Recent NBA Player News

Charlie Culberson hitting sixth for Texas on Friday evening

Texas Rangers infielder Charlie Culberson is starting in Friday's game against the Baltimore Orioles.

What It Means:

Culberson will operate third base after Andy Ibanez was picked as Friday's designated hitter, Isaiah Kiner-Falefa was moved to shortstop, and Yonny Hernandez was rested.

In a matchup against left-hander Alexander Wells, our models project Culberson to score 9.2 FanDuel points at the salary of $2,100.

Evan Fournier signs four-year deal with Knicks

The New York Knicks have signed Evan Fournier to a 4-year contract worth $78 million.

What It Means:

Fournier thrived in his short season with the Boston Celtics this season after spending the past several seasons developing with a mostly non-competitive Orlando Magic roster. The Celtics helped emphasize Fournier's ability to make plays as a shooter, a skillset the Knicks could hope to benefit from.

The Celtics helped put Fournier in position to put up career-highs in 3-point percentage (.463%) and rebounds per game (3.3) in the back half of the past season. The Knicks will hope to build on his recent growth with his new contract.

Bulls sign Alex Caruso to 4-year, $37 million deal

The Chicago Bulls have signed free agent guard Alex Caruso to a 4-year deal worth $37 million.

What It Means:

Caruso has done well for himself in free agency, earning a high-value contract in the early aughts of this year's free agency period.

Caruso is still just 26, but is coming off a season in which he put up 6.4 points per game, with 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists. He could have a much more viable role for the fantasy basketball with the Bulls next season than he's seen so far with the Lakers.

Suns sign Chris Paul to massive extension

The Phoenix Suns have signed point guard Chris Paul to a four-year contract worth up to $120 million.

What It Means:

Paul helped bring the Suns to the NBA finals for the first time since the early 90's, so it makes sense that the team would look to lock him down on a long-term deal. With Paul and their young corps returning, the Suns should be a competitive force in the 2021-22 season.

Paul averaged 16.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 8.9 assists per game in his first season with the Suns.

Kyle Lowry joining Heat with 3-year contract

The Miami Heat are acquiring point guard Kyle Lowry in a sign-and-trade with the Toronto Raptors.

What It Means:

Lowry and the Heat have agreed to a three-year deal worth approximately $90 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Raptors are expected to receive Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa in return. Lowry was limited to 46 games last season, his lowest since his rookie season back in 2006-07, but the veteran still produced 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.0 steals, and 2.8 3-pointers per contest. Lowry's arrival in Miami is likely going to lead to fewer opportunities for Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro.

Lowry averaged 35.7 FanDuel points in 34.8 minutes per game last season. He ranked 17th in assist percentage (31.8) last season and has finished in the top-20 in three of the last four seasons.

Pistons sign Kelly Olynyk to 3-year deal

The Detroit Pistons have signed center Kelly Olynyk to a three-year contract worth $37 million.

What It Means:

Olynyk is coming off of a season in which, after a trade to the Houston Rockets, he averaged a career-best 19 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. The soon-to-be 30-year old has certainly done well for himself with this contract.

With the Piston, Oylnyk should be slated for a premium starting role. Even despite playing for the talent-heavy Heat for half of the season, the veteran still averaged 13.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game despite playing for two separate franchises in the 2020-21 season.

Lonzo Ball leaving Pelicans in sign-and-trade with Bulls

Free agent point guard Lonzo Ball is agreeing to a four-year, $85 million deal with the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.

What It Means:

The New Orleans Pelicans are sending Ball to the Bulls in exchange for Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple and a second-round pick. Ball is joining his third team in five seasons since being taken by the Los Angeles Lakers with the No. 2 pick in 2017. Zach LaVine stands to benefit from having Ball in the backcourt and the addition should lead to easier looks for Nikola Vucevic down low. Coby White, however, is likely going to have his playing time slashed.

Lonzo averaged 32.9 FanDuel points and 31.8 minutes in 55 games for the Pelicans last season. He has improved his true shooting percentage every year, including a 55.1 percent mark in 2020-21. Ball also raised his 3-point attempt rate to 65.0 percent last year, up from his previous career-high of 57.5 percent in 2019-20.

Timberwolves reportedly trade Ricky Rubio to Cavaliers

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Minnesota Timberwolves have reportedly acquired point guard Ricky Rubio and a 2022 second-round pick in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

What It Means:

Rubio's departure will allow D'Angelo Russell to settle into a full-time starting role after the veteran logged 26 minutes per game last season. Expect Rubio's stock to potentially change again if Cleveland's roster remains intact with Darius Garland and Collin Sexton.

In 68 games last season, Rubio averaged 8.6 points and a 51% true shooting percentage on 7.3 attempts.

Suns reportedly acquire Landry Shamet in trade with Nets

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns have reportedly acquired guard Landry Shamet in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets.

What It Means:

Shamet will head to Phoenix in exchange for Jevon Carter and the 29th overall pick this year. Expect the 24-year old to provide depth at the guard positions and with Phoenix's second unit.

In 61 games last season, Shamet produced 9.3 points and a 57% true shooting percentage on 7.5 attempts.

Grizzlies getting Eric Bledsoe in multi-player, pick swap

The Memphis Grizzlies are acquiring guard Eric Bledsoe from the New Orleans Pelicans in a trade involving multiple players and picks.

What It Means:

The Grizzlies are also yielding Jonas Valanciunas and two picks from Thursday's draft (No. 10, No. 40), while the Pelicans are getting Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, two 2021 picks (No. 17, No. 51), and a top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick via the Los Angeles Lakers. Memphis reportedly plans to ship Bledsoe off to another squad. The 31-year-old veteran averaged personal-lows in scoring (12.2), rebounding (3.4), and assists (3.8) since the 2012-13 season when he was playing for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Bledsoe also registered the second-worst field goal percentage of his career (.421) last season and he finished with a sub-20 assist percentage for the first time since entering the NBA. He finished with averages of 23.8 FanDuel points and 29.7 minutes over 71 games.

Pelicans acquire Jonas Valanciunas, picks from Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies are trading center Jonas Valanciunas and the No. 17 and No. 51 picks in Thursday's NBA draft to the New Orleans Pelicans for center Steven Adams, guard Eric Bledsoe, the No. 10 pick, the No. 40 pick, and top-10 protected 2022 first-round pick, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

What It Means:

Woj says the Pelicans preferred Valanciunas at center over Adams because there will be more space available for Zion Williamson in the frontcourt. The move also creates financial flexibility for New Orleans to either match an offer sheet for Lonzo Ball, or use the salary cap space to sign a replacement in free agency. Woj specifically mentions Kyle Lowry as a potential target for the Pelicans if Ball leaves.

JV averaged 37.4 FanDuel points and 28.3 minutes in 62 games last season. He set career-highs in total rebound percentage (23.4) and offensive rebound percentage (15.1), and finished third in the NBA in both categories. Zion registered a plus-2.1 usage percentage with Adams off the floor last year.

Pelicans send Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe to Grizzlies

The New Orleans Pelicans are trading center Steven Adams and guard Eric Bledsoe to the Memphis Grizzlies for center Jonas Valanciunas.

What It Means:

The Grizzlies are also receiving the No. 10 and No. 40 picks in Thursday's 2021 draft, as well as a top-10 protected 2022 first-round selection. New Orleans is also acquiring the No. 17 and No. 51 picks in this year's draft. Adams will likely replace Valanciunas as the starting center in Memphis. The addition of the veteran big man could offer more room for Jaren Jackson Jr. to move around on offense.

Adams averaged 24.5 FanDuel points and 27.7 minutes in 58 games last season. He registered the second-best total rebound rate of his career (17.4 percent) and the fourth-best offensive rebound rate in the league (14.4 percent).

Thanasis Antetokounmpo (health protocols) ruled out for Bucks in Game 5

Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo will not play Saturday in the team's game against the Phoenix Suns.

What It Means:

Thanasis has entered the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and he's been ruled out of Saturday's NBA Finals Game 5. It's unclear what the situation is, but for now, he seems to be the only one who will be affected. Look for Jordan Nwora to potentially pick up a rotation spot.

In 13 playoff games this year, Thanasis has averaged 3.5 minutes.

Suns' Dario Saric tears ACL, out indefinitely

Phoenix Suns power forward Dario Saric is out indefinitely with a torn ACL in his right knee.

What It Means:

Saric suffered the injury during the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. Cam Johnson, Torrey Craig, and Frank Kaminsky may see more minutes off the bench with Saric out. Jae Crowder could also see additional playing time.

Johnson scored 22.6 FanDuel points over 20.6 minutes in Game 1. Craig scored 5.6 FanDuel points over 15.8 minutes. Saric registered the second-highest usage rate (18.4 percent) off the Suns' bench.

Dario Saric (knee) won't return for Suns in Game 1

Phoenix Suns forward Dario Saric will not return to the court in the team's Tuesday game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

What It Means:

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Croatian forward has suffered a right knee injury that will keep him from returning. His absence means the Suns will have to go the final 30-plus minutes without his skillset. Look for Frank Kaminsky and potentially even Jalen Smith to get more minutes in Saric's stead.

In nearly two and a half minutes, Saric was 0-for-1 from the field with a rebound.

Bobby Portis coming off Bucks' bench in NBA Finals Game 1

Milwaukee Bucks forward/center Bobby Portis is playing with the second unit Tuesday in the team's game against the Phoenix Suns.

What It Means:

Portis started the last few games of the Eastern Conference Finals, but that's changing on Tuesday. After missing time due to a hyperextended knee, Giannis Antetokounmpo is returning to the court and the starting lineup. As a result, Portis will come off the bench in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Our models project Portis for 13.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 27.5 FanDuel points across 18.7 minutes of action.

Source: Eric Nehm

Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) starting for Bucks on Tuesday; Bobby Portis back to bench

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will start Tuesday in the team's game against the Phoenix Suns.

What It Means:

Once Antetokounmpo was upgraded from doubtful to questionable, it seemed as though he would play. And after getting the green light from the training staff to suit up, it was a lock he'd start. Veteran big Bobby Portis will revert to a bench role with Antetokounmpo's return.

Our models project Antetokounmpo for 33.3 points, 13.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 62.7 FanDuel points across 39.3 minutes of action.

Source: Eric Nehm

Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) will play for Milwaukee in Game 1

MIlwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has been cleared to play in the team's game against the Phoenix Suns, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

What It Means:

Antetokounmpo missed the last few games of the Eastern Conference Finals due to a hyperextended knee, but it seems as though he'll be good to go for Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Expect Bobby Portis to revert to a bench role with this news.

Our models project Antetokounmpo for 33.3 points, 13.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 62.7 FanDuel points across 39.3 minutes of action.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) a GTD for Bucks in Game 1

Milwaukee Bucks small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) is expected to be a game-time decision for Game 1 of the NBA Finals versus the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, reports Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews of ESPN.

What It Means:

Antetokounmpo has "continued around-the-clock treatment on his left knee" and the Bucks upgraded him from doubtful to questionable on Tuesday afternoon. Antetokounmpo hasn't played since injuring his knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tip-off on Tuesday night is scheduled for 9pm ET.

numberFire's models currently project Giannis to score 62.7 FanDuel points over 39.3 minutes in Game 1. He has a $16,000 salary on Tuesday's one-game slate.

Lou Williams coming off Hawks' bench in Game 6

Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams will play with the second unit Saturday in the team's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

What It Means:

Trae Young is making his return to the court following a two-game absence with a bone bruise. As such, Williams will revert to a bench role.

Our models project Williams for 8.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 14.5 FanDuel points.

Trae Young (foot) starting for Hawks in Game 6; Lou Williams back to bench

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young is in the lineup Saturday in the team's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

What It Means:

Young is making his return to the court after missing the last couple games due to a foot contusion. And no to one's surprise, he'll immediately return to the starting lineup. Lou Williams will revert to a bench role.

Our models project Young for 25.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 42.2 FanDuel points across 36.9 minutes of action.

Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) available for Hawks in Game 6

Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic will play Saturday in the team's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

What It Means:

Bogdanovic continues to be listed as probable to play, and he'll once again suit up. Expect him at full strength for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Our models project Bogdanovic for 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 31.1 FanDuel points across 36.0 minutes of action.

Source: Mike Conti

Trae Young (foot) available for Atlanta in Game 6 on Saturday

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young (foot) is available for Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

What It Means:

Young has been upgraded from questionable to available and will be active for Saturday's win-or-go-home Game 6 showdown with the Bucks. Our models expect him to play 36.9 minutes against Milwaukee on Saturday. His return will likely result in Lou Williams returning to a role off the bench.

Young's Game 6 projection includes 25.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, and 42.2 FanDuel points.

Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) ruled out for Saturday's Game 6 matchup

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) will not play in Saturday's Game 6 matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.

What It Means:

Antetokounmpo will miss his second straight postseason game with a left knee hyperextension. Expect Bobby Portis to play more minutes on Saturday night.

Portis' current Game 6 projection includes 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists.

Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) doubtful for Game 6 on Saturday

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) is doubtful for Game 6 against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

What It Means:

Antetokounmpo is once again listed as doubtful for Game 6 after sitting out Game 5 with a hyperextended left knee. Bobby Portis started in his place on Thursday and could remain in the starting five if Antetokounmpo is ruled out.

Portis' Game 6 projection includes 14.7 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 29.9 FanDuel points.

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