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Re-working the Wire

Following up on a few stories I covered in Working the Wire this week:

Jeremy Lin continues to impress, even without Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in the lineup. But he's facing a major upgrade in competition tonight when the Lakers visit Madison Square Garden. I still think Lin will be a good-to-great fantasy play for the rest of this season; don't be discouraged if he has a rough night against Kobe and Andrew Bynum.

Stoudemire is expected to return to the Knicks for Tuesday's game against the Raptors; Lin's ability to run the pick-and-roll should give STAT's stats a major boost, especially with Anthony expected to miss another week or so.

Anthony's absence has also created an opportunity for Steve Novak to get some run, and Novak has made the most of it. He's scored 19 points and hit five threes in each of the Knicks' last two games. He should be a worthwhile play through the weekend at least and possibly until 'Melo returns. Anthony is expected to miss another week, but I wouldn't be shocked if he's out until the all-star break.

I thought the Clippers would have a hard time finding a way to sign JR Smith, but it seems I was a little too optimistic. Based on conversations with one NBA cap guru, I thought the Clips' only real chance to land Smith would be to work a sign-and-trade with the Nuggets. But cap expert Larry Coon has since noted that the new CBA forbids any sign-and-trade deals after the start of the season... so the "Smith for Ryan Gomes" deal I suggested is pretty much out.

Smith has reportedly drawn interest from the Clippers, Knicks, Lakers, Bulls and Thunder. A decision could come soon; his team was just eliminated from playoff contention.

Wilson Chandler has suggested that he intends to sign with Denver when freed from his obligations in the Chinese league. Aaron Brooks' status is less certain; his likeliest destination is still Phoenix, but the Suns are deep at the point and owner Robert Sarver has a reputation for being cost-conscious. Or cheap - whichever you prefer.

Charlotte's Reggie Williams needed a couple of games to get his legs back, but he's scored 21 in each of his last two, and his three hasn't even started falling yet (4-16 in that span). Get him if he hasn't been snapped up already.

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