One of the ways to either stay ahead of the competition or to rebound from a slow start in season-long fantasy basketball leagues is to make trades. The ebbs and flows of the NBA season make trading even more crucial than in other sports.
This column, which will be a feature for the next several weeks, will specifically be looking at ESPN’s Points League scoring. If you haven’t tried the format since its inception in 2020, I would highly recommend it, as it incorporates efficiency into an aggregate score that makes it easy to digest for both basketball die-hards and casual fantasy players.
Let’s take a look at nine players to buy low on, sell high on, or hold onto right now in season-long H2H Points Leagues:
Candidates To Trade For
Murray missed the past week though he’s approaching his return from the COVID health and safety protocols. The combo guard is having an exceptional season. I have him as a top-12 asset and it’s unlikely that anyone other than the person who has him in your league values him close to that. This could create an opportunity to “buy low” on a guy who’s playing like a superstar. Players I’d give up for Murray: Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Jayson Tatum, LeBron James, Damian Lillard.
If you can afford it, try and pry PG from an owner who may be struggling to keep the fantasy lights on with the Clippers star on the sidelines. Los Angeles is expected to make some moves ahead of the trade deadline and given their place in the standings, PG doesn’t seem at risk to be shut down, so he should have an opportunity to thrive with a slightly different supporting cast post-February 10. Players I’d consider surrendering for PG: Nikola Vucevic, Damian Lillard, Clint Capela, DeMar DeRozan, Miles Bridges
I traded away Giddey in one of my leagues in a mega-deal for LaMelo Ball and while I’m happy with the return, I was really apprehensive about giving away the OKC rookie. Giddey has thrived over the past few weeks and even better days are ahead. Expect Giddey to be a top contender for the Rookie of the Year award through the end of the season and be a difference-maker for fantasy owners through the springtime. Players I’d try to steal Giddey for: Al Horford, Montrezl Harrell, Gordon Hayward, RJ Barrett
Players to Hold
It’s possible that Kuzma’s role diminishes a bit with Rui Hachimura‘s debut around the corner and the team slowly getting many parts back from the health and safety protocols. However, if I had Kuzma, I would hold onto him and continue to enjoy the production he’s providing and be very comfortable with the chances of Washington making a consolidating trade that exhausts some of its depth, something that could mean Kuzma producing in a new uniform yet again.
The point guard is No. 20 on the ESPN player rater over the past 15 days and with Luka Doncic back, it may be tempting to trade him away. Resist that urge, as Brunson holds standalone value with or without Doncic in the lineup. For those fantasy football players, think Kareem Hunt (someone who has nice value with Nick Chubb around and catapults to a must-start option when Chubb is out).
Over the last seven days, Love has snuck into the top-10 of ESPN’s player rater and whether you believe the Cavs are going to trade him or not, there’s no denying that the big man is playing much better. Am I worried about the Ricky Rubio injury? Of course, though I trust the Cavaliers to do what they can do to make Love shine over the next month.
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Sell High Candidates
I always look at big names who may not be as valuable as their reputation may indicate. Butler fits the mold and while it may be hard to get top value for the All-Star with him missing so many games, that trend isn’t likely to go away. Miami continues to be cautious with Butler each time he gets dinged up and it’s fair to wonder whether the ability to do so was part of the calculus behind the Kyle Lowry signing. Players I’d trade Jimmy for straight-up: Dejounte Murray, Domantas Sabonis, Donovan Mitchell, Pascal Siakam
LBJ just had a fantastic month, as ESPN’s Eric Karabell notes in his trade index column. Though, I can’t help to wonder if we saw the perfect storm with LBJ surging with Anthony Davis on the sidelines and like Karaball, I’m worried about the risk of having LBJ as one of my top players given his age and continued millage. Potential trades: LeBron plus an additional asset (such as Montrezl Harrell) for Luka Doncic, Giannis, or Karl-Anthony Towns or an LBJ for Dejounte Murray clean swap.
Unlike Paul George, I believe there’s a real chance that Lillard gets shut down at some point this season. Whether or not that means he gets traded for Ben Simmons in the offseason is another whole issue but for season-long fantasy purposes, I’d want to get ahead of the potential shutdown situation. Players to target: Jrue Holiday, Bradley Beal, Rudy Gobert, Pascal Siakam, Nikola Vucevic.