By Mike Barner, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
Are you itching to make a trade in your fantasy basketball league? After the draft, it’s one of the most exciting parts of the fantasy experience. For those looking to wheel and deal, here are some players to consider trading for, as well as a couple to think about trading away.
Trade For: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Coming off of a Rookie-of-the-Year campaign in 2019-20, Morant is one of the most promising young players in the league. However, he’s hit a bit of a rough patch of late, shooting 32.1 percent from the field across his last four games. His scoring numbers are down, in general, since his return from an ankle injury, as he’s averaging just 15.6 points per game in eight contests. Three-point shooting was not Morant’s strong suit as a rookie, and he hasn’t shown much improvement in that area this season. Over that eight-game sample, Morant is hitting just 25.9 percent of his 3.4 attempts per game.
With that said, it’s only a matter of time before Morant gets back on track in the scoring department. He shot 47.7 percent from the field during his rookie campaign, and even with his recent struggles, he’s shooting 46.2 percent overall this season. If there was ever a time to float out an offer for him and attempt to buy low, now might be it.
The market: In one fantasy league, a package of Coby White and Kelly Olynyk netted Morant and Draymond Green. In another, Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington were traded for Morant and Buddy Hield.
Trade for: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Porter was one of the most popular fantasy breakout candidates coming into the season. After Jerami Grant left for the Pistons, a clear path to an important role had emerged. Porter produced a couple of big games out of the gate but then was sidelined for 10 straight contests because of COVID-19. He came off of the bench for seven straight games after returning, producing averages of 13.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.3 three-pointers. The steals and three-pointers are nice, but his production in terms of points and rebounds left a lot to be desired.
The good news is that Porter has started the last two games for the Nuggets, and although he failed to score in double-figures in either game, he did tally nine and seven rebounds, respectively, while playing at least 27 minutes in both contests. Given his microwave scoring ability, Porter’s numbers could be on the rise quickly if he starts and plays around 30 minutes on a nightly basis.
The market: One of the more surprising recent trades involving Porter saw him dealt straight up for Derrick Rose. Another move netted a fantasy manager both DeAndre Jordan and Will Barton in exchange for Porter.
Trade For: OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Anunoby has missed the last seven games with a calf injury. He was originally said to be out at least a week, so his recovery has apparently been slower than anticipated. He is questionable to play Wednesday, however, so it looks like he won’t be sidelined for much longer.
Now would be a good time to float out a trade offer for Anunoby, especially if you play in a roto league. Even if he doesn’t play Wednesday, it would seem that he’s not dealing with something that will keep him out too much longer, so he’d likely be start-able in Week 9. He’s been a valuable contributor in several categories this season, averaging 14.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 steals, and 2.5 three-pointers per game, while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 74.5 percent from the charity stripe.
The market: One fantasy manager was able to acquire Anunoby for Alec Burks and Mitchell Robinson. In another move, Anunoby was packaged with Jerami Grant in exchange for LaMelo Ball and Robert Covington.
Trade away: Norman Powell, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have dealt with several injuries lately, not just to Anunoby. Pascal Siakam also missed some time a couple of weeks ago and Kyle Lowry left Monday’s game against the Grizzlies with back spasms. As a result, Powell has started each of his last eight games, averaging 22.9 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals, and 3.3 three-pointers in that stretch. On top of that, he’s shooting 50 percent from the field and 85.3 percent from the charity stripe.
When the Raptors finally do get healthy, Powell should return to his role on the second unit. Across 11 games off the bench, he’s only averaged 10.5 points, 1.7 rebounds, and 1.8 three-pointers. If there was ever a time to shop him to try and get a player with a better long-term outlook, this is it.
The market: In one deal, Powell, DeAndre Jordan, and Seth Curry were dealt for Jaylen Brown. Another fantasy manager was able to turn Powell and Mason Plumlee into DeMar DeRozan.
Trade away: Gary Trent Jr., Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have been decimated by injuries this season, with two key starters — CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic — facing long-term absences. McCollum’s injury, in particular, has left a huge void in the Blazers’ offense next to Damian Lillard. Considering McCollum has averaged at least 34 minutes per game in each of the last five seasons, a ton of minutes are up for grabs on a nightly basis.
One of the players tasked with stepping up in place of McCollum is Trent, who has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Since moving into the starting five, he’s averaged 19.4 points, 1.3 steals, and 4.3 three-pointers across eight games. While he has provided very little in terms of rebounds and assists, those scoring contributions have proven to be extremely valuable, especially since he was sitting on the waiver wire in many leagues.
The problem with him is that when McCollum does come back, Trent should return to playing limited minutes off the bench. Since his contributions only come in the points and three-pointers categories, any decline in playing time would be significant. McCollum has already been out for over three weeks, and when he initially suffered the injury, the team said that he would be re-evaluated in four weeks. If good news arrives soon, Trent’s value could plummet, so now is the time to capitalize.
The market: In terms of one-for-one trades, Trent has recently been dealt for DeMarcus Cousins, Mikal Bridges, and Montrezl Harrell. An interesting multi-player move saw McCollum, Goran Dragic and Alec Burks traded for Michael Porter Jr. and Buddy Hield.