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We have less than two weeks to go before tip-off for the NBA season, and too many questions to answer before you need to draft your fantasy team - if you haven't already.
Predictably, the 16-day preseason period has turned into a scramble of free-agent deals, trades and not-quite-trades.
In free-agent news, center (and former Bull) Tyson Chandler signed with the Knicks, which if anything will mean even more rebounds (he won't have to fight Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony for them), but probably the end of his brief days averaging double-digit PPG.
Elsewhere, the more intriguing local news is that the Bulls may sign Richard Hamilton, SG/SF, who had seen his PPG fall sharply in the last year or so, but would the Chicago's first real shooting guard since Ben Gordon.
In Yahoo! preseason rankings, Hamilton barely makes the top 200, but as a Bull, he has 20 PPG potential if Derrick Rose is charitable with the ball (as the Bulls will want him to be this year, unlike last year). If he does sign, I would look to draft him in a late round as a second or third SG.
Meanwhile, we have no real idea for whom two of our top 10 overall players will be playing come Christmas. Chris Paul, PG, New Orleans, and Dwight Howard, C, Orlando, have both been the subject of trade rumors, including a Paul deal that reportedly would have been done had NBA busybody David Stern not vetoed it. If Paul and Howard land elsewhere, it certainly would have impact on projected fantasy numbers, both for them and other players. The Bulls have been listed as a potential suitor for Howard, but they seem unlikeliest among a list that also includes the Lakers and the Nets. My gut feeling is both Paul and Howard will stay put, but we'll see.
Among actual trades, Lamar Odom was shipped from the Lakers to the Mavericks, a move that certainly helps Dallas' chance to repeat as champs, but could leave Odom with a less defined role than he had in Los Angeles. He averaged 14.4 points per game in LA, filling a scoring gap between Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, but Odom essentially plays the same position, power forward, as Dallas scoring whiz Dirk Nowitzki. Odom is more versatile, getting enough minutes to also qualify as a small forward, but Dallas also just acquired free-agent Vince Carter, SG/SF, who has never been known to pass up a shooting opportunity. It's not yet clear where Odom fits in, and that probably means fewer PPG, at least to start the season.
A lot of pieces still have to fall in place before the season starts. Thank God Brian Scalabrine is under contract.
* Yahoo! tracks how all the preseason activity is affecting teams' depth charts.
* Bleacher Reports lists five declining players to avoid, including Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce. Who will the new elite scorers be?
* Fake Teams tells you who to be cautious about drafting because of injury risk. I couldn't agree more about Chris Paul.
* Rant Sports looks into Stern's trade veto, a power that fantasy league commissioners are often loathe to use until someone complains.
And In Fantasy Football This Week . . .
Two words if you're looking for a QB boost in the playoffs: T.J. Yates.
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