By Mike Barner, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
With February almost in our rearview mirror, it’s now or never if you want to improve your fantasy basketball squad for a second-half push. If you want to do that via the trade route, here are some players to consider acquiring, as well as a couple to potentially consider trading away.
Trade for: Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons
The Pistons bringing in Grant while starting a rebuild might have seemed like a peculiar move at the time. Given that Grant turns 27 next month, it still might be, but in terms of fantasy, the acquisition couldn’t have worked out much better. Grant has been the leader of the Pistons’ offense, averaging 23.3 points and 2.5 three-pointers per game. He’s not only producing on the offensive end either, as he’s posting averages of 5.2 rebounds. 3.1 assists and 1.2 blocks to supplement the scoring. He’s also averaged a whopping 36 minutes per contest, a number that likely isn’t going to change anytime soon.
With all of that being said, Grant is in a bit of a shooting slump right now. He’s shooting 37.9 percent from the field across his last seven games, dropping his overall number to 43.6 percent for the season. As a result of his shooting woes, he's scored 17 points or fewer five times during that stretch. If there was ever a time to try and trade for him with the hopes of getting a discount, this might be it.
The market: One fantasy league saw Grant traded for Fred VanVleet. In a multi-player move, one fantasy manager was able to acquire Grant and Donovan Mitchell for LeBron James.
Trade for: Christian Wood, Houston Rockets
Wood is currently sidelined with an ankle injury. He’s missed eight straight games and might not be able to return before the All-Star break. Given that he may have returned too soon from the same injury earlier in the season, expect the Rockets to take a cautious approach in bringing him back. They also have one of the worst records in the league, so it’s not as if they need to rush him back for a playoff push.
The good news is that when Wood does return, he basically has the frontcourt all to himself. The Rockets released DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday, leaving Wood as the only player on the team (outside of Justin Patton) with any sort of significant size. He’s already averaged 10.2 rebounds per game, but that number could go up even higher as part of small lineups. Add in his significant scoring upside and trying to acquire him now while he is still sidelined could prove to be a shrewd move.
The market: Wood has been involved in several multi-player deals lately. One of them saw Wood and Karl-Anthony Towns acquired for a package of Anthony Davis, Michael Porter Jr., and Kendrick Nunn. In another league, James Harden and John Wall were traded for Wood, Al Horford, and Luka Doncic.
Trade for: Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
Hield has been on this list before. He struggled from the field out of the gate but later turned things around. During a 15-game stretch from the middle of January through the middle of February, he averaged 17.5 points and 4.4 three-pointers while shooting 39.4 percent from the field. Not only that, but he also averaged 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals during that stretch, showing why he entered the season as an appealing mid-round fantasy option.
If you missed out on the first opportunity to acquire Hield at a discount, this is your second chance. He’s gone back into a funk, shooting 35.5 percent while averaging 13.5 points and 2.7 three-pointers over the last six games. If you need high-volume three-point production, Hield can certainly help in that area.
The market: In an interesting move, Hield was acquired in one league for Jordan Clarkson. In another, he was acquired in exchange for Eric Gordon.
Trade away: Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers
Williams was basically an afterthought for the Clippers early in the season. Across his first 20 games, he only averaged 9.1 points across 20 minutes per contest. However, injuries to Paul George and Kawhi Leonard forced Tyronn Lue to expand his rotation. That helped Williams average 20.3 points across 28 minutes per contest during a nine-game stretch in February.
The problem for Williams is that both George and Leonard are now healthy. His workload sank to 22 minutes against the Nets on Sunday, and he subsequently sat out Tuesday’s game for rest. If you can find a fantasy manager who was reminded of the Williams of old during his recent hot streak, now is the time to trade him while his value is likely at its peak for this season.
The market: In one league, Williams, Victor Oladipo, and De’Aaron Fox were traded for Luka Doncic and Joe Ingles. In another, a fantasy manager may have been trying to load up for the fantasy playoffs, as Williams was traded alongside RJ Barrett for Jusuf Nurkic.
Trade away: Mike Conley Jr., Utah Jazz
The Jazz have been one of the best teams in the league this season and Conley is a big reason why. He’s shown significant improvement compared to his lackluster 2019-20 campaign, averaging 16.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.8 three-pointers. After shooting just 40.9 percent from the field last season, he’s also improved his efficiency this campaign by shooting 44.7 percent.
Unfortunately for Conley, injuries have been a problem for him in recent seasons. While he was mostly healthy out of the gate, he recently missed six games because of a hamstring injury. Conley was back in the lineup against the Clippers over the weekend, and he logged a full workload (29 minutes) in Monday’s convincing win over the Cavs. He’s looked much more like the player we came to know in Memphis, but Conley does have a relatively concerning track record of injuries over the last few years, in particular. Trading him now for a more durable piece could mitigate the risk of Conley missing valuable games later in the fantasy season.
The market: Since Conley just returned from injury, he hasn’t been involved in many fantasy trades of late. However, one notable deal saw Conley and Al Horford traded for Jaylen Brown. In another league, Conley was traded alongside Josh Richardson for De’Aaron Fox and De’Anthony Melton.