Fantasy Basketball Trade Deadline Reaction: Cavaliers blow up roster, shake up the landscape

The Cavaliers traded Isaiah Thomas to the Lakers Thursday, in a deal to land Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance...

The Cavaliers revamped their roster with a bevy of moves Thursday... 

The Cavaliers blew the whole dang thing up. We're still trying to pick up the pieces.

First it was the move sending Thomas to the Lakers. Then, a three-team deal netted the Cavs George Hill and Rodney Hood. At some point, Dwyane Wade was sent back to Miami. Former MVP Derrick Rose was sent to the Jazz, too. Seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson was moved, too. 

The Cavaliers fundamentally reshaped a flawed roster, bringing in length, youth and shooting that was sorely needed. All in all, here are the pieces that moved in and out for the Cavs: 

In:

George Hill
Jordan Clarkson
Larry Nance
Rodney Hood

Out:

Isaiah Thomas (to the Lakers)
Channing Frye (to the Lakers)
Jae Crowder (to the Jazz)
Derrick Rose (to the Jazz)
Iman Shumpert (to the Kings)
Dwyane Wade (to the Heat)

Joe Johnson was also sent to the Kings from the Jazz, and he and Rose seem like obvious buyout candidates in the next few weeks. 

I think that's everyone. Phew. Let's break down what it all means for Fantasy purposes. 

Cavaliers bring in new faces

The Cavs needed to do something. They certainly did something. Whether that something will mean much for Fantasy owners remains to be seen. We simply don't know what the rotations in Cleveland will look like, of course, but we also just don't know how these players will fit together, and most importantly, with LeBron. Let's try to figure out what the Fantasy value of each player might be:

  • You would expect Hood and Clarkson to see a dip in usage playing next to LeBron, though Hood in particular could thrive with the open looks James generates. Hood has seen his game stagnate in recent years after showing flashes of an intriguing off-the-dribble game, but he has developed into a solid 3-point threat. Expect him to see a drop in his scoring from 16.8 points per game, but Hood should retain value thanks to his 3-point shooting. 
  • Clarkson looks like a big loser here, after averaging 14.5 points and 3.3 assists per game with the Lakers. He should come off the bench for the Cavs, and while that means he'll get some minutes without LeBron, it likely won't be enough for him to sustain his high-usage role. He could still score and assist enough to have low-end Fantasy appeal, but isn't likely to be a consistent Fantasy starter.
  • Hill is the best player the Cavs added from a pure basketball standpoint, and he could see a boost in Fantasy appeal as a result of it, too. However, that's mostly a commentary on how limited his value has been in Sacramento. Faced with the decision to either play the young guys or the veterans, the Kings just cut the baby in half, giving nobody on the roster more than 27.6 minutes per game. Hill should see more than his 26.6 per game average in Cleveland, and was a solid Fantasy contributor when healthy in Utah last season. If he can stay healthy and get engaged, it wouldn't be surprising to see Hill have a nice renaissance in the second half of the season. At just 44 percent owned in CBS Sports leagues, he's well worth adding if you have a bench spot to spare. 
  • Nance is going to get a lot of dunks in Cleveland. If your league rewards extra points for those, he could make an impact. However, even with Kevin Love out, Nance probably won't do much more than score in the high single digits on most nights, with the occasional double-digit rebounding performance. He'll be a deep-league option, but likely not much more. 

Everything else

Those are some big names the Cavs dealt away, but they're not really ones Fantasy players cared much about before this. That likely won't change. 

  • Isaiah Thomas just isn't healthy. He probably shouldn't be playing. We'll see if the Lakers opt to start him, at least as long as Lonzo Ball is out. However, once Ball returns, it's hard to see Thomas sticking in the starting lineup, or being happy with a bench role. This will be one to watch, but it wouldn't surprise me if his Fantasy value eventually evaporates in Los Angeles. The Cavs needed to at least try to get Thomas right; the Lakers don't really have any investment in him one way or the other. Don't drop him, but his chances of finding the spark that made him an elite Fantasy option last season seem slim. 
  • Crowder is the one player the Cavaliers sent out who you can feel confident will find a consistent role in his new home. That may not look like great news given Crowder's performance this season, but I'm not ready to write him off entirely. The Jazz play a more similar system to what Crowder thrived in with Boston than the Cavs did, with more ball and player movement, which could be the spark Crowder needs. In category-based formats, Crowder's ability to fill up the box score efficiently can still be an asset. Stay tuned. 
  • Wade should get plenty of playing time in an injury-plagued Miami backcourt, so this could be more than just a nice story in his return home. The Heat have lost five straight, are without Dion Waiters for the remainder of the season, so Wade could step into a 20-25 minute per game role, providing scoring and assists. Wade could be a useful low-end Fantasy option. 
  • Shumpert could get a green light he never had with the Cavs in Sacramento, but he probably won't end up playing many minutes. Unless he gets 35 minutes per night, Shumpert is unlikely to be worth your attention. 
  • The Jazz are reportedly looking to buy out or waive Rose. He is unlikely to make a Fantasy impact this season. 
  • Don't be surprised if Frye joins Rose on waivers. 
Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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