<
>

Fantasy 30: Kevin Love, Klay Thompson, Ryan Anderson injury updates

Kevin Love's knee injury is worth keeping an eye on this week. AP Photo/Nick Wass

Injuries are the main topic this week, as a number of high-profile players are hobbled, forcing teams to adjust their rotations. With the NBA trade deadline Feb. 23, we also have updates on the latest trade buzz.

Here are the relevant news and notes for all 30 teams heading into this week:

Atlanta Hawks: ESPN's Marc Stein reports that even while many around the league are skeptical of Atlanta's claim that Paul Millsap is off the trade market, the Hawks remain adamant that their star power forward is staying put. According to Stein, Atlanta initially put out feelers for Millsap around the same time it dealt Kyle Korver to Cleveland, but the team has since reversed course.

Boston Celtics: Avery Bradley (Achilles) remains without a timetable for a return, and at this point it looks likely that the Celtics will keep him out until after the All-Star break, but Brad Stevens said on Monday that Bradley is feeling as good as he's felt. Read into that what you want, but it sounds at least somewhat encouraging. Bradley is averaging a career-high 17.7 PPG and 6.9 RPG this season, his seventh in the NBA.

Brooklyn Nets: According to Michael Scott of BasketballInsider.com, the Pelicans and Nets have discussed a trade involving Brook Lopez that would send Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Tim Frazier and a 2018 protected first-round pick to the Nets. Lopez is set to earn $22.6 million next season, while Frazier is the only player in that package from the Pelicans who is sure to be on the books for next season ($2 million). Evans is set to become an unrestricted free agent and Galloway has a $5.4 million player option.

Charlotte Hornets: The Hornets have lost nine of 10 games and 14 of their past 18, dropping them to 24-30. One big reason for their recent struggles is the poor shooting from Kemba Walker, who has made just 28.4 percent of his shots in five games this month and averaged a mere 13.2 PPG along the way. With Walker being the primary source of offense on this team, the Hornets don't have enough talent to overcome a slump like this.

Chicago Bulls: Dwyane Wade is listed as doubtful for Tuesday's game against Toronto due to a wrist injury, and we are still waiting for the MRI results. If Wade doesn't play against the Raptors, rookie Denzel Valentine could see a longer look. You know what Tuesday is, right? It's Valentine's Day.

Cleveland Cavaliers: [Editor's note: Kevin Love is expected to miss six weeks following knee surgery, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. Here is Joe Kaiser's take on whether fantasy owners should hold on to Love.]

Dallas Mavericks: Deron Williams returned to the court on Saturday after missing eight games with a toe injury, but an illness could keep him out of Monday against Boston. He missed shootaround and is considered questionable. If Williams doesn't go, Yogi Ferrell -- who played 32 minutes off the bench with Williams in the lineup on Saturday -- will have to handle the majority of the point guard duties.

Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets may have a new member in the frontcourt in newly acquired big man Mason Plumlee, but he isn't expected to play on Monday against Golden State, and injuries continue to hamper the rotation. Emmanuel Mudiay (back) is expected to miss the game against the Warriors, and Darrell Arthur (knee), Kenneth Faried (ankle) and Danilo Gallinari (groin) have already been ruled out. Rookie Juancho Hernangomez will likely have to play around 20 minutes in this one, and he played well earlier in the season against Golden State with 11 points and 9 rebounds while matched up against Kevin Durant much of the time.

Detroit Pistons: Somewhat overlooked in Reggie Jackson's recent shooting struggles is the hot play of backup point guard, Ish Smith. The well-traveled veteran is shooting a whopping 63 percent in his past 10 games, averaging 10.2 points and 4.5 assists in that span while also adding 2.8 rebounds per game. Smith is a top-150 player at this point, available in most fantasy leagues and would rise considerably if Jackson is traded.

Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson (heel) and Shaun Livingston (baby arriving soon) are both out for the Warriors on Monday against Denver. Andre Iguodala may move into the starting lineup for this one, and Ian Clark could also see extended minutes in the short-handed Warriors backcourt.

Houston Rockets: Ryan Anderson cut his thumb while pushing down the garbage at his home on Sunday and is questionable Wednesday at home against Miami. After struggling in back-to-back games last week and scoring a total of six points, he bounced back with 14 points against Charlotte and 16 against Phoenix. If he cannot play against the Heat, energetic second-year forward Sam Dekker will likely see a bump in playing time.

Indiana Pacers: Paul George averaged a career-high 2.6 3-point shots per game last season and is approaching that against this season with 2.3 per game. After making two of three attempts from long range on Saturday, George has now gone 23 consecutive games with at least one made 3.

LA Clippers: Stein reports that the Clippers are one of the potential suitors for Gallinari now that the Nuggets have been able to complete the Jusuf Nurkic deal with Portland. According to 82games.com, the Clippers have a -4.0 PER at small forward, which is where they'd be looking to upgrade if they acquired the veteran scorer. The Clippers have a positive PER at each of the other four positions.

Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle is one of only seven players in the league this season to have multiple triple-doubles, but lately his assists are way down. A capable passer, as the triple-doubles would indicate, Randle has averaged only 2.0 assists in his past seven games. This guy is difficult to figure out, and when it comes to fantasy you need those assists to make up for his lack of steals and blocks on defense.

Memphis Grizzlies: Veteran power forward Brandan Wright has been a welcome addition to the Grizzlies' rotation, providing scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking off the bench since returning from an ankle injury. Now 29, Wright never turned into the player that some hoped he'd be when the Warriors traded fan favorite Jason Richardson to acquire him on draft day in 2007, but if he gets close to 20 minutes a night he's someone to consider streaming into your lineup if/when you're looking for blocks.

Miami Heat: According to Stein, the Heat are one of a handful of teams to have shown interest in acquiring Serge Ibaka from Orlando. Miami has a -2.2 PER at power forward this season, per 82games.com, and Ibaka would provide a second frontcourt shot-blocker alongside Hassan Whiteside, which would certainly make for entertaining defense.

Milwaukee Bucks: With Jabari Parker (knee) out for the season and Khris Middleton out of the lineup Saturday against Indiana, the Bucks turned to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Beasley and Thon Maker as their starting frontcourt, with Matthew Dellavedova starting at point guard and Tony Snell manning the 2-guard. This is a rotation to keep a close eye on, as it will evolve on a game-to-game basis, with Greg Monroe and Mirza Teletovic being two other options who could start in the future.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points against Chicago on Sunday, giving him 20 or more points in each of the past 13 games. How has he done it? For one, he's taking a lot of shots with Zach LaVine out for the season and no longer in the lineup (20 FGA in the past five games), but he's also been very efficient. The third-year swingman is shooting 52 percent in his past five games and 49.5 percent in the past 10.

New Orleans Pelicans: As mentioned above, the Pelicans have reportedly discussed swapping three players and a protected 2018 first-round pick for Brooklyn's Lopez, but that's not the only center on their wish list. The Pels are also one of the teams reported to show interest in Philadelphia's Jahlil Okafor, who is also reportedly being pursued by Chicago.

New York Knicks: One of the bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season for the Knicks is the continually impressive play of rookie Willy Hernangomez, who has averaged 11.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.2 steals in six games this month. More impressive is the fact that he's played only 23.8 MPG in that span.

Oklahoma City Thunder: The Thunder have lost five of their past eight games and one of the reasons why is the lack of support for Russell Westbrook. Victor Oladipo, widely considered the team's second-best scoring option, is shooting just 40.9 percent in his past 10 games and his distributing has been just as poor (2.5 APG). OKC is going to need much more from Oladipo and the rest of the supporting cast to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Orlando Magic: Serge Ibaka will be a free agent this summer and he's one of the most prominent names being mentioned leading up to the trade deadline. Ibaka's numbers have been solid in his first season in Orlando (15.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.6 BPG, 1.5 3PG) but any team that trades for him may be getting him only as a short-term rental, which may limit his suitors. Stein gets to the heart of it, writing, "Can the Magic get a first-round pick for Ibaka from a team seeking a playoff-tested vet to add to its frontcourt rotation?" That's something to watch closely during the next week-and-a-half.

Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid suffered a small tear in his meniscus on Jan. 20 and is dealing with a bone bruise in his knee that will likely keep him out until after the All-Star break. Also, Jahlil Okafor's days in Philly are numbered, with the Bulls being rumored to be the hottest team in pursuit. But one of the bigger stories from the past week is the play of rookie Dario Saric, who averaged 19.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 2.3 3-pointers in his past four games.

Phoenix Suns: Alex Len probably will need a new start on another team if he is ever to blossom into the player many projected when he left Maryland for the NBA. Len's 15 MPG this month ranks 10th on the Suns, a team that, at 17-38, is in full rebuild mode. If Len isn't getting minutes on a young team that's out of playoff contention and looking toward the future, that tells you all you need to know about his future in the Valley of the Sun. Of course, a trade of coveted rebound specialist Tyson Chandler could change all this.

Portland Trail Blazers: Nurkic provides the Blazers with more size down low than Plumlee provided -- as well as he had played this season on offense -- and Stein reports that the team remains determined to deal injured center Festus Ezeli before the trade deadline. The big question is whether they'll be able to find a taker. According to Stein, Portland would be willing to provide some sort of draft-pick compensation for any team willing to take on the rest of Ezeli's two-year contract, which is worth $7.4 million this season but only guaranteed for $1 million next season.

Sacramento Kings: Veteran 2-guard Arron Afflalo played some minutes at point guard due to injuries to Ty Lawson (hamstring) and Garrett Temple (hamstring) last week. Afflalo tells the Sacramento Bee that he hadn't manned the point since his junior year of high school, but Kings coach Dave Joerger asked Afflalo to initiate the offense to get Darren Collison some rest. Regardless of where Afflalo plays at this point in his career, he's off the fantasy radar.

San Antonio Spurs: In six games this month, Dewayne Dedmon is averaging 8.7 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. Enjoy it while it lasts, though, because Pau Gasol is recovering from a broken finger and is expected to return shortly after the All-Star break. Gasol averaged 26.4 MPG in 30 games before the injury.

Toronto Raptors: The Raptors reportedly are looking to improve at power forward. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News identified Serge Ibaka, Danilo Gallinari and Taj Gibson as three potential targets, but Deveney also indicated that the team is reluctant to give up Terrence Ross or Bruno Caboclo in a deal, which could make it difficult to swing a trade. If Toronto is able to land another power forward, Jared Sullinger and Patrick Patterson would be the two players most impacted, with both likely to see less time on the court.

Utah Jazz: The Jazz reported that Rodney Hood, out since Feb. 1 due to a right knee bone contusion and Grade 1 lateral collateral ligament sprain, is expected to return following the All-Star break. Hood's game hasn't progressed much since he joined the league in 2014-15, and his 28.6 MPG and 13.7 PPG are both down from last season. Ultimately, his best role in the NBA could be as instant offense off the bench.

Washington Wizards: John Wall isn't expected to miss any time after suffering a sprained ankle in Friday's win over Atlanta. J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic reported on Sunday that that the injury "shouldn't prevent him from playing Monday" against Oklahoma City. Wall put up 15 points and 15 assists in the first meeting against the Thunder and added six rebounds, a steal and a block.