NBA

4 Winners and 3 Losers of the NBA Trade Deadline

Jan 22, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) dribbles past Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (right) during the first quarter at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA trade deadline has come to a close. Several teams across the association made massive moves, making it one of the most eventful and active deadlines in recent memory. Some teams made moves to compete this year, while others are building for the future. With that being said, here are 4 winners and 3 losers of the NBA trade deadline.

Winner: Denver Nuggets

Mar 18, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon dunks the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks on Thursday, March 18, 2021, in New York. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets acquired both Aaron Gordon and JaVale McGee at the deadline. Proving that they are fully invested in competing for a championship this season. Denver finds itself at 5th place in a loaded Western Conference. However, with the acquisitions they made, they are poised to move up the standings.

JaVale McGee is a solid rim protector who can score in the paint for the Nuggets secondary unit. On the other hand, Aaron Gordon is a high flyer who also has the ability to space the floor out as a shooter. Teams will now have a handful attempting to guard the Nuggets starting lineup.

Nikola Jokic is having an MVP caliber season this year. With the acquisitions that they have made from the trade deadline, they look poised to make another deep run in the playoffs this year.

Loser: Houston Rockets

Feb 15, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk (9) dunks the ball against the LA Clippers in the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets are an absolute mess. The Rockets had plenty of suitors who wanted to trade for James Harden before shipping him to the Nets. Instead, they find themselves with Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, Dante Exum, and a bundle of future late first-round picks for the perennial All-Star.

The Rockets had the opportunity to acquire players like Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen in a deal for Harden. However, they chose to receive Victor Oladipo and some draft picks, which they flipped into Kelly Olynyk, a draft swap, and Avery Bradley. Nowhere near the type of assets, the Rockets should have received in return.

The Rockets are 14th in the Western Conference and are coming off of a 20 game losing streak. There is no momentum going for the franchise, and its been made abundantly clear that this is just the beginning of a multi-year rebuild.

Winner: Miami Heat

Feb 26, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) point as he makes a three point basket against the Toronto Raptors during the first half at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the Rockets, the Heat just got a whole lot better. Miami has acquired Victor Oladipo to form a big 3 including Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Above all, they managed to keep Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson on their team.

Miami has gone all-in to compete for a championship this season after coming up short in the NBA finals last year. Oladipo is a very low-risk, high-reward type of player due to how little they had to give up to bring him onto their team. Making this a great situation for the Heat to find themselves in.

The Heat will look to be active in the buyout market, as a player like LaMarcus Aldridge would only improve their already competitive roster.

Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

Mar 21, 2021; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Los Angeles Lakers injured forward LeBron James (left) and Anthony Davis against the Phoenix Suns during the first half at Phoenix Suns Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers are without All-Star’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the next few weeks. Instead of acquiring another star player to benefit them now, they opted to sit tight with their current roster. For this reason, they are a loser at this year’s trade deadline.

Although someone like Talen Horton-Tucker could become an important player for the Lakers, it’s hard to comprehend why the Lakers would prefer him instead of Kyle Lowry. Lowry has won a championship with Toronto, and would heavily improve their guard play.

The Lakers are the favorite by many to end up winning the championship this year. However, if that does not happen, they will be left questioning if they could have gotten their missing piece at this year’s trade deadline.

Winner: Orlando Magic

Dec 23, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) drives around Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo (13) during the first quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Orlando Magic went all-in on their rebuild process today. They traded away All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier all in big deals. The Magic are 14th in the Eastern Conference and will look to tank in order to get a high selection in this year’s loaded draft class.

Some of the best assets the Magic acquired in these three deals involve: Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., and a multitude of draft selections. While blowing up the roster may be hurtful to Magic fans, it is a necessary step towards being competitive in the future.

The Magic will struggle for the rest of this year. But, they have a crew of young players and draft picks to build around. Making for an incredibly bright future in Orlando.

Loser: Los Angeles Clippers

Jan 22, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Rajon Rondo (7) passes during the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Similar to the Lakers, the Clippers are legitimate contenders this year. Making the decision to trade 3-time 6th man of the year winner, Lou Williams, even more confusing. Especially when you take into account that the piece they got in return is a drastic downgrade.

Rajon Rondo is averaging 3.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 3.5 assists this season. Meanwhile, Lou Williams is averaging 12.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. The Clippers are in win-now mode, so losing a scorer like Lou Williams is a major head-scratcher.

The Clippers are sitting at 3rd place in the Western Conference and decided to stay relatively quiet at the trade deadline. Meanwhile, a contender like the Denver Nuggets made moves to drastically improve.

Winner: Chicago Bulls

Mar 7, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Orlando Magic guard Nikola Vucevic (9) competes during the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls finally acquired an All-Star to pair with Zach LaVine. The Bulls only had to give up two future first-round draft picks, Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter for the Magic’s franchise centerpiece and Al-Farouq Aminu.

In separate deals that were made today, the Bulls were also able to bring in former Celtics big man, Daniel Theis, as well as Washington Wizards guard Troy Brown Jr. The Chicago Bulls are currently sitting at 10th place in the constantly shifting Eastern Conference standings, and, look to be moving up after making their big moves.

The Chicago Bulls have not made the playoffs since 2017. After bringing in another All-Star to compliment Zach LaVine, the Bulls look poised to snap that streak.

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