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Fantasy Basketball Trade Analyzer: Make a deal for Jonas Valanciunas

·6 min read
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By Mike Barner, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

The NBA trade deadline will be here next week, so we could start to see moves trickle in as Mar. 25 approaches. In terms of fantasy basketball trades, time is dwindling for managers to make moves, so if you’ve been considering floating an offer or two, the time is now.

Amidst a busy Week 13 in the NBA, let’s discuss some players to consider dealing for, as well as a couple to potentially trade away.

Trade for: Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs

After missing the entire 2018-19 season with an injury, Murray only averaged 26 minutes per game last season. Still, he showed an ability to contribute in multiple areas, which left him with loads of fantasy potential if he could get more playing time. The Spurs have given him that expanded role this season, which has enabled him to average 15.7 points, 7.0 rebounds. 5.3 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.0 three-pointers across 31 minutes per game. He’s clearly one of the centerpieces of the team moving forward, so he should continue to play plenty of minutes down the stretch, even if the Spurs were to fall back in the Western Conference.

If you’re looking to trade for Murray, it’s unrealistic to expect to snag him at a discount. However, he’s still someone to pursue given the Spurs’ busy schedule over the second half of the season. They are one of only two teams that will play at least four games each week from Week 14 through the final week of the season. It doesn’t get much more appealing than that.

The market: One manager traded Andrew Wiggins straight up for Murray. In another one-for-one swap, Murray was traded for Deandre Ayton.

Trade for: Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies

Valanciunas might not grab a lot of headlines, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been an extremely reliable fantasy option. He’s on pace to have one of the best seasons of his career, with averages of 16.2 points and 11.9 rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent from the field. He’s also shooting 73.8 percent from the charity stripe, which is a nice boost out of the center position. The downside to his game is that he hasn’t contributed much in the way of defensive stats and he’s barely a threat from behind the arc.

If you are hunting for blocks, Valanciunas probably isn’t the best center for you to pursue. However, if you need rebounds, he should be one of your top targets. Not only is he on pace to average at least 11 boards per game for the second straight season, but he will have plenty of opportunities to haul in rebounds with the Grizzlies being the only other team outside of the Spurs who are scheduled to play at least four games in each week the rest of the way.

The market: An interesting trade involving Valanciunas saw he and Kyle Kuzma acquired for John Wall. In another multi-player deal, Valanciunas, Christian Wood, and Tyrese Haliburton were traded for Paul George, Trae Young, and Mason Plumlee.

Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17)
If you're hurting for rebounds, trade for Jonas Valanciunas. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Trade for: Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks

We haven’t seen much of Holiday lately. A bout with COVID-19 forced him to miss 10 straight games, which resulted in the Bucks posting a 5-5 record during that stretch. He made his return before the break and has appeared in each of the last six games, but he’s logged 25 minutes or fewer in four of those contests.

The Bucks were understandably being cautious with Holiday as he works his way back, but he’s now played at least 32 minutes in back-to-back games, so he should be safe to deploy as usual moving forward. If his current fantasy manager is frustrated with his decline in the scoring department this season, now might be the time to strike a deal. He’s still helped out plenty in other categories, averaging 4.9 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.7 three-pointers while shooting 48.2 percent from the field.

The market: One fantasy league saw Buddy Hield traded straight up for Holiday. In another, Holiday was traded for Dennis Schroder.

Trade away: Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards

Believe it or not, the Wizards still have a shot at making the playoffs, despite their 14-24 record. Westbrook is trying his best to get them there, averaging 24.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 10.9 assists across their last 12 games. He’s nearly averaging a triple-double for the season, returning to his productive ways from his tenure with the Thunder. For those who play in points leagues, Westbrook has provided tremendous value.

But if you don’t play in a points league, now might be the time to cash in on Westbrook’s recent gaudy numbers. While those counting stats were great, he shot an ugly 52.8 percent from the free-throw line during that 12-game stretch. He’s only shooting 57.5 percent from the charity stripe for the season, which is especially rough when you factor in that he’s averaging 6.0 attempts per game. On top of that, he’s shooting just 43.8 percent from the field. Add in his general lack of blocks, limited three-point shooting, and high turnover rate and Westbrook has some glaring holes in roto formats.

The market: Westbrook has been involved in several multiplayer deals recently. In one, Westbrook, Clint Capela and Thaddeus Young were traded for Jaylen Brown, Fred VanVleet and Jayson Tatum. Another deal involved Westbrook, Karl-Anthony Towns, and VanVleet being traded for Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, and Kevin Durant.

Trade away: Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers

Where would the Blazers be without Kanter? After playing limited minutes for the Celtics last season, Kanter has been thrust into a starting role for the Blazers after Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) went down early in the season. Kanter has thrived as a starter, averaging 12.9 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks across 27 games. Kanter has always been a productive points/rebounds player, but he’s typically needed an injury like Nurkic’s to unlock his fantasy potential.

For as good as Kanter has been, the time is now to try to deal him. Nurkic is nearing his return and could be back before the end of March. While he will likely play limited minutes his first few games back, he should eventually reclaim his starting job from Kanter, which would send Kanter back to a limited role off the bench.

The market: One fantasy manager recently traded Kanter for Draymond Green. An intriguing multi-player deal saw Kanter and Jerami Grant dealt for Bam Adebayo and Jordan Clarkson.