As all the biggest deals came down to the wire on March 25th, some deals have yet to be reviewed. With playoff teams like the Celtics and Heat making significant moves at the deadline, it is interesting to see how their acquisitions will impact the respective teams as we advance through the season. Here is a breakdown of the biggest deals from the NBA trade deadline.
Evan Fournier Traded to The Celtics
Celtics Receive: SG Evan Fournier
Magic Receive: PG Jeff Teague, 2025 Second Round Pick (via BOS or MEM), 2027 Second Round Pick (via BOS)
This move was a win-win for both teams and all parties involved. Fournier joins a contending team, and the Magic receive draft compensation for an expiring player. Fournier will now become a part of the Celtics’ quest for a championship as a shot creator off the bench.
Like Vucevic, Fourniers’ strong play over the last few years has been masked by the Magics’ consistent poor performance. A well-rounded guard, Fournier brings another aspect of versatility to the Celtics backcourt. Fournier ranked 1st amongst all Magic players in points per possession as the pick and roll ball handler (min 4 possessions per game). Fournier is efficient in any role, finishing with the second-highest effective field goal percentage on the Magic despite being the second-highest in usage.
The main knock against Fournier is his defense and health. Fournier has just 27 steals and 9 blocks this season through 26 games. His defensive win shares also dropped 1.1 shares since last season. While Fourniers’ defensive limitations won’t be detrimental to the Celtics, don’t expect him to be matching up with the opponent’s lead guard and staying with him step for step. He has also missed a fair amount of games this season, dealing with groin and back issues and missing games for health and safety protocols.
What This Deal Means for the Celtics
While Fournier doesn’t solve the issues in the frontcourt, it was a smart addition for the Celtics. Fourniers’ contract is absorbed by the TPE created by Gordon Haywards’ departure. This means that Boston assumed no extra cap hit while acquiring Fournier, which is huge. Losing two second-round picks and a third-string point guard is a small price to pay for a solid bench contributor.
Fournier is in the final year of a five-year deal he signed back in 2016. Fournier will likely not stay with the Celtics beyond this season, meaning this move was a rental deal. The Celtics hope that Fourniers’ veteran presence and perimeter shooting will push them towards their first finals appearance since 2010.
What This Deal Means for the Magic
The Magic acquire more picks on their way to the rebuilding stage. Two second-round picks seem minuscule in the grand scheme of things but could be worth something in the future. The team knew they likely wouldn’t be able to retain Fournier beyond the next season. Instead of losing him for nothing in the offseason, they flipped him for two draft picks—a solid piece of business from the Magic given the circumstances.
Heat Acquire Victor Oladipo from Houston Rockets
Heat Receive: SG Victor Oladipo
Rockets Receive: SG Avery Bradley, PF/C Kelly Olynyk, 2022 First Round Swap Rights
The biggest move out of the three, the Rockets ship Oladipo to the Heat in the eleventh hour. With the Rockets at risk of losing Oladipo for nothing in the offseason, the team took what they could get.
Oladipo has enjoyed an eventful season in the league this year. Since being included in the blockbuster James Harden deal, he has struggled to win with his new team in Houston. Since he played his first game with the team on January 18th, the team is 5-15 when he is active. Granted, the team lost star center Christian Wood to an ankle injury and had a whole other slew of injuries that has hindered the teams performance. Oladipo now gets a chance at a fresh start in South Beach.
When he is on the floor, Oladipo has been a productive offensive player, averaging 20.8 points per game on modest shooting splits. He has been efficient as a distributor, averaging 6.7 assists per 100 possession so far this season. While he will never regain his All-Defensive first team form, he competes to get over screens on the defensive side of the ball.
With all of that being said, health has been a huge issue for Oladipo. He has missed a large chunk of games this season due to recurring quad and foot injuries. He has never played a full 82 games season in his career and, given the fact that he is only getting older, it is hard to see him breaking that trend at any point in the future.
What This Deal Means For the Heat
The Heat are selling out for a championship, simple as that. They saw the opportunity to grab a premier player in the league for cheaper than face value and jumped at it. While Oladipo does have his concerns, he is still a productive scorer and will be a huge boost from the Heats’ quest for a championship.
Olynyk is the biggest loss for the Heat, as he was enjoying a productive year for the Heat. His ability to stretch the floor will be missed, but the Heat clearly value Oladipos’ shot-creation more than his floor spacing. Losing Bradley is a small knock, as he has appeared in just 10 games this season.
What This Deal Means For the Rockets
An Oladipo trade was inevitable ever since he turned down the extension when they first acquired him. Oladipo clearly had no intention of resigning long term, and Houston did a good job of getting something out of the deal.
It will be interesting to see what the Rockets decide to do with Bradley and Olynyk this offseason. Olynyk will hit the market as an unrestricted free agent. Given the Rockets’ current state as a franchise, it seems unlikely that they retain him and rather will allocate that money elsewhere. Bradley has a team option after this season, and it will be interesting to see what the Rockets decide to do there as well.
Heat Acquire Nemanja Bjelica from the Kings
Heat Receive: SF Nemanja Bjelica
Kings Receive: SF Maurice Harkless, SF Chris Silva
Believe it or not, this was one of the bigger deals of the day. While Bjelica is not the most well-known player, his specific skill set can be well-utilized by the Heat in Erik Spoeltrsas’ system.
Bjelica is a sixth-year pro out of Serbia and who the Wizards drafted in 2010. While he has never had the most eye-popping stats, he has made a career of playing smart and efficient basketball. Last season was arguably his best in his NBA career. Bjelica averaged 11.5 points per game while shooting 41.9% from three.
Bjelica is the traditional stretch big man that is so coveted by contending teams these days. While he has struggled from the perimeter this season, he is a career 38% shooter from the outside. His numbers will likely rebound when he transitions from playing with the Kings to with the Heat.
He also adds value as a passer. While he only has 49 assists on the year, he continually makes smart passes that generate easy buckets for teammates. It sounds like an easy task, but his efficient style of play makes him valuable to a team like the Heat.
While he isn’t the quickest man on earth, he methodically drives to the lane and quickly diagnoses the soft spots in defensive rotations. Time and time again, he will hit a hook pass to a corner shooter for an easy three or slip a pocket pass to a big man for a jam. Simple yet effective plays: these are the types of plays that championship-contending teams need.
What This Deal Means For the Heat
The Heat add a smart, veteran player at little to no cost. Bjelica will presumably take the spot of the departed Kelly Olynk and become the team’s stretch big man. While he is a limited player on the defensive end, he adds enough offensively to be worthy of a spot in the rotation.
Losing Harkless and Silva does not affect the Heats’ current roster. Both players have appeared in a combined 12 games so far this season and are averaging minimal time in each game. Miamis multiple deadline acquisitions will step in and take their spots without missing a beat.
What This Deal Means for the Kings
Sitting at 11th in a competitive Western Conference, it is hard to see a scenario where the Kings make the playoffs this season. With Bjelica on the final year of his contract, the Kings decided to move on from him before losing him for nothing in the offseason.
Sacramento will now evaluate Silva and Harkless and decide their next moves from there. Silva is still on his rookie-scale and has two years remaining on his deal. Harkless will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season.