• Well, my friends, for most of us the season is over.

    We struggled through maintenance days, injuries, “Fiz” being used as a verb, tanking, the Bulls’ and Pels’ special brand of tanking and had a new phrase introduced to our lexicon – “load management” (AKA I’m really healthy but I’m a diva and I want the LeBron treatment if I’m to re-sign in %*^@#$! Canada, so I’ll take the day off), brought to you by Kawhi Leonard (I mean, he’s a robot – how hard is it fix a faulty pump or replace a wonky motherboard?).

    I know many of you overcame this increased randomness – and it does seem to be getting worse – and many of you succumbed (both for some of you in multiple leagues). Compliments are due to those who won and my word of encouragement to those who didn’t, especially the inexperienced, is to not be disheartened. The randomness that did you a disfavor this time can just as easily bless you the next time around – even the basketball gods are subject to sovereignty of the great random.

    Getting my Mr. Rogers on: No matter what the outcome, I hope you enjoyed our time together and moreover I hope you learned something about fantasy basketball. I also hope you accompany me by using the offseason to decompress and put fantasy as far from mind as possible. I’ll enjoy the playoffs (I hope) and after that, there are a few basketball books I have but have yet to read – When the Game Was Ours and Breaks of the Game (though I might acquire and read Seven Seconds or Less first). While I’m deliberating, I can always catch up on some short-from exposition and get my ‘memberberries on from when Bill Simmons used to dominate ESPN, way back from when people used to read. I realize the irony seeing as I write this column weekly but I’ve increasingly been feeling like a vestigial tail (his Book of Basketball is a must-read imo; I’m waiting for an update/sequel).

    Outside of that, I’m ready for sleep, the sun and la pachanga. It’s been cold as we roll into April (literally snowing outside now in Chicago) so it looks like we might blow right past spring love and get straight to summer love.

    We live in crazy times and I can just about guarantee a crazy summer no matter where you live. I’m too old to be tryin’ to get into $#*! so I’ll be extra chill except when I have to get some exercise.

    I didn’t mean to gloss over those of you still in it – it’s just that we’re in Silly Season and there’s no rhyme or reason as to what kind of foolishness might go down. I have a Warrior song but this one might be more appropriate. Embrace the randomness; play the game.

    THE SILLY SEASON (Weeks 25 & 26: 4/1 – 4/10)

    4 Games: LAC, NOR, WAS
    5 Games: ATL, BKN, BOS, CHI, CLE, HOU, IND, LAL, MEM, MIL, OKC, ORL, PHX, SAC, SAS, TOR
    6 Games: CHA, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, MIA, MIN, NYK, PHI, POR, UTA

    Monday has 9 games: Motors at Racers, Fire at Leprachans. Deer at Twine, Bovines at Manhattanites, Illusions at Dinosaurs, Hipsters at Canines, Bells at Horses, Insects at Quarter Notes and Royalists at Ra.
    Tuesday has 4: Bodies of Water at Sound of Lightning, Birds of Prey at Cowboys, Space Cruisers at Royalty and Miners at Pugilists.
    Wednesday has 12: Racers at Motors, Manhattanites at Illusions, Bovines at Sorcerers, Bells at Birds of Prey, Dinos at Twine, Leprechauns at Fire, Insects at Fish Hunters, Canines at Horses, Cowboys at Miners, Quarter Notes at Ra, Ursidae at Hipsters and Space Cruisers at Boats.
    Thursday has 3: Deer at Bells, Royalists at Royals and Pugilists at Bodies of Water.
    Friday has 13: Dinos at Insects, Birds of Prey at Illusions, Cowboys at Sorcerers, Leprechauns at Racers, Manhattanites at Space Cruisers, Fire at Canines, Motors at Sound of Lightning, Ursidea at Horses, Royals at Quarter Notes, Water Birds at Ra, Hipsters at Miners, Royalists and Pugilists and Bodies of Water at Boats.
    Saturday has 2: Twine at Deer and Bells at Bovines.
    Sunday has 14: Fire at Dinos, Cowboys at Royalists, Sound Clap at Canines, Insects at Motors, Twine at Racers, Horses at Ursidae, Birds at Deer, Illusions at Leprechauns, Sorcerers at Manhattanites, Ra at Space Cruisers, Boats at Pugilists, Miners at Hipsters, Water Birds at Royals and Quarter Notes at Bodies of Water.
    Monday has zero games.
    Tuesday has 11: Bugs at Royalists, Ursidae at Motors, Leprechauns at Sorcerers, Bells at Fire, Manhattanites at Bovines, Dinos at Canines, Pugilists at Water Birds, Ra at Horses, Miners at BeBoppers, Propulsion at Sound of Lightning and Hipsters at Water.

    Wednesday has 11: Racers at Birds, Fire at Twine, Slight of Hand at Bugs, Motors at Manhattan, Bovines at Bells, Pugilists at Ursidae, Sound at Cervidae, Equidae at Cowboys, Avant Garde at Sailors and Emperors at Rip City. 

    For my Streamers

    *all light schedule days in bold: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The lightly scheduled days are really light while except for Monday, the heavily scheduled days are really loaded with 11-plus games, which means you’re likely to have a bunch of full/overbooked days. Check your schedules and stream accordingly. Some days are so stacked it’s like tacit acknowledgement that a bunch of young guys, G-leaguers and 10-dayers will be playing a bunch.
    ATL: 5- Tu, W, F, Su…W
    BRK: 5- M, W, Sa, Su…W
    BOS: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
    CHA: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    CHI: 5- M, W, Sa…Tu, W
    CLE: 5- M, Th, F, Su…Tu
    DAL: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    DEN: 6- Tu, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    DET: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    GSW: 6- Tu, Th, F, Su…Tu, W
    HOU: 5- Tu, W, F, Su…Tu
    IND: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
    LAC: 4- W, F, Su…W
    LAL: 5- Tu, Th, F, Su…Tu
    MEM: 5- W, F, Su…Tu, W
    MIA: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    MIL: 5- M, Th, Sa, Su…W
    MIN: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    NOR: 4- W, F, Su…Tu
    NYK: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    OKC: 5- Tu, F, Su…Tu, W
    ORL: 5- M, W, F, Su…W
    PHI: 6- M, W, Th, Sa…Tu, W
    PHO: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
    POR: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    SAC: 5- Tu, Th, F, Su…W
    SAS: 5- Tu, W, F, Su…W
    TOR: 5- M, W, F, Su…Tu
    UTA: 6- M, W, F, Su…Tu, W
    WAS: 4- W, F, Su…Tu

    Back-To-Backs

    Sun of Week 24/Mon: CHA, DAL, MIL
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: ATL, DEN, HOU, SAS
    Weds/Thurs: PHI
    Thurs/Fri: CLE, GSW, LAL, SAC
    Fri/Sat: none
    Sat/Sun: BKN
    Sun/Mon: none
    Mon/Tues: none
    Tues/Weds: CHA, CHI, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHI, POR, UTA

    3 games in 4 nights

    Mon/Weds/Thurs: PHI
    Tues/Weds/Fri: ATL, DEN, HOU
    Tues/Thurs/Fri: LAL, SAC
    Weds/Thurs/Sat: PHI
    Thurs/Fri/Sun: CLE, GSW, LAL, SAC
    Thurs/Sat/Sun: MIL
    Sun/Tues/Weds: CHA, DAL, DEN, DET, GSW, MEM, MIA, MIN, NYK, OKC, PHI, POR, UTA

    Tu/Thurs+ GSW, LAL, SAC.

    Random Observations

    I though of a new fantasy setting/format- some H2H leagues give a bonus to the regular season winners in addition to the playoff winners. What if instead of (or in addition to) the regular season payout, there was an NBA playoffs payout. Basically, whatever players you have on your roster that make it to the NBA postseason record stats.

    At the end of the Finals, whoever has the most points wins. All playoff-eligible players would remain eligible for all teams on waivers.

    I wonder how this would affect the draft and streaming strategies late season – are you sever streaming your P.J. Tuckers or Fred VanVleets, knowing they’re likely to advance deep into the playoffs?

    Are you keeping your Kuzmas and Bogis knowing that they won’t?
    My sole roto team is looking like it’ll finish No. 10, my worst finish ever in rotisserie. With Kawhi and CP missing so many games in an unlimited games, weekly format, I had no chance. I’ll say it for the last time since I’ll never play in this format again -a weekly roto leeg with a no games-cap is garbation.

    H2H Team update:

    Team Splash Robinson – my assists and efficiency squad – is going agains John’s Algo Team and I knew going in that I needed to get steals and one of the %s to win. Kawhi and Pat-Bev missing games have not helped. Delon Wright is the only one keeping me at 4-4-1 rolling into Sunday we have an equal number of games. I could really use Jrue right about now. >>> Lost by 5 points, 1 steal and a few percentage points- basically a game of Kawhi. Damn that basketball robot and damn John and his algos. First time I lost a third-place matchup since 2009. FOURTH PLACE

    Team Floppy Divac is going into Sunday with both me and the No. 1 team having a full lineup. It’s a lot closer than my 6-3 advantage would suggest – one game of Kawhi (and no Jrue) will do that. >>> WON

    Team The Brothers Curry (formerly  ‘and then there was 1’) is down 4-5 going into Sunday with an even games count. Losing Zach, Lauri and having Love and Conley miss games could be the nail in the coffin despite my streaming. >>> WON

    In the Hoop-Ball league, Team Jake’s Affliction is up 7-2 and my opponent dipped after his Semifinals loss. There’s no thrill of the win since he wasn’t competitive but I guess this’ll help my Yahoo ranking stay diamond  and I’ll take the bronze trophy so I’ll stop complaining. >>> THIRD PLACE

    In the home league,Team Diva – is 4-4-1 and Kawhi and Love have killed me since I ran out of moves. Still, there’s not much of a difference between a fifth and sixth place finish and it’s not looking like the fifth with me at a games disadvantage and Luka sitting. >>> SIXTH PLACE

    I’ll drop a final update all of my H2H results after the remaining games but I’ll be too excited or depressed tonight, and either way I’ll probably have some beers and be so drunk either way, so very late Monday is what I’m thinking (and is it just me, or does Kyle Kuzma look like an early Simpsons character?)

    LeBron was on pace to move past Kobe for the No. 3 spot on the All-Time Scoring list – all he had to do was average a measly 22-23 points a game since his return from the groin injury. As the great random would have it, the Lakers were hit by other injuries and were eliminated from playoff contention fairly early so they went to late-season tank mode and started giving LBJ games off before declaring him out for the season. We’ll have to wait until next year to see it happen though the cynic in me notes that LeBron would presumably get booed by many Lakers fans if he passed the venerated Bean Bryant in a season he didn’t make the playoffs; he’ll now get a fresh season, one pregnant with hopes, before he takes down Mamba.

    May your spring and summer be ever wonderful,
    Chef

Fantasy News

  • 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

  • Nikola Vucevic - C - Orlando Magic

    Per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, the Mavs like how Nikola Vucevic fits alongside Kristaps Porzingis, but his expected salary would cost too much for the Mavs to sign.

    The Mavs will enter free agency with a ton of cap space, but after the expected max contract that they'll extend to Porzingis, they may be more inclined to spread the wealth around or target Kemba Walker than committing a max contract to Vucevic. Vucevic had a career year as an All-Star for the Magic this past season, but his next destination remains a crapshoot.

    Source: Dallas News

  • Jimmy Butler - SG - Philadelphia Sixers

    Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Rockets' ideal plan in free agency is to get Jimmy Butler by a sign-and-trade deal with the Sixers.

    Butler is going to be a sought after commodity once free agency opens as the Sixers, Lakers, and others are also going to be looking to ink him to a long-term deal. Butler regained his level back to max contract level after his play during the playoffs this season. The Rockets don't have any cap space to sign Butler outright, so they'll have to get a commitment from him to take a pay cut, while also getting the Sixers to agree to help facilitate a deal. This is going to be interesting.

    Source: ESPN

  • Khem Birch - C - Orlando Magic

    The Magic have extended qualifying offers to C Khem Birch and F Amile Jefferson, rendering both restricted free agents ahead of free agency which is set to begin on June 30th.

    Birch, who averaged 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 12.9 minutes per game this past season, is seemingly a priority for the Magic to bring back, and now they'll get the opportunity to match any contracts he may fetch from other teams. Jefferson was in the G-League for the majority of the season, where he was very productive. Both may take on larger roles, should they stay with the Magic, as star C Nikola Vucevic is an unrestricted free agent.

    Source: Magic PR on Twitter

  • JR Smith - SG - Cleveland Cavaliers

    According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers could eventually take a look at signing J.R. Smith should he be released by the Cavs, or traded and bought out by another team.

    Smith is likely to become a free agent one way or the other by the end of the month, and the Lakers will be looking at cheap floor-spacers to fill out their roster. Smith and LeBron James are familiar with one another after winning a championship together with the Cavs, and it looks like Smith to the Lakers is a real possibility.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Kristaps Porzingis - PF - Dallas Mavericks

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that the Mavs will meet with restricted free agent Kristaps Porzingis (torn ACL) once free agency opens on June 30th, and the team will offer him the full five-year, $158 million max contract.

    This was expected ever since the Mavs traded for Porzingis mid-season while he recovered from his knee injury. Porzingis is fully expected to sign with the Mavs and become reigning ROY Luka Doncic's running mate for the foreseeable future.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jordan Clarkson - PG - Cleveland Cavaliers

    Cavs combo guard Jordan Clarkson changed agents and signed with Klutch Sports and Rich Paul.

    Clarkson is likely to be a trade target for competitive teams ahead of next year's trade deadline, as a quality player on an expiring contract. Clarkson will enter free agency next offseason looking for the best deal possible.

    Source: Joe Vardon on Twitter

  • Julius Randle - PF - New Orleans Pelicans

    Per Marc Spears of The Undefeated, Pelicans forward Julius Randle and the Knicks have mutual interest as free agency approaches.

    The Pelicans drafted their PF of the future in Zion Williamson last week, and will seemingly let Randle walk in free agency as they are unlikely to pay him what he deserves. After a productive finish with the Lakers in 2017-18, Randle had to settle for a one-year deal from the Pelicans last summer. After another productive season on an expiring contract, it looks like at least one franchise is ready to invest in Randle as their PF of the future. Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 0.9 threes to boot this past season and makes for a good mid-round selection in drafts next season if he finds himself in a similar role.

    Source: The Undefeated

  • Andre Iguodala - SF - Golden State Warriors

    Speaking about Kevin Durant's injury situation during this year's playoffs, Andre Iguodala said that he fractured his left leg against the Rockets in the 2018-19 playoffs and the Warriors listed him out with a "left lateral leg contusion.”

    There has been a lot of smoke in regards to how the Warriors dealt with Durant's injury, as it did not appear to be as minor as the team led the public to believe when he injured himself backpedaling after a made basket. A non-contact injury is always a major red flag, but the Warriors called Durant's initial injury a "first-grade calf strain," which is the lowest graded injury designation. Weeks later, when Durant rushed back to help his team out of a 3-1 Finals deficit, he fully ruptured his Achilles in only 12 minutes of action. This is all just speculation, but this revelation from the 2015 NBA Finals MVP is an alarming development for a franchise who could seemingly do no wrong the past half-decade. The league may take a deep-dive into these claims soon enough.

    Source: NBC Sports