At 3:00 EDT Friday, the NBA trade deadline hit, but not without several deals being made in the hours before.
While not all deadline days are filled with excitement for NBA fans, this year’s had no shortage of big moves. Several teams added stars or key players to raise their ceiling, while other teams decided to rebuild or stand pat.
The deals made ahead of the 2021 trade deadline will make for an exciting finish to the regular season, and will certainly make the playoff mix more interesting. Here are some of the best acquisitions that took place Friday afternoon, making these teams the winners of the trade deadline.
Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks to Orlando for Nikola Vucevic, Al-Farouq Aminu, Mo Wagner to Boston for Daniel Theis
One of the most surprising deals of the deadline was Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic being dealt to the Chicago Bulls.
The trade was the first of multiple deals for the Magic, who have decided now is the time to hit the reset button. In the newly acquired Carter Jr., Orlando gets, despite injury history, a solid prospect. Porter Jr. will be off the books next season, and the Magic also get first-round draft picks in 2021 and 2023.
The bold trade lands Chicago a two All-Star tandem, pairing the versatile big man with Zach LaVine, who is averaging 28 points, five rebounds and five assists in the backcourt. Vucevic gives LaVine a pick-and-roll partner and stronger second option on offense. The trade almost certainly makes the Bulls a playoff team, especially after adding quality center Daniel Theis in a deal with Boston.
Orlando kick-starts its rebuild, while Chicago looks to make the postseason for the first time since 2017. A win for both teams.
Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a first-round pick swap to Houston for Victor Oladipo, Moe Harkless and Chris Silva to Sacramento for Nemanja Bjelica
The team long-rumored to be after former Pacers guard Victor Oladipo finally has him. The Heat acquired Oladipo, who was dealt to the Rockets following the James Harden deal, will join the defending Eastern Conference champions.
The biggest takeaway from this trade is how little the Heat had to give up. Olynyk’s contract ends after this season, and Bradley is in the final stages of his career. Miami was able to retain all of their valuable young pieces (Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, Tyler Herro).
Adding Oladipo, a versatile scorer and solid perimeter defender, raises Miami’s ceiling. After the team also acquired Kings big man Nemanja Blejica, the Heat boast one of the NBA’s deepest rosters.
In the span of just a few hours, Miami once again added important pieces at the trade deadline.
Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and a first-round pick to Orlando for Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark, two second-round picks to Cleveland for Javale McGee
Of the many teams interested in Magic forward Aaron Gordon, the Denver Nuggets were able to put together the best package and get the deal done. Orlando will receive a solid young player in Gary Harris, along with rookie R.J. Hampton and a 2025 protected first-round pick.
In adding Gordon, the Nuggets acquire a solid third scoring option behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. On a new team, Gordon, who requested a trade days before the deadline, could take another step in his development. Jokic’s passing ability and Murray’s ability to get to the basket will open things up for Gordon even more, while he is currently shooting a career-high percentage from three.
In a separate deal, the Nuggets are bringing back center Javale McGee who will add veteran frontcourt depth. If Gordon is able to fit well in Denver’s system, the Nuggets could find themselves back in the Western Conference Finals later this year.
Featured image credited to Sky Sports.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.