Fantasy basketball trade analyzer: The time to deal Kyrie Irving is now

·6 min read

By Mike Barner, RotoWire

Special to Yahoo Sports

As we work our way through Week 7 in the NBA, it should be apparent by now which categories you may need to begin supplementing as the season wears on. If you’re looking to address those needs via the trade market, here are some players to consider taking a look at. We’ll also discuss some players who it might be time to trade away while they are still performing well.

Trade for: Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic

Injuries keep piling up for the Magic. First, it was Markelle Fultz (knee) and now they have lost Aaron Gordon (ankle) for at least the next four weeks. Gordon had taken on more of a role as a facilitator with Fultz out, averaging 6.1 assists across his last eight games. Cole Anthony is a promising young point guard, but the Magic are going to need other players to help take some of the pressure off of the rookie to run the offense.

Enter Fournier. We know he can score, but he’s also an underrated passer. He’s averaged at least three assists in three of the last four seasons and is currently averaging 3.6 dimes a night this season. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him average at least four assists a game until Gordon returns. Also, the Magic don’t really have many offensive threats who can step in for Gordon, so Fournier could see an uptick in the scoring department, as well.

The market: There haven’t been a lot of deals involving Fournier in fantasy leagues lately. One trade saw him dealt away with Lonzo Ball for the injured CJ McCollum. Another saw Fournier, Ben Simmons and Robert Williams exchanged for James Harden.

Trade for: D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves

Russell has struggled after missing three games with a quadriceps injury, shooting 35.4 percent from the field and averaging 17 points across three games. He did log 29 minutes or fewer in two of those games, one of which was a blowout loss and the other came on the second night of a back-to-back set. On the bright side, he hoisted 16 shot attempts during that stretch, so he’s still been heavily involved in the Timberwolves’ offense.

Karl-Anthony Towns (COVID-19) is expected to return soon, which would help take some of the pressure off of Russell. Opposing defenses will no longer be able to key in on stopping him, which could create some easier scoring opportunities. As his health also continues to improve, I’ll be looking for Russell to break out of his recent slump in the near future. He’s an excellent buy-low candidate.

The market: In one trade, Russell was dealt straight up for John Wall. In another interesting transaction, a fantasy manager traded Jordan Clarkson and De’Andre Hunter for Russell and Miles Bridges.

Minnesota Timberwolves' D'Angelo Russell
Better times could be on the horizon for D'Angelo Russell. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Trade for: Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors

Boucher looked like one of the biggest steals of the season after his hot start. The departures of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka freed up playing time for him, which he turned into averages of 16.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks through his first 13 games. He really didn’t even see overly heavy minutes during that stretch, as he came off the bench behind Aron Baynes and played only 24 minutes per contest. The problem is that the Raptors have gone away from Boucher over the last two weeks, playing him an average of 20 minutes in their last eight games. The result? Muted averages of 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.0 block per game.

If there is a silver lining to his recently reduced role, it’s that he might be available on the trade market now. If you need blocks, Boucher is still a prime target. Should anything happen to Aron Baynes, who hasn’t been the healthiest of players in recent seasons, Boucher could jump right back into an expanded role. And even in reduced minutes, he’s still one of the league's best per-minute blocks producers.

The market: In one league, Duncan Robinson was dealt straight up for Boucher. In terms of multi-player deals, one league saw Devin Booker dealt for Jamal Murray, Kemba Walker, and Boucher.

Trade away: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

It’s certainly been a strange season for Irving. He missed time for personal reasons and returned to find a dramatically different team after the Nets traded for James Harden. There haven’t been any issues so far and Irving is actually playing more because of their lack of depth, averaging 38 minutes across the last eight games. He’s converted that into averages of 29.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 2.5 three-pointers while shooting 56.2 percent from the field.

There is no question that Irving is an extremely talented player. He has had health issues though, and who knows when he will decide to take a game or two off for any number of reasons. Since things have stabilized for him right now, it could be time to shop him at his peak and see if you can get a top-20 player back in return.

The market: There have been plenty of big trades involving Irving. One saw him traded for CJ McCollum and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Another deal sent Irving away in exchange for Chris Paul and Andre Drummond. Finally, one fantasy manager traded Irving and Kristaps Porzingis for Russell Westbrook and Christian Wood.

Trade away: Wayne Ellington, Detroit Pistons

Ellington has been known for his three-point prowess throughout his career, averaging at least 2.4 three-pointers in three of the last four seasons. Now part of an ultra-thin Pistons’ roster, Ellington has averaged 23 minutes per night and has come out firing. He’s launching 6.3 three-point attempts per contest and has been able to convert them into 3.1 makes per game.

Yes, you did the quick math correctly. Ellington is hitting a whopping 49.5 percent of his three-point attempts. That is not going to hold up over the course of the entire season since he has never shot higher than 42.4 percent from deep during his career. With that in mind, if you can find a fantasy manager who is desperate for three-pointers, trading away Ellington while he is hot could lead to a significant return.

The market: An interesting trade in one league saw Ellington and Cole Anthony dealt for RJ Barrett. He was also packaged with P.J. Washington in exchange for Evan Fournier.