Potential Melo Deal

The Nets, Nuggets and Pistons appear to be nearing a three-team deal involving 13 players and multiple draft picks. With that many moving pieces, there’s bound to be plenty of fantasy value to surface on the waiver wire if/when the deal is pulled off. Below is a list of players who have been mentioned in the rumored deal. 

Player – Expected landing spot:

Carmelo Anthony – New Jersey
Chauncey Billups – New Jersey
Richard Hamilton – New Jersey
Anthony Carter – New Jersey
Shelden Williams – New Jersey
Devin Harris – Denver
Derrick Favors – Denver
Anthony Morrow – Denver
Ben Uzoh – Denver
Stephen Graham – Denver
Quinton Ross – Denver
Troy Murphy – Detroit
Johan Petro – Detroit

The deal isn’t finalized yet, so some of the names involved could change, but lets take a look at how each of the three teams will be affected if the deal goes through as currently constructed:


Denver will go into complete rebuilding mode by trading away their two biggest stars (Melo, Billups). Of the current players on the Nuggets roster, Ty Lawson and J.R. Smith have the most to gain if this deal goes down.

With Harris coming in, Lawson might not be handed the reigns to the starting point guard job, but he should still see a nice boost in minutes. Plus, Denver reportedly isn’t enamored in Harris, so there’s a possibility a fourth team gets involved (Portland?) or he’s moved later in the season. Either way, Lawson’s value should see a nice boost.

Smith would likely slide into the starting small forward position, like he did while Melo was on the sidelines a couple of weeks ago. Over that five-game stretch, Smith averaged 13.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 threes. Those numbers could go up even higher with Anthony and Billups gone, as Smith would likely be asked to shoulder a bigger scoring load.

The incoming players in the trade will likely hold similar value to what they had in New Jersey. If Harris sticks in Denver, he should be the starting point guard, while sliding over to the two at times. Favors might not keep hold of his recent promotion to the starting lineup with a move to Denver, but he should eventually carve out a sizable role in the rotation as one of the team’s new franchise centerpieces.

New Jersey

Expect Billups and Melo to hold their current value if traded to New Jersey. Both will be asked to reprise the same roles they currently hold in Denver.

Hamilton would likely start at shooting guard for the Nets and should thrive while playing alongside his old buddy Billups. This isn’t the Rip of old, but he’ll be better in New Jersey then he’s been in Detroit this season. He’s worth an add in almost any format.

Brook Lopez will be an interesting case with this trade. He’s currently leading the Nets in scoring (18.2) and field goal attempts (14.5). Anthony, Billups and Hamilton will all come in and demand touches, so I expect Lopez’s scoring and shot attempts to decline, but I don’t think this will have a negative impact on his overall production. With an upgrade in talent around him, Lopez will be a more efficient scorer – he’s currently shooting a career-low 45.1 percent from the floor – and will be able to concentrate more on rebounding and defense.

By moving Favors and Murphy in the deal, New Jersey will be extremely thin in the frontcourt. The only remaining big man of any significance left to play alongside Lopez is Kris Humphries. He’s a rebounding machine who should see tons of playing time as a result of this deal. If someone dumped him because of his demotion to the bench last week, go scoop him up immediately.

Jordan Farmar and Travis Outlaw are the only other players on New Jersey’s roster who will garner fantasy attention, but I see their currently minimal values holding steady.


Detroit is doing this deal to shed the remaining $25 million owed to Hamilton over the next two seasons. Plus, by moving Rip, Detroit will free up time in their crowded backcourt for the likes of Ben Gordon and Tracy McGrady. Both players should see a steady diet of 30+ minutes going forward.

Murphy will interest a lot of owners after being stuck on Nets coach Avery Johnson’s bench all season, but I’m not convinced he’ll return to fantasy stardom with the Pistons. The Pistons are in obvious need of help in the paint, and while a solid rebounder, Murphy’s lackluster defense and three-point shooting mirrors Charlie Villanueva’s skill set a bit too much. Detroit will likely give Murphy a role in the rotation, which will automatically give him more value than he had in New Jersey, but I don’t expect him to be considered a legit candidate for a starting job immediately. The Pistons are targeting Murphy because he has an expiring deal, not because the team thinks he’s a franchise savior. Deeper leagues should still make a speculative add on Murphy, but shallower formats will want to wait and see how he’s deployed with his new squad.


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