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Fantasy Basketball Update: Is Zach LaVine Going To Be Traded?

Ishan takes a look at two of the most intriguing fantasy basketball storylines in the NBA: Tyrese Haliburton's rise to superstardom and a potential Zach LaVine trade.

Ishan Ghosh Dec 8th 7:11 PM EST.

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball up court against the Miami Heat during the second half at the United Center on November 20, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 20: Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls brings the ball up court against the Miami Heat during the second half at the United Center on November 20, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

The NBA’s In-Season Tournament has proven itself to basketball fans around the world and then some. The knockout games have provided nothing but great basketball and electric entertainment. Along with the In-Season Tournament, we've also seen plenty of changes in the fantasy basketball world. Let's take a deep dive into two of them in today's Fantasy Basketball update!

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Fantasy Basketball Update 12/8

Is Tyrese Haliburton The BEST Player In All of Fantasy Basketball?

Tyrese Haliburton is playing the basketball most NBA2K fans will hope to replicate in MyCareer games. 27 points, 15 assists, seven rebounds, and zero turnovers against the Milwaukee Bucks to advance to the NBA Cup Final vs. the Lakers is astronomical. Tyrese Haliburton is dominating in Categories fantasy leagues with elite percentages, assists, points, and threes, and he is a top-tier Points-league asset who doesn’t lose you anything with turnovers.

Haliburton is emerging as a top player in the league, makes everyone around him better, and should be a candidate to be a top-three pick in fantasy drafts for years to come. With how he's playing right now, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic are the only players I feel can do what Tyrese can do, although those two can also rebound. With that duo just ahead of him, Haliburton will be competing with Giannis Antetokounmpo for that third-overall draft spot for years to come. 

Haliburton is shooting like Steph Curry percentage-wise, plus the IQ and sustainability of the Point God himself, Chris Paul, all in a 6’5" body. He intends to recruit like hell and bring more ballers to Indy, and thanks to his team-first mentality and winning attitude, expect the Pacers (and fantasy managers with him on their roster) to be a player for years to come. 

Zach LaVine Is Out For a Month, Is A Trade In The Works?

Zach LaVine has been ruled out for three to four more weeks. Perhaps not coincidentally, this timeline lines up for when players who signed bigger deals with their teams this offseason become trade-eligible on January 15th. Regardless, LaVine has been a fantasy staple for years and will have to sit on fantasy IRs for a month. 

Fantasy Impact On Alex Caruso, Coby White, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic 

The Bulls are 3-1 since LaVine got hurt, and Alex Caruso has been instrumental in that. Giving you everything he has nightly results in statistical output that should be sustainable as long as the minutes are there. He just had an outing of 12 points, two blocks, nine rebounds, and five assists, while Coby White dropped 19 points on an increased workload to go along with 29 poured in from DeMar DeRozan. The Bulls almost certainly will be trading LaVine around January 15th, as he is visibly upset with the organization. The difficulty is trading his $40 million contract and finding the assets they think he is worth in return.

Many have rumored that LaVine is headed to LA to play with LeBron James, and some Lakers, notably D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura, do become trade-eligible on January 15th. However, it seems unlikely the Lakers will pursue LaVine, so the Bulls will spend the next month trying to find a trade partner. A sleeper landing spot is the Orlando Magic, who have contracts like Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, Joe Ingles, and Jonathan Isaac, plus the Nuggets' protected first-round pick to offer whenever they feel like it. Other potential landing spots include Indianapolis, Golden State, and San Antonio.

I like LaVine's potential fantasy value on a team like the Pacers, Warriors, and Spurs, but hate it on a team like the Lakers or Magic, where he would almost certainly be the third option on offense. LaVine is a usage-based player who can shoot the lights out but requires a lot of looks to thrive. He may find himself relying on injuries to find that usage on a new team. 

For fantasy basketball, instead of targeting LaVine on a new team, look to invest in players like Cam Thomas, Terry Rozier, Austin Reaves, and Immanuel Quickley, who will almost certainly be cheaper than LaVine but could have similar production. 

Be cautious with LaVine, and stay attached to the rumor mill; he is the most intriguing player in the 2023-2024 trade season, and his landing spot will determine his fantasy value.

#fantasy-basketball #zach-lavine #tyrese-haliburton

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