ESPN Fantasy's André Snellings breaks down the fantasy impact of every notable NBA trade that happened prior to the deadline.
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the biggest story, reworking their roster with a series of deals. Below, you'll find Andre's takes on each notable NBA trade, followed by a roundup of how the new-look Cavs roster works for fantasy.
Isaiah Thomas: Thomas has been trying to play himself into shape after his long injury. And he's been in a pressure cooker, with all eyes on every missed shot and missed defensive assignment. Plus, at his best, Thomas was a ball-dominant player, and he seemed to struggle with letting LeBron James create his shots for him.
With the Lakers firmly in a rebuild season and lacking another ball-dominant perimeter scorer, Thomas should be able to shoot himself into rhythm as he auditions for a bigger contract this summer. The only question/caveat is that the Lakers have no need to showcase him if he's going to leave anyway, so those politics could eat into his minutes. But if he plays, this move is good for him.
Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle: Nance was taking up 22 big-forward minutes and had a definite role on the team. With Nance gone, Randle's recently expanded role is safer -- and Kuzma has the space to reclaim the larger role he had in December and early January:
Dec. 9-Jan. 15 (19 games): 32.7 MPG, 17.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 2.4 SPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 1.9 TO, 43.0 FG%, 71.2 FT%, 2.4 3PG
Jan. 17-Feb. 6 (10 games): 23.3 MPG, 11.4 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.0 TO, 41.8 FG%, 47.1 FT%, 1.4 3PG
Channing Frye: Frye is a super veteran role player who fit a specific need for the Cavs, especially after Kevin Love got hurt. The Lakers have no need to even play Frye, but if they do, it will likely be in a much smaller role.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: KCP was designated to be the scoring guard opposite Lonzo Ball, with Clarkson as the instant offense off the bench. But Ball is big enough to play with Thomas and cover opposing shooting guards, which means that if Thomas does get his legs under him and find his shot, Thomas could eat into Pope's minutes and role.
De'Aaron Fox: Fox has been jostling for minutes with Hill all season. Recently, the Kings had gone to more of a youth movement, sitting veterans such as Hill and Zach Randolph more often in favor of younger players, but Hill was still around and playing 23.4 minutes per game during his past five games with the Kings. With Hill gone, Fox should get every minute that he can handle for the rest of the season.
Jae Crowder: Even if he comes off the bench in Utah behind Joe Ingles and Derrick Favors, he still has a clearer fit and role there than he had in Cleveland, where he played the exact same position as James. Crowder's role in Utah seems more similar to what he did for the Boston Celtics the past couple seasons, when he was a defensive forward role player who was still a solid double-digit scorer with a consistent 3-point shot.
Alec Burks: Hood was the instant-offense wing for the Jazz, a role that Burks used to fill. With Hood and Johnson gone, Burks has a clearer path to playing time and has a chance to again fill that sixth-man scoring role for the team.
None, really. Rose, Johnson and Shumpert were not really fantasy options in their old roles, and they project to either be bought out or remain non-fantasy-factors in their new roles.
Emmanuel Mudiay: Mudiay is the only player with potential fantasy implications in this deal. He averaged 12.8 PPG, 5.5 SPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.1 3PG and 1.0 SPG in 30.4 MPG as a rookie. His problem was a lack of shooting ability, plus the Nuggets bringing in Jamal Murray, who knocked him from the rotation. In New York, Mudiay will battle with and could supplant Jarrett Jack as the starting point guard down the stretch for a lottery-bound team that should want to see what their young players have to offer. His per-36-minute numbers this season are fairly impressive: 17.2 PPG (40.1 FG percentage, 37.3 3PT percentage, 80.8 FT percentage), 5.8 APG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.8 3PG. So he could be intriguing in fantasy, if he is able to earn that kind of run in New York.
Jarrett Jack: Jack has been holding the starting point guard seat for the Knicks because rookie Frank Ntilikina seemingly wasn't ready to handle the job yet. Mudiay is another young, talented guard, but he has NBA experience and is ready to get major run right now, if the Knicks so choose. It seems unlikely to me that Jack will be able to hold off Mudiay for this job moving forward.
Orlando Magic get: Second-round pick
Elfrid Payton: The Suns had very arguably the worst point guard position in the NBA up until last week, and Payton would have been a clear upgrade and sure starter. However, they moved Devin Booker to the starting point and brought exciting rookie Josh Jackson into the starting lineup, and Payton may not be able to displace that setup. Payton fits well with what the Suns like to do, as an up-tempo point guard who could run the show, so if he gets 30-35 minutes per game, it could be an upgrade for him in fantasy terms. However, if he is relegated to a role off the bench, Payton would be a loser in this deal.
D.J. Augustin and/or Shelvin Mack: With Payton gone, there is a vacuum in the starting point guard slot for the Magic. Augustin and Mack will likely battle for that job. Augustin has seven starts this season to Mack's three and Augustin is the better offensive producer while Mack is better on defense. In terms of fantasy, Augustin would project as the one of more interest in fantasy should he gain the starting job. Even as a starter, Mack may not produce enough to get on the radar.
Cleveland Cavaliers get: Second-round pick
Dwyane Wade: Wade was one of a bunch of score-first perimeter players in Cleveland who were all spinning their wheels. With this trade, he not only returns home to the team that he once carried to championships, but he also returns to a squad that is struggling with injuries to perimeter players and lacks any kind of iso scorer for late-game situations. As such, Wade could find himself potentially starting (due to injury, Derrick Jones Jr. started on Wednesday night), and if not, he seemingly will have a role allowing him as many minutes and as large of a role as he can handle at this stage of his career. He could potentially end up on the fantasy radar as a possible pickup in deep leagues.
No one, really: With Dion Waiters out for the season and the health issues on the perimeter, Wade can get run without really negatively influencing any other fantasy-relevant player.
George Hill: Hill seems likely to be the starting point guard in Cleveland, after battling to get minutes for the youth-oriented Kings. Hill is also an excellent 3-point shooter, fighting all season for the highest 3-point percentage in the NBA, and he'll now be able to get wide-open looks playing off of LeBron James.
Rodney Hood: Hood was clearly behind rookie Donovan Mitchell to be the starting shooting guard in Utah, and there was no path for him to overcome him. In Cleveland, Hood will be battling with JR Smith and Kyle Korver for the starting job, and he has the shot and the youthful energy to come out on top. His scoring volume could drop slightly, but his efficiency should increase playing off of James.
Larry Nance Jr.: Nance is a young spark plug who was previously stuck on a Lakers squad full of young talent in the frontcourt. Now, he heads to a Cavaliers squad that desperately needs his youth and athleticism in the frontcourt, which suggests that he should play at least as many minutes -- if not more -- for the Cavs. Plus, Nance is a finisher who can get out on the break and should benefit from being set up by James. Lob City 2 in Cleveland?
Jordan Clarkson: Clarkson should continue his sixth-man role in Cleveland and will have opportunities to show off his instant offense skill set. However, he had a freedom with the Lakers as the only ball-dominant perimeter player that he won't have in Cleveland, since James doesn't often leave the court. Plus, with Hill and Hood (two other scoring guards) in the mix, he'll have to fit in more than he ever had to before and likely will get fewer opportunities to produce numbers.
JR Smith: Smith has been starting and is coming off one of his best games of the season Wednesday. However, the Cavs just brought in three perimeter scorers who all have more dynamic games than Smith and that could eventually push him further down the rotation.