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Off-season Transactions that Rocked the NBA

Some of the key highlights during the off-season that will affect the Fantasy Basketball landscape this season...

Paul George's gruesome injury has completely changed the Indiana Pacers' outlook this season...
Paul George's gruesome injury has completely changed the Indiana Pacers' outlook this season...
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

This article is basically just a summary of off-season moves that changed the Fantasy Basketball landscape. But instead of breaking down every team's player transactions (you can find that on the internet fairly effortlessly), I'll highlight some of the major events from this past summer. While the most recent draft class is going to affect the league this year in a significant way, I'm going to stay away from rookie analysis - as that will be a subject for another day...

So without further ado, here are some major events that continued to transmogrify the Fantasy flux of the NBA...

1. The King Returns. Very few individual signings have the true power to reverberate throughout the league in a significant way. But when the greatest player in the league decides to alter the course of sports history by returning to his hometown, many teams' destinies get changed forever.

LeBron dropped his bomb, and triggered a series of events that attracted Kevin Love to the new superpower of the NBA (with Kyrie Irving the 3rd of the trifecta), and got the purported LeBron James 2.0 (Andrew Wiggins) shipped off to Minny with fellow Canadian Anthony Bennett in favour of the real deal.

Fantasy Value analysis:

LeBron James: unchanged.

Kevin Love: decreased.

Kyrie Irving: decreased slightly.

Andrew Wiggins: increased significantly.

Anthony Bennett: unchanged.

2. Paul George Breaks His Leg in 87 Ways. For those of you who haven't seen the gruesome Paul George injury, I will do you a favour and NOT link the video. (The only thing that could have made his injury worse is if he shared it with 2 girls and a cup.)

A random bit of freakishness destroys the Pacers' chances for an NBA championship, and makes the Fantasy situation for Indiana very uncertain. Paul George (and his VERY expensive contract) may never be the player he was again, and that bodes well for every other team in the Eastern Conference. From a Fantasy perspective, George was a Fantasy beast. If you have him in a keeper/dynasty, you just took a major blow. There is opportunity sprinkled throughout that roster though - albeit the outcome is unclear as to which players will benefit the most...

Fantasy Value analysis:

All Indiana Pacers not named Paul George: uncertain.

Paul George: Worst case scenario.

3. Raptors Re-Sign Lowry. Sometimes the opportunity cost of seemingly anticlimactic roster moves has to be analyzed as well. Toronto finally being able to re-sign one of their marquee free agents signifies a changing of the guard for this Canadian contender, and limits the upside for teams like the Lakers, Rockets and Knicks (all reportedly interested in acquiring Lowry's services).

The failure to re-sign Lowry could have started a fire sale in Canada, but retaining him keeps the value of prized assets like DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Lowry himself quite steady. Terrence Ross will be a Fantasy asset to watch this season - as there is room to grow in this system...

Fantasy Value analysis:

Kyle Lowry: increased slightly.

DeMar DeRozan: unchanged.

Jonas Valanciunas: increased.

Terrence Ross: increased.

4. J-Kidd the Megalomaniac. Jason Kidd was one of the most competitive PGs to ever play the game. As a coach, he is somewhat Shakespearean. Kidd's career trajectory is getting weird, man. He has certainly displayed talent as a coach, but a player's ego in the role of a team leader is usually not a good fit.

Kidd made an unsuccessful power grab in Brooklyn, and ended up triggering one of those weird coach trades. (The Bucks ended up sending 2 future 2nd rounders to acquire Jason Kidd as coach.) I have no idea why any respectable coach would leave a strong roster like Brooklyn to coach for the perpetually dysfunctional Milwaukee Bucks, but I've never experienced the power and corruption of the NBA lifestyle. Kidd's departure led Paul Pierce to sign in Washington, and basically just completely screwed the Nets. That's loyalty for you.

Fantasy Value analysis:

Paul Pierce: decreased significantly.

Brook Lopez: increased significantly (if healthy).

Milwaukee point guards: increased.

Jason Kidd's ego: increased significantly.

5. Chandler Parsons Gets Paid! In one of the strangest smack talk sessions the league has ever seen, a Twitter war started between James Harden and... Chandler Parsons? The overrated real life player/underrated Fantasy player Chandler Parsons got a $46 million offer from Mark Cuban. Which he signed. Because he's not an idiot. James Harden promptly dismissed Parsons as a "role player" - which is basically just an NBA diss (although not as far from the truth as people might think).

Parsons' counting stats will probably increase in his new role as heavy-usage guy in the Mavs' system. While I don't think it was smart from a basketball standpoint, from a Fantasy perspective, it could be very positive. Although, it could also backfire big time. Parsons' Fantasy numbers were gaudy in Houston, hiding behind Harden and D-12. With the increased attention, Parsons has the opportunity to become the next James Harden - or reinforce Harden's inflammatory tweets.

Fantasy Value analysis:

Chandler Parsons: unclear (although I lean toward decreased efficiency).

Dwight Howard: unchanged.

Dirk Nowitzki: decreased slightly.

James Harden: "Who's Chandler Parsons?"

6. Donald Sterling: Humanitarian. Every so often, a real scumbag enters the world of sports. For the NBA, Donald Sterling has always been that scumbag. But he was under-the-radar enough that no public harm was done. Then Sterling discovered TMZ.

Sterling's well-documented racism (and subsequent legal drama) has cast a dark shadow over one of the league's best teams. If you're a CP3/Blake owner, you've got to be walking on egg shells. The fact that the ownership situation hasn't been resolved yet is not a good thing. The Clippers are 1 good lawyer away from losing their coach, star players, reputation and collection of Fantasy beasts. The real world always dictates the Fantasy world, and if you were one of the best players in the world, ask yourself this question: Would YOU want to be playing for the Los Angeles Clippers right now?

Fantasy Value analysis:

Chris Paul: decreased slightly.

Blake Griffin: decreased slightly.

Los Angeles Lakers PR reps: breathing a sigh of relief.

7. Kobe and Gasol Break Up! After years of Pau Gasol trade rumours, nobody was really surprised when Gasol left for Chicago as a free agent. The Lakers are basically irrelevant in the NBA now, and their roster of future Hall of Famers looks more like an induction ceremony at the NBA All-Star Game than an actual NBA team.

Still, they've got Kobe. Is his career over? Can he regain his form? A healthy Kobe could surprise everyone, and answer questions about Gasol's contributions to those recent Lakers championships. But it's also just as likely that Nash never plays in a meaningful NBA game again, and Kobe Bryant retires without ever having a realistic chance to catch MJ's 6 rings...

Fantasy Value analysis:

Kobe Bryant: increased significantly (if healthy).

Steve Nash: irrelevant.

Pau Gasol: decreased significantly.

Joakim Noah: decreased slightly.

So there is some analysis from this off-season's biggest NBA headlines. While I do think the most recent draft class is going to alter the Fantasy landscape more than many pundits expect, a few of these major off-season transactions will affect the league just as much. The best opportunities in Fantasy Basketball always come during periods of transition. The next Paul George may rise from the ashes in Indiana, and huge injury question marks for players like Kobe Bryant and Brook Lopez could create Fantasy superstars for random Nets and Lakers. The most important thing to look for in Fantasy Basketball is usage, and usage generally doesn't get affected unless something major (injury, high draft pick, major trade, etc) happens. Look for the drama, find the opportunity...