NBA Sports

Recapping The 2021 NBA Trade Deadline

The NBA has been notorious for having a rather exciting trade deadline in years past. This year was no different. This is a breakdown of every significant deal and how it will affect each of the teams involved.

The Denver Nuggets Bring Back Javale

Denver receives: JaVale McGee.
Cleveland receives: Isaiah Hartenstein, a 2023 protected second-round pick through No. 46, and an unprotected 2027 second-round pick.

This is a deal that works for both teams, in my opinion. The Cleveland Cavaliers are a team that is a bit of a long shot to make the playoffs, and McGee has been better suited as a high usage role player on a championship team in the past. This worked most recently with the Warriors and Lakers. McGee’s offensive production has been slightly up from previous years, averaging 8 points and 5.2 rebounds in about fifteen minutes of playtime this season. Once he returns to Denver, I see him being a big boost off the bench and adding some depth for the big men in the Mile High City.

The Magic Hit Detonate and Blow It Up

The Magic were especially busy this tradeline and decided to blow it up by trading three of their biggest assets, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, and Nikola Vicevic. Each of the Magics’ three big deals requires an in-depth breakdown.

Orlando receives: Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., and two first-round picks.
Chicago receives: Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu.

Nikola Vucevic was one of the hottest commodities going into this year’s trade deadline, and the Chicago Bulls won the sweepstakes for him. Vucevic has been off to his best in his ten-year career. He is coming off his second All-Star appearance and is currently averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. He has been one of the biggest bright spots in Orlando’s season. With just a game and a half out of the 8th spot in the east, the Chicago Bulls show that they are serious about making a push towards the playoffs. Vucevic seems like a natural fit with the Bulls. He should easily complement the play style of both Lauri Markkanen and fellow All-Star Zach Lavine.

For Orlando, this, along with their other deals, shows that they are deciding to embrace the rebuild. With a lot of draft capital going forward and trading away three of their biggest pieces, they are embracing the tank and will likely be shooting for the number one pick in this next year’s draft, which would probably be Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State. This would be a great pairing with young guard Markelle Fultz once he returns from injury.

Orlando receives: Evan Fournier.
Boston receives: two second-round picks.

This trade is very straightforward for both teams. Boston uses some of their second-round picks to try and a jolt of offense with Fournier. Fournier is having a remarkably great season for the Magic as he is averaging 19.7 points in a pretty prominent role for the Magic. The Celtics have struggled this season to meet expectations. While Fournier will be an expensive addition with his $17 million salary, he will have something to prove as it is his contract year, and the Celtics can use their trade exception from the sign and trade last summer with Gordon Hayward to help with his contract.

For the Magic, it is pretty straightforward. They get some more draft assets for Fournier, who was likely to walk in free agency, and they can continue to work towards a high lottery pick with the departure of Fournier.

Orlando receives: Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and a protected 2025 first-round pick.
Denver receives: Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark.

This was the other significant move during the deadline. It was one trade that Denver Nuggets have been rumored to have been attached to leading up to the deadline, and they officially got the asset they’ve been looking for, and they did so on a massive bargain. Gordon works for the Nuggets on an extraordinary level. He is still young and could be entering his prime, and while no longer being the number one scoring option, he will have an opportunity to shine as one of the main scoring options on the Nuggets. Plus, it pushes the Nuggets further into contention! This is overall just a great deal for the Nuggets and, in reality, both sides. It helps both the Magic and Nuggets get to what they want, Gordon helps the Nuggets win now, and the departure helps bolster the Magic’s rebuilding efforts.

The Sixers add Depth, While The Thunder Continue to Look Towards The Future

Philadelphia Receives: George Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis
New York Receives: Terrance Furguson
Oklahoma City Receives: Austin Rivers, Tony Bradley, and 2025 and 2026 future second-round picks (from the 76ers)

Our first (and only) three-team trade! This trade is another one that is pretty straightforward in terms of what each of the teams is trying to get, and overall all three teams get a pretty even haul. The 76ers have wanted depth and have shown that, at times, they lack some veteran leaders and come off as thin on the depth chart (especially when you factor in the injury tendencies of the team). Hill enhances the depth they can have and adds a solid veteran leader in the Philly locker room.

The Knicks are essentially in the same boat as the 76ers because they lack some depth and want more players on their bench in key roles. Ferguson does precisely that, and I think that Fetuson is an excellent fit in that system.

The third team, the Thunder, do exactly what they’ve done the last couple of years; stack up picks for the future. The Thunder now have 34 picks over the subsequent seven drafts splitting up 17 1st round picks and 17 2nd round picks, respectively.

Toronto Does A Miniature Roster Shake-Up

Toronto Receives: Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood
Portland Receives: Norman Powell

I sort of see what Toronto is doing here? It feels like they realize they are so close to the playoffs that a minor move could push them in. They currently sit three spots out of the eight seed, and maybe some new players might push them there, but I just don’t think either Rodney Hood or Gary Trent Jr. (who I both really like)are as good or better than Norman Powell. It just feels like the strangest deal of the deadline.

On the other hand, I love this deal for Portland. I think Powell adds some needed scoring depth to this roster, and I think he will genuinely gel with that roster on a high level. This could be a trade that might push them closer to contention, even if this isn’t the year they are legitimate contenders.

Lou Williams Makes Hist Return To Atlanta

Atlanta Receives: Lou Williams and two future second-round picks
Los Angeles Receives: Rajon Rondo

Lou Williams is inching towards the end of his career. With the decrease in production from last year and his age, it would not surprise me if this is the guards’ final stop in his NBA career. It has been clear for a while now that the Clippers have been in desperate need of an upgrade at the point guard position, and Rajon Rondo fits that exact mold they are looking for. Rondo is a two-time NBA Champion who has some excellent playoff experience and should help the Clippers stay steady in the playoffs, which they needed last year.

Miami Adds More Scoring, And Houston Still Has A Problem

Miami Receives: Victor Oladipo
Houston Receives: Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 first-round swap rights.

This feels like one of the more underrated deals of the trade deadline. In recent years it has felt like teams don’t want Oladipo, and I can never wrap my head around it. He’s a solid scorer, and granted, the Rockets seem to be embracing a rebuild, and he likely doesn’t want to be a part of that, but I this could be a deal that is reminiscent of a Rasheed Wallace deal that puts Miami over the top. The Heat have been hot of late, and a healthy Oldadipo could do wonders for that team down the stretch.

On the Houston side, all I have to say is I feel bad for Avery Bradley.

Dallas Adds One More Shooter

Dallas Receives: JJ Reddick
New Orleans Receives: James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, and a future second-round pick.

This is a deal that I love for the Mavericks but don’t like for the Pelicans. The Mavericks have been one of the bigger disappointments this NBA season. It seemed like they would be taking the next big step to becoming legitimate contenders, but it has felt like they are the exact same team as last year without taking a step forward. By going out and getting Redick, they have the potential to take one of those steps forward. I see Redick playing off Doncic exceptionally well and giving this team a shooter they could use effectively down the stretch.

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