While the NBA’s big-name free agents have mostly found homes by this point in the offseason, a few signings are continuing to trickle in.
The Utah Jazz, in particular, stayed busy over the past few days as they work to recalibrate their roster in the wake of Gordon Hayward’s departure. They came to terms with Thabo Sefolosha on a two-year, $10.5 million contract, per The Vertical’s Shams Charania. They agreed to sign Jonas Jerebko to a two-year, $8.2 million deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and brought in former lottery pick Ekpe Udoh on a two-year, $6.5 million deal, per Charania.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, meanwhile, rounded out their depth charts by reaching deals with former draft picks. Cedi Osman, the No. 31 pick from the 2015 draft, will join Cleveland on a three-year, $8.3 million deal, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Abdel Nader, who went 58th in 2016, is heading to the Celtics on a four-year, $6 million deal, per Charania.
Lastly, the strange Jonathon Simmons free agency saga came to an end, as he agreed to join the Orlando Magic on a three-year, $20 million deal, per Charania. This came after the San Antonio Spurs rescinded his qualifying offer earlier in the week—similar to what the Detroit Pistons did with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope—making him an unrestricted free agent. Unlike Detroit, however, the Spurs didn’t rescind Simmons’ QO immediately after making a trade to fill his spot on the depth chart.
What do all of these signings mean for fantasy basketball owners? Let’s take a look.
Jonathon Simmons to the Magic
If the Magic’s signing of Simmons means they won’t play Aaron Gordon out of position at the three anymore, it’s a win for fantasy basketball owners regardless of how Simmons fares.
Simmons averaged just 6.2 points on 42 percent shooting, 2.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 17.8 minutes per game with the San Antonio Spurs last season, putting him far off the fantasy radar. He’s now headed to an Orlando team with fellow swingmen Terrence Ross, Evan Fournier and former No. 5 pick Mario Hezonja all vying for minutes at shooting guard and small forward, begging the question of how much time he’ll be able to carve out.
Unless Simmons emerges as a starter during training camp, he’ll be nothing more than a deep-league option at best. His arrival may slightly diminish the fantasy upside of Ross and Fournier, while those clinging to Hezonja in dynasty leagues can only pray the Magic trade him elsewhere.
Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh to the Jazz
With Gordon Hayward now in Boston, the Jazz will be replacing his offensive workload by committee. Though Rodney Hood and Rudy Gobert profile as their top two scorers, they rounded out their frontcourt and backcourt depth with the additions of Sefolosha, Jerebko and Udoh.
Sefolosha finished as the 112th-ranked player on a per-game basis this past season after averaging 7.2 points on 44.1 percent shooting, 4.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.7 triples in 25.7 minutes across 62 games with the Atlanta Hawks. While the Jazz do have a glaring hole at the thre in the wake of Hayward’s departure, Sefolosha will compete with Hood, Alec Burks, Joe Johnson, Joe Ingles and rookie Donovan Mitchell for minutes at both shooting guard and small forward, which may limit his per-game impact. Given the injury history of both Burks and Hood, Sefolosha could become fantasy-relevant at some point this season, but owners should treat him as a late-round flier heading into draft day.
The fantasy stocks of Jerebko and Udoh largely depend on whether the Jazz trade Derrick Favors between now and the start of the season. Favors, who is heading into the last year of his contract, isn’t an ideal fit alongside Gobert given his lack of 3-point shooting range. If the Jazz do decide they want more of a stretch four presence next to Gobert, Jerebko could be the primary beneficiary. He shot 37.7 percent from 3-point range during his 185 games with the Celtics. Udoh, meanwhile, profiles largely as a backup center behind Gobert.
Since the Jazz also waived Boris Diaw before his $7 million salary for 2017-18 became guaranteed, per Charania, there’s room in the frontcourt for both Jerebko and Udoh to make a fantasy impact, but neither will be worth drafting unless the Jazz do trade Favors. If they do—and if they receive no frontcourt players in return—Jerebko will be a legitimate late-round flier, while Udoh could be a waiver-wire gold mine if Gobert were to ever go down with a serious injury.
Cedi Osman to the Cavaliers
The Cavaliers’ decision to bring in Osman on a multi-year deal seems to suggest he’ll be in line for a regular rotation role. While most of Cleveland’s reserves are on the downslope of their respective careers, Osman just turned 22 in April, so he’ll provide some much-needed youth and energy off the team’s bench.
Osman is fresh off a year in which he shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range in 70 games with Anadolu Efes, so just imagine what he’ll do alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. While 40-plus-percent shooting isn’t out of the question, Osman likely won’t do enough to be anything more than a late-round 3-point specialist unless ‘Bron goes down with an injury or takes another two-week rest sabbatical to recharge his batteries during the regular season. As such, fantasy owners in standard leagues can likely leave Osman on the wire on draft day.
Abdel Nader to the Celtics
After the Celtics grabbed Nader at the end of the second round last year, he spent his entire first professional season with the D-League’s Maine Red Claws, averaging 21.3 points on 44.7 percent shooting, 6.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.5 triples in 33.5 minutes per game across 40 outings. While that impressive per-game production would seemingly bode well for his chances of cracking Boston’s rotation, he’ll have to overcome a crowded depth chart including Hayward, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Semi Ojeleye just to get fringe minutes.
If you’re in a dynasty draft, Nader would be an interesting rookie flier in the later rounds, but those in standard leagues can feel free to ignore him. The D-League Rookie of the Year isn’t likely to make much fantasy noise in 2017-18.