Kirk Hinrich a must-own with Atlanta Hawks
The trade of Deron Williams to the Nets has been analyzed in great detail, so I'll spare you more discussion of that. However, two other pretty significant trades went down around the league on Wednesday, and they certainly warrant our attention.
For the Hornets, this trade fills a major need, providing a more-than-serviceable backup to David West. Landry still probably won't play huge minutes, though, and it's probably a mistake to imagine his numbers will be better than they were in Sacramento.
As for the Kings, Thornton certainly fills a need in the short term, and I'd be pretty surprised if he doesn't get some of the minutes currently being divvied up by Jermaine Taylor and Luther Head in the wake of the injury to Tyreke Evans. Remember, Thornton averaged right around 20 points per game in the second half last season while his minutes hovered in the low 30s, and he's a good 3-point shooter, so he can certainly score enough to be viable in the fantasy game. Another important implication for the Kings is that the big-man rotation has been narrowed down, essentially, to DeMarcus Cousins, Samuel Dalembert and Jason Thompson. All three of those players should see a boost in their minutes; Dalembert and Thompson, in particular, both had really nice lines in the Kings' win against the Magic in Orlando on Wednesday night.
This is a need-based trade for the Hawks, as Hinrich is a monster upgrade over Bibby at point guard on both ends of the floor. As such, Hinrich becomes a must-own in all leagues, and could recapture some of the statistical goodness he was known for during his first few seasons with the Bulls. He'll be a great source of 3-pointers, assists, steals and free throw percentage, and if you've been holding onto him all season, then congratulations are in order.
For the Wizards, this was mainly about shedding salary. Playing behind John Wall, it's hard to imagine that Bibby will retain much value (if he's not bought out), and I don't think he'll be much worth owning in fantasy leagues for the remainder of the season. The other guys are nice pieces (Crawford, in particular, could be promising), but are not fantasy threats this season.
Carmelo Anthony had a nice night in his Knicks debut, as did Chauncey Billups, but it's a little concerning that Melo took 25 shots to Amare Stoudemire's 13. It's worth watching this in the coming weeks (which we all will do, no doubt), but I'm going to chalk this up to opening night excitement for now. In the absence of Mo Williams (who was later traded to the Clippers), Ramon Sessions continued his hot streak, finishing with 21 points and 12 assists for the Cavs against the Rockets; the Cavaliers received Baron Davis in the deal, but Sessions should stay in your lineup until it's clear Davis will actually suit up and get the majority of minutes in Cleveland. After three straight lackluster rebounding performances prior to the All-Star Game, Pistons big man Greg Monroe now has grabbed 12 boards in two straight games, and added 27 points on Wednesday night against the Pacers for good measure. In a weak rookie class, he's certainly looking like one of the bright spots as we head down the stretch. Joakim Noah returned for the Bulls and had 16 rebounds in 25 minutes, which would seem to mean that he's OK to go moving forward. Brandon Roy returned for the Blazers against the Lakers, and though he didn't see a lot of action off the bench, it's encouraging just to see him on the floor. There may be some value to be had out of him before the season's out.
The Bulls should feel lucky to have Noah back in time for their big home game against the Heat on Thursday night. Last time the two teams faced off, the Bulls were without Noah and the Heat were without LeBron James. Both of those guys should put an ample stamp on this matchup, but I wouldn't expect many of the secondary characters to do much; you might want to leave the non-superstars of the world on the bench for this one. Obviously, this is a new Nuggets team we'll be seeing on Thursday night when they host the Celtics in Denver, but it's worth noting that Raymond Felton has put up huge numbers against the Celtics this season, averaging 21.5 points and 10.0 assists. Even if he comes off the bench, he should be able to put up some stats.
Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.