The Longer Straw: To Follow the Winners and Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline
The NBA brings excitement every night on the court. Slam dunks, buzzer beaters, and game-winners. But the spectacle doesn’t stop there. One part of the NBA season happens off the court, and it may be one of the most thrilling events NBA news.
The NBA trade deadline has been historically one of the most anticipated dates in the season. From the Lakers trading for Pau Gasol in exchange for brother Marc to Carmelo Anthony landing with his hometown Knicks to Rasheed Wallace, after playing just one game with the Hawks, dealt again to the eventual champion Detroit Pistons.
The trade deadline is a day not for the faint of heart and maybe the franchise-altering point of no return for so many teams. Indeed, player movement won’t stop after the trade deadline.
Here are some of the winners and losers from the top trade deadline deals this 2021:
Chicago Bulls receive Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu from the Orlando Magic for 2 First-Rounders, Otto Porter Jr, and Wendell Carter Jr.
All-star Nikola Vucevic will join an up-and-coming Bulls team thirsty for a playoff appearance. With the Bulls still on the outside looking in, management should expect to build team chemistry quickly and try their hand at the play-in. Usually, having two all-stars on your team means holding a solid playoff spot, so Vooch looks to have a lot on his plate. Winner – Bulls
Boston Celtics receive Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic.
Danny Ainge again makes some magic from the Magic. With many draft picks, the Celtics should be excited to pick up a solid wing scorer in exchange for two second-round picks. Fournier should add another shooter in Boston’s lineup, a must when you have Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown attracting all the defense’s attention.
A playoff lineup of Tatum, Brown, Smart, TimeLord, and Fournier will be tough to beat in the 4th quarter. Winner – CelticsDenver Nuggets gain Aaron Gordon from the Orlando Magic for Gary Harris, rookie RJ Hampton, and 2025 first-round pick.
The Orlando Magic is the gift that just keeps on giving. With a full-on rebuild, the Magic have shed significant salaries during the trade deadline, garnering a few young bucks and some draft picks. None could have more implications for all the players they have let go than Gordon landing with Denver.
Playing with passing big man Nikola Jokic and playmaker Jamal Murray, Gordon expects to have the most uncomplicated baskets he has had in his career yet. Jerami Grant seemed to have flourished with the Nuggets last year, and Gordon could do the same things and more.
The solid and high-flying forward could muscle his way to the basket and finish with ease off passes from Jokic and Murray. This could easily be the champion-making move of the deadline. The Mile High City just went to cloud 9. Winner – Nuggets
LA Clippers swap Lou Williams for Atlanta Hawks’ Rajon Rondo
You would be amiss to neglect Rondo’s impact on the Lakers’ championship run last season. Heading the point for LA when Lebron James was getting important rest on the bench, Rondo always made the right play on the court. He is traded to a Clippers team that sorely needs some direction.
With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George taking on too much scoring and defending responsibilities, it’s up to Rondo to steer them on the right track every night. Lou Williams will be necessary to the Hawks if they want to make a playoff run, but Rondo fills a more prominent California need. Winner – Clippers
Houston Rockets send Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat in exchange for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and 2022 first-round swap rights.
After failing to sign Oladipo to a long-term deal, Houston moves on and trades him to last year’s finalist, the Miami Heat. Getting Oladipo with questionable health flags may be a concern, but it’s still a win.
The former all-star adds defense, sophistication, and toughness to a team with Jimmy Butler, who seems cut from the same tough cloth. The team game coach Erik Spoelstra plays them well with Oladipo, as he can slowly acclimate himself to the Heat rotation. We’ll see how many minutes he steals away from young star Tyler Herro, but even with that, this is still a net positive for South Beach. Winner – Heat
These are just some of the larger trades this past deadline, but smaller deals may still have more enormous impacts. During the trade deadline, franchises hope to deal for someone who can turn the team around or push them to the next level or divert their assets into draft picks. Whatever they choose to do, it’s usually only one team that draws the longer straw and the better title run that lies ahead.