NBA News

  • Kevin Love
    PF, Cleveland Cavaliers

    The Heat-Cavs game in Cleveland on Thursday will start at 6pm EST, an hour earlier than usual.

    The Browns are playing the Steelers in the neighboring stadium, so it appears that the Cavs are just taking careful measures so that each Cleveland franchise loses in an orderly fashion. Start your Heat and Cavs players as you normally would, but just remember the unusually early tipoff tonight, particularly for DFS.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Frank Ntilikina
    PG, New York Knicks

    Frank Ntilikina will join the Knicks' starting lineup for Friday's game vs. the Celtics.

    Fizdale woke up on the right side of the bed today. The Knicks will turn to the only PG left on their roster after losing Elfrid Payton to a hamstring injury and with Dennis Smith Jr. on bereavement leave. Ntilikina won't be worth adding and this Knicks team is best avoided in fantasy, save for Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett. Still, it's good to see Fizdale commit to developing another one of the team's former lottery picks, if only for one game.

    Source: Marc Berman on Twitter.

  • TJ Leaf
    PF, Indiana Pacers

    TJ Leaf will start at PF in place of Myles Turner (ankle) on Friday.

    Leaf will be in there to help box out the Cavs' rebounders and is likely to be on limited minutes, as he's never been a full-time rotational player. His game doesn't really translate to fantasy and the jury is still out on whether he belongs in the NBA, for that matter. Domantas Sabonis will slide down to his natural center position and will likely go off while Turner is out. Keep an eye on the Pacers' third-best TJ in case he can put up some low-end value while Turner recovers from his ankle injury. We may also see Goga Bitadze crack the rotation and the rookie will be worth following if given enough minutes.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Deandre Ayton has filed an an appeal and will meet with NBA officials this week to discuss reducing or reversing his 25-game suspension for using a banned substance.

    There's a glimmer of hope for Ayton and those who roster him on fantasy squads and we should have a resolution on the matter before the end of the week. In Ayton's stead, Aron Baynes has become a fantasy force, averaging 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 blocks, and 1.8 threes on sterling percentages across the board as starter. Any news of Ayton missing fewer games than anticipated would decimate Baynes' emergent value, but right now the Australian big man is worth rostering despite the uncertainty. Ayton himself, of course, is a hold.

    Source: Sean Deveney on Twitter

  • Ben Simmons
    PG, Philadelphia Sixers

    Following Wednesday's fight between Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid, the Minnesota Timberwolves staff have rejected Ben Simmons' role as "peacemaker" and he may be subject to suspension.

    Ben Simmons placed Towns in a chokehold toward the end of the scuffle, but the referees determined he was just trying to separate the two and did not assess a technical foul. The Wolves' front office is rejecting that assertion and, as Twitter has speculated, Simmons may be subject to league discipline for his role in the skirmish. We have to wait until the league weighs in later today, but Philadelphia stands to be extremely shorthanded against the Blazers on Saturday.

    Source: ESPN

  • Dion Waiters
    SG, Miami Heat

    Dion Waiters is not with the team and will be inactive (coach's decision) for the team's upcoming road trip.

    Waiters suspension is over, but the Heat have moved on without him. Waiters was seemingly in the best position to produce since the years he spent chucking it for the Cavs. However, Waiters quickly squandered that opportunity and has let undrafted free agent Kendrick Nunn and first-round pick Tyler Herro leapfrog him in the rotation. He may not be long for the NBA.

    Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel

  • James Johnson
    PF, Miami Heat

    James Johnson has passed his conditioning test and will rejoin the team.

    Johnson had infamously reported to camp out of shape, but he finally made weight and ready to contribute. Despite this effectively ending what has been a bizarre saga surrounding Johnson's weight, he likely won't be part of the rotation immediately even in the absence of Derrick Jones. He's off the fantasy radar.

    Source: South Florida Sun Sentinel

  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Bogdan Bogdanovic is reportedly dissatisfied with his long-term backup role in Sacramento.

    This explains why Bogdanovic rejected the Kings' offer to extend him at the maximum $51.4 million over four years. Bogdanovic is destined for restricted free agency next offseason, where he'll find no shortage of suitors in a weak free agent class. The Kings have stubbornly refused to start Bogdanovic next to their young core of De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marving Bagley, opting to play Harrison Barnes out of position as the starting small forward. Maybe Bogdanovic gets his wish in the short-term given that Bagley will mist 4-6 weeks with a broken thumb, but there's some acrimony brewing in Sacramento yet again.

    Source: NBC Sports

  • Lonzo Ball
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans

    Alvin Gentry said that Lonzo Ball's reduced minutes in the season opener were the result of the coach using a hot-hand approach.

    In other words, the coach was winging it in the season opener. Gentry chose to close the game with some of his reserves on Tuesday and employed a 12-deep rotation throughout the game, much to the chagrin of fantasy managers. His lineup decisions meant big lines for deep reserves such as Nicolo Melli and Josh Hart, but Gentry cautions against reading too much into the first game. This is a welcome vote of confidence for Ball, and we'll likely see the minutes for guys like Derrick Favors and JJ Redick begin to creep up as Gentry tightens his rotation.

    Source: Andrew Lopez on Twitter

  • Timofey Mozgov
    C, Orlando Magic

    The Magic have been granted permission to remove the remaining salary on Timofey Mozgov's contract from the books.

    Believe it or not, Orlando would've been on the hook for another $16.7 million over three years if this request hadn't been granted. Mozgov's contract. With this news, one of the worst contracts in NBA history is officially voided. The Magic had already waived Mozgov, who has since returned to Russia to play ball in his home country. This move serves as a reminder of the Lakers' dreadful history of front office maneuvers in recent years and gives the Magic some welcome cap flexibility heading into the season.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Aron Baynes has been named the starter at center following the news of Deandre Ayton's 25-game suspension.

    This was the expectation all along. Baynes has never averaged more that 18 minutes per game in his career, so his fantasy value is difficult to project. He can provide excellent rebounds and some out-of-position threes, but there's a high probability that he doesn't inherit all of Ayton's vacated minutes. The Suns will likely employ a platoon featuring Baynes, Frank Kamisnky, and Dario Saric. An appeal is still pending regarding Ayton's supension, so if you picked up Baynes, treat him as a streamer for the time being until we are provided more clarity.

    Source: Kellan Olson on Twitter

  • Cody Zeller
    C, Charlotte Hornets

    The Hornets have announced that Cody Zeller (personal) is out for Friday's game against the Timberwolves.

    We didn't have to wait long for the first of many Zeller DNPs this season, but at least he's not injured. If you picked him up after his double-double on Wednesday, feel free to hold him until he returns, presumably for Sunday's game against the Lakers. He was the recipient of a surprising allotment of minutes in the season opener and he figures to be the lone traditional center in the Hornets' rotation early on. The team figures to split center minutes between PJ Washington and Marvin Williams, but maybe this opens the door for either Bismack Biyombo or Willy Hernangomez to crack the rotation.

    Source: Rick Bonnell on Twitter

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Kelly Oubre may come off the bench behind Mikal Bridges this season.

    Between January and March of last season, Kelly Oubre ranked in the top 40 by averaging 19 points, 1.8 threes, 5.6 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1 block on 46% shooting from the field, encouragingly sporting a mid-20s usage rate in 31 minutes per game. However, as good as Oubre has been, Mikal Bridges is a better defensive specialist both in reality and in fantasy, so it makes sense to pair him next to Booker and Ayton. This news is far from a death knell on Oubre's fantasy value, as the expectation had been that he'd serve as the team's best player off the bench. The bump in usage may offset lower minutes, so target him confidently in the middle rounds and keep Bridges on your radar a few rounds after Oubre comes off the board.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Matisse Thybulle
    SG-SF, Philadelphia Sixers

    Brett Brown suggested rookie Matisse Thybulle could be the first player off the bench for the Sixers this season.

    When asked whether he'd be comfortable having the rookie in the opening night rotation, Brown said that that's the direction he's leaning in. Given Philadelphia's lack of depth, having a versatile player like Thybulle on the wings makes sense in Brown's second unit. Thybulle would only need minutes in the mid-20s to hit value for fantasy managers, so he's quickly become a name to target in the back end fantasy drafts with this news for his upside in the defensive categories alone.

    Source: Bucks County Courier Times

  • Duncan Robinson
    F, Miami Heat

    Duncan Robinson has played himself into the Miami Heat's regular rotation, and may be a candidate to start at small forward.

    Robinson has started three of the last four preseason games at SF for the Heat, putting up a line of 17 points (5-of-10 shooting), four threes, and a block while remaining perfect from the line in the preseason finale. Erik Spoelstra typically runs a deep rotation and he said that he wanted to play his best ten guys on Thursday. Robinson will need to remain efficient to be worth monitoring, but his insertion into Spoelstra's rotation likely means that the Heat will employ a committee at the three, complicating the minutes situation for late-round flier Derrick Jones, Jr. Robinson is more of a 3-point stream option to put on watch lists in deeper leagues while Jones remains a worthy late-round dart throw.

    Source: Sun-Sentinel