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RotoBaller NBA Recap: More Injuries, More Rumors


Eight games went into the books Tuesday night, but as the league's trade deadline quickly approaches (tomorrow at 3 P.M. EST), the events that took place off the hardwood were the ones that dominated the NBA airwaves on this particular day and night. And, of course, there were more injuries because this season wouldn't be complete without more injuries. Hell, we even saw the rare injury to an already injured guy.

Yes, you read that correctly. Washington Wizards guard John Wall -- who underwent season-ending heel surgery in January -- suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon after slipping and falling in his home and will now require a second procedure to repair the damage sustained from his clumsiness. After playing in just 41 games a season ago -- following surgeries on both in knees in 2016 -- Wall hasn't seen the court since December 26th, and it's now looking like we won't see him again until the 2020-2021 campaign. Contract aside (Wall signed a four-year, supermax extension worth $170 million back in 2017 which is set to kick in a pay him $37.8 million in the upcoming season), this is simply yet another tough break for one of the league's most talented players, and at this stage in the game, one can't help but wonder if he'll ever be the same.

What a somber way to kick things off, but hey, don't blame me! I'm a fan of Wall and was in absolutely no way affiliated with this tragedy. Although, the thought of me breaking into his house and mopping the floor with some super slippery polymer after setting up random banana peels throughout the abode is quite comical. But, enough nonsense, let's take a look at three more of the biggest happenings from around the association on Tuesday, February 5th.

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Philly Moves to the Head of the Eastern Class Following the Addition of Tobias Harris

My day job is one of those corporate desk gigs and each year I have a "PDP" review (performance, development something) where I have to grade myself on the year, then sit down with my boss -- who's graded my performance from his perspective -- and have a discussion regarding my contributions to the organization, what I suck at and things like that. There's one question that always comes up at some point during this discussion, and it's some variation of "Where do you see yourself in three years?" To which, I reply, "In Tahiti, on a cabana, getting paid at least twice as much as I do now for nothing more than sleeping, and enjoying traveling the world with my performance based on how much time I spend doing what it is I actually want to do, and/or, hours of rest I get throughout the year..."

It's a fun conversation.

Well, as I laid resting last night and into the morning (not being paid to do so, or in Tahiti, mind you), the Los Angeles Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers completed a deal which will send Clippers forwards Tobias Harris and Mike Scott, along with center Boban Marjanovic to Philly for guard/forward Wilson Chandler, guard Landry Shamet, center Mike Muscala, and four draft picks (two first-rounders, two second). Harris obviously headlines the deal and adding him to Philly's core of All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler, takes the currently fifth-seeded 76ers (34-20) and puts them right at the top of the East.

Both Harris and Butler will be unrestricted free agents come season's end, so the long-term impact remains to be seen, but the Sixers are in "win-now" mode and adding Harris -- who's averaging 21 points, eight rebounds, and three assists this season -- definitely helps the cause. However, with Harris going from the man responsible for carrying the scoring load in L.A., to fourth option in Philly, this news isn't likely to come as welcomed by Harris' fantasy owners. And, to a lesser extent, Embiid/Butler owners as Harris is surely going to eat into their numbers to some degree. It seems logical for all three to see a slight decrease in scoring production, possibly on the glass as well, but yet another option to stretch the floor -- and command defensive attention -- could turn out to be a blessing for each of them in terms of efficiency... Warriors lite.

On the Clippers side of things, I'd expect all three players involved in the deal to see an increase in value on the strength of the Clippers just not being a very talented basketball team. Following an impressive start to the season, injuries combined with regression to the mean have the Clippers barely holding on to the eight seed in the Western Conference after losing nine of their last 15 games. That said, Chandler seems like the most likely to see the largest boost in production by default, but both Shamet and Muscala figure to see run and the likes of Patrick Beverley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should see an increase in usage as well... Someone outside of Lou Williams has to get buckets until Danilo Gallinari returns.

 

Anthony Davis Won't be Playing in Los Angeles... Yet

Anthony Davis is one of the premier players in the NBA, so when he voices a desire to be traded, people pay attention. Maybe too much attention. (If I don't hear his name again for the rest of the season there will be no complaints on my end.)

Surely you've heard, but if not, the rumors surrounding his potential destination and the players involved in making a deal happen have been circulating in abundance. Thing is, when you actually hear about the details of a trade before the deal is finalized, it's normally after the deal has fallen apart. It's the ones that seemingly come out of nowhere, i.e. Tobias Harris, that gets done while these overly-hyped, insatiable media ratings prophecies filled with "sources"? Yeah, they rarely happen.

Nonetheless, when I heard the Lakers had agreed to send Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, and two first-round picks to New Orleans. In addition to, a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson salary-flexibility type guy, I just knew a deal was going to get done by the end of the day. How can you pass that up for one Anthony Davis? Especially, one AD who has a player option after next season, and has basically guaranteed you that he won't be re-signing which will leave you with nothing when he walks in free agency. Clearly, the two sides just had to work through the details...

Nope - the Pelicans demanded more.

Exactly what? I don't know, but I heard as many as four first-round picks, plus the aforementioned players and two second-round picks. Whatever the request, it was enough for Magic Johnson and the Lakers brass to decide that backing out of trade talks with the Pels due to their "outrageous" demands was the best course of action. Outrageous might be putting it lightly. I mean, I guess they could've thrown a three-percent royalty on all of Davis' Lakers merchandise, a lifetime "eat free" card at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, and an inhabited planet into the deal. But, really New Orleans?

In all seriousness, it's highly unlikely that the Pelicans receive a better offer than what the Lakers presented. The combination of young talent and picks was quite the load, and that's before we even mention the handful of teams in which AD stated he'd be interested in signing a long-term extension with. Meaning, teams like Boston who have the assets to match the Lakers offer, but don't find themselves among the list of teams Davis would sign with long-term, aren't likely to sacrifice their future/assets to acquire him knowing they'll just have him on a rental for one year. So not only is Pelicans' GM Dell Demps asking for a guaranteed place in heaven with the deal, but Davis (and his camp) have plenty of leverage on their side as well... I don't see Davis having a new home prior to the summer.

 

Mo Bamba's Rookie Season May Have Come to An Unexpected End

Orlando Magic forward Mo Bamba has been diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left leg and there is currently no timetable set for his return. The good news is that the Magic's president of basketball operations, Jeff Weltman, says the big man shouldn't require surgery so his return to the court comes with an indefinite timeframe. The bad news, for fantasy owners, is that he hasn't really given us any reason to justify our patience at this point.

... There is even less reason now.

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