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Gay’s a King

KOBE Bryant’s return after eight months following a season-ending Achilles injury wasn’t the only big news item in the US National Basketball Association on Sunday night (Monday morning in Manila).

As we opened our inboxes and Twitter accounts yesterday, out spilled the news that the Toronto Raptors traded star swingman Rudy Gay, forward Quincy Acy and center Aaron Gay to the Sacramento Kings for point guard Greivis Vasquez and forwards John Salmons, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes.

It’s the first big midseason trade of the ongoing NBA 2013-14 season and it works for both squads. The Raptors get the financial flexibility general manager Masai Ujiri has yearned for while parting ways with Gay and his $19.5 million contract for 2014, and Toronto gets an unselfish playmaker in Vasquez who should be one of the cornerstones of the rebuilding Canadian franchise.

Meanwhile, Sactown gets in Gay the “stretch-four” they have been yearning to partner with franchise center DeMarcus Cousins on the frontcourt, and frees productive reserve Isaiah Thomas to start full time at the one without Vasquez in his way.

In fantasy hoops terms, both players will continue to hold their present values. Although he might take less shots in deference to DMC and IT2, look for Gay to hold his season averages (19.4 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.6 spg, 1.3 bpg, 1.2 3pg, 3.3 topg) steady in Sacramento. Same with Greivis, as he now moves behind Kyle Lowry on the Raps with his numbers of 9.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks and 1.5 turnovers with 0.9 threes per game.

Fantasy-wise, the winners of this trade were not involved in the deal. Look for Thomas to see his minutes per game with the Kings to increase to the mid-30s and thus bump up his per-game stats from the present 17.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.4 spg, 2.6 topg and 1.5 3pg. The new Kings, Acy and Gray, can be safely ignored by anyone except managers in the deepest fantasy leagues.

The other winner is DeMar DeRozan, who becomes Toronto’s unquestioned gunner and showed that in Sunday’s win over the Lakers—with Kobe making his season debut, no less—with a fat line of 26 points, 5 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. DeRozan’s season averages are 21.3 points, 1.4 threes, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals in nearly 39 minutes per game, and he should get all he can handle despite the presence of new teammates Salmons, Patterson and Hayes.

* * *

Five for fighting

Since the Philippines is a day ahead of the US, fantasy managers here have their weekly leagues start on a Tuesday and end on a Monday. With that in mind here are five players to take a look at for Week 7 (schedule thanks to Rotoworld):

4 games: CHA, CHI, DET, GSW, LAC, MIN, MIL, NYK, OKC, ORL, PHI, POR, SAS, SAC, UTA

3 games: ATL, BK, BOS, CLE, DAL, DEN, HOU, LAL, MEM, NOP, PHX, TOR, WAS

2 games: IND, MIA

Tony Wroten, Sixers: With outstanding rookie Michael Carter-Williams again sidelined by injury (skin infection to his knee), Wroten gets at least a couple games as a starter for Philadelphia, and his numbers on the first five are outstanding: 19.8 points, 4.8 boards, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.3 triples.

Alec Burks, Jazz: Burks has really come on in the last few games with the arrival of rookie point Trey Burke, averaging 16.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.4 steals and 1.2 triples on 48.3 percent from the field in 31.2 minutes over his last five outings.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks: “Alphabet” has earned more time in Coach Larry Drew’s rotation and the Greek freshman has delivered 5.8 points, 4.4 boards, 2.2. assists, 1.4 blocks, 0.4 steals and 0.4 triples on 54.2 percent from the field over his last five games.

Taj Gibson, Bulls: With Luol Deng injured, Gibson started at shooting forward for Chicago against Detroit and promptly dropped 21 points and 10 rebounds—not fluky considering his 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and only 1.0 turnovers on 60.8 shooting from the field over his last five.

Jason Smith, Pelicans: With fantasy’s No. 1 player, Anthony “Brow” Davis, sidelined for at least six weeks, Smith has picked up the slack at center for New Orleans. Smith has racked up 8.3 points, 10.0 boards, 0.5 blocks and 0.5 steals in 32.8 minutes in his last four games —and more minutes usually lead to more stats for managers in fantasy and reality.

 

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