and was a head coach for the Spurs G-League team prior to that. He is the sixth known candidate to interview for the position with the others being Alex Jensen, Nate Tibbetts, Jarron Collins, Igor Kokoskov and Adrian Griffin.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Mike DAntoni - Coach - Houston Rockets

    Despite Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta stating his intention to bring back coach Mike D’Antoni, recent departures of key staff may indicate that the team is trying to nudge MDA out according to NYT’s Marc Stein.

    Large parts of D’Antoni’s staff including assistant coach Roy Rogers, assistant Mitch Vanya, video coordinator John Cho and player development coach Irv Roland (noted for his work with James Harden) will not be returning next season for the Rockets. There’s some speculation that despite Fertitta’s comments, GM Daryl Morey isn’t fully on board and might be the primary reason behind the recent firings. D’Antoni has one more season on his contract and it’s looking increasingly likely that there will be another shoe to drop.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant (calf strain) still hasn’t progressed to on-court work.

    Durant has already been declared “unlikely” for Thursday’s Game 1 of the Finals and considering DeMarcus Cousins has practiced in full and scrimmaged with the team, it’s looking like he might return to action before Durant. There’s almost a week until the Finals start so we’ll have an update before then.

    Source: Anthony Slater on Twitter

  • DeMarcus Cousins - C - Golden State Warriors

    DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quad) scrimmaged on Friday with coach Steve Kerr adding that he looked good.

    It's still unclear what the timetable is for Cousins but he hasn't yet been ruled out for Game 1 of the Finals. We'll have an update as we draw closer to the start of the Finals next Thursday.

    Source: Nick Friedell on Twitter

  • Adam Silver - Commissioner - Free Agent

    The NBA has moved the start time of free agency to 6 p.m. ET on June 30.

    Previously, free agency officially kicked off at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 but the league is moving it up by six hours to accommodate an extra evening in the news cycle. Additionally, teams have permission to set up free agent meetings starting at 6 p.m. ET on June 29.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter