The NBA trade deadline has passed, here’s a wrap up of the deals and news made on a busy day.
TRADE: Boston trades Daniel Theis to Chicago in three-team deal
Analysis: This was all about the money for the Celtics, this trade gets them under the luxury tax line. They may waive Wagner and/or Kornet to pick up players on the buyout market. The Bulls also traded for Nikola Vucevic, so Theis is not part of their long-term plans, but he’s a backup and they get cash. The Wizards get to roll the dice on some young players.
TRADE: Dallas adds shooting by picking up J.J. Redick
Analysis: You can never have enough shooting around Luka Doncic, so the Mavericks went out and got a veteran sharpshooter in Redick, plus a big who can space the floor in Melli. Both have had a down season, but around the league the feeling was that once Redick was put in a different system and situation everything would get back to normal. For the Pelicans, they were going to buyout Redick, so this trade is better than nothing. Johnson brings some grit and toughness to the table — with Johnson and Steven Adams, nobody will be punking the Pelicans.
TRADE: Miami adds Victor Oladipo to help with playoff push
Analysis: Oladipo was Plan B in Miami, they thought they might land Gordon or Lowry, but when those fell through Oladipo became the option. He’s played better of late and is averaging 20.8 points a game this season, but has not been terribly efficient shooting 40.6% overall and 33.2% from three. He’s just not the same player he was before the injury, but he does give the Heat another playmaker on the wing for the postseason.
March 25: 3:30 p.m.: No trade for Kyle Lowry or Lonzo Ball at the deadline
If you watched the Raptors win over Denver Wednesday night, it had the feel of an emotional goodbye. The end of an era. Kyle Lowry had been linked to strong trade rumors out of Philadelphia, Miami, and Los Angeles (both the Lakers, and even the Clippers at the last minute). It felt almost certain Lowry would be on the move.
Or not. In the end, the Raptors looked at their options and decided to keep the greatest player in franchise history with the team. Lowry was not traded. He will be a free agent this summer, maybe he re-signs in Toronto and maybe he opens a new chapter, but for now he stays in Toronto.
The other hot trade name had been Lonzo Ball with the Pelicans, and he had been linked to the Clippers, 76ers and others. In the end, the Pelicans kept the best lob thrower they have to play with Zion Williamson. However, Ball also is a free agent this summer (restricted) so New Orleans is going to have to pay up to keep him long term.
TRADE: Rajon Rondo headed to Clippers for playoff run in exchange for Lou Williams
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news, here’s how it shakes out:
L.A. Clippers get: Rajon Rondo
Atlanta gets: Lou Williams
Analysis: The Clippers are making a bet on playoff Rondo helping them in the postseason the way he helped that team down the hall a year ago. The Clippers needed more shot creation at the point, someone who can organize the offense (not Williams’ strengths) and now they have their guy. Williams will play out the season in Atlanta, a playoff team in the East, boosting their bench. Williams goes back home to George, where he will be near his favorite wings spot.
TRADE: Three-team trade lands George Hill in Philadelphia, Austin Rivers to OKC
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, here’s how it shakes out:
Philadelphia gets: George Hill
New York gets: Terrance Ferguson
Oklahoma City gets: Austin Rivers, Toney Bradley, and two second-round picks
Analysis: Philadelphia wants help at the point guard spot — whether or not they land Kyle Lowry in a trade (this may be a signal they will not) — and George Hill is that. The veteran in his 13th NBA season is averaging 11.8 points a game, he creates shots (mostly for himself, but he creates), and he’s played on the biggest stages.
With this deal and others, the Thunder have 34 picks over the next seven drafts, 17 in the first-round and 17 in the second (they will trade a lot of those, but they are stocked for a rebuild).
TRADE: Norman Powell headed to Portland, adds shooting to Blazers roster
Analysis: This is a very good addition for Portland, which adds shooting to an already dangerous backcourt. Powell thrived since being made a starter in the middle of this season in Toronto, averaging 23.1 points a game and shooting 46.5% from three — a ridiculous 68.5 true shooting percentage — in that role. Hood did not work out as Portland hoped, Powell steps into that role. Hood gets a fresh start in Toronto, and the Raptors will love what Gary Trent Jr. brings to the table.
TRADE: Miami Heat land sharpshooting forward Nemanja Bjelica from Sacramento
Analysis: Miami has been looking for help at the four — whether or not they send out Kelly Oubre Jr. in another trade — and Bjelica will help them at that spot. He’s a solid rotation power forward who is a career 38.8% shooter from three, he can put the ball on the floor a little, and just makes solid plays. (His numbers were down this year in Sacramento because he got squeezed as the Kings tried to develop Marvin Bagley; Bjelica should bounce back in a better environment like Miami).
TRADE: Denver Nuggets land Aaron Gordon in big trade with Orlando
Analysis: Denver felt they were one piece away — not anymore. This was the fit they wanted. Gordon is another shot creator on the offensive end who can draw defenders and get buckets if defenses overload against Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Plus, Gordon is a big-bodied quality wing defender who can take some minutes on the huge wings in the West — LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, etc.
For a now rebuilding Orlando, they get a good young player in Hampton and a first-round pick.
TRADE: Boston adds shooting, gets Evan Fournier from Orlando for picks
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, here’s how it shakes out:
Boston gets: Evan Fournier
Orlando gets: Two second-round picks
Analysis: Boston just added a sniper. Fournier is scoring 19.8 points a game this season in Orlando, shooting 38.8% from three. He’s a free agent this offseason — Boston has to decide if it wants to pay up or if this is a rental — but he’s going to help space the court for Boston and he’s considered good in the locker room (more of a joker, keeps things light). Orlando is rebuilding and will take the picks rather than lose Fournier for nothing (this deal could expand as well).
TRADE: Chicago gets Nikola Vucevic from Orlando
Analysis: The Bulls just got a whole lot better. Carter had not taken a step forward this season — certainly not like Zach LaVine, who made a leap — and the big man had become a drag on their lineups (Thaddeus Young was the center Bulls coach Billy Donovan trusted). Now Chicago has an All-Star center who can space the floor, score inside, and is going to get them 20/10 every night. Vucevic is also under contract for two years after this one (at a reasonable total of $46 million), so this is a bet on the long term. In Orlando, let the rebuilding begin. Carter could develop into a quality center over time, he will get the chance, and the two first-round picks are exactly what a rebuilding team needs.
TRADE: JaVale McGee going to Denver
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, here’s how it shakes out:
Denver gets: JaVale McGee
Cleveland gets: Isaiah Hartenstein, a protected 2023 second-round pick (through 46), and an unprotected 2027 second-round pick
Analysis: Denver looked ahead to potential playoff matchups, saw that the Lakers are already big and are expected to get Andre Drummond off the buyout market (although the Knicks are in the mix), saw Ivica Zubac with the Clippers off the bench, and decided to get bigger and more physical behind Nikola Jokic. This was a playoff-thinking trade by Denver. Cleveland gets an athletic project at center in Hartenstein they can play behind Jarrett Allen, plus a couple of picks.
March 25: 10:30 a.m.: Toronto in serious trade talks for Kyle Lowry with Heat, 76ers, Lakers
It looks like Wednesday night’s game — in which he was +42 and led the Raptors to an upset of the Nuggets — was Kyle Lowry’s last one in a Toronto jersey. Trade talks to move him are serious and three major suitors — Miami, Philadelphia, and the L.A. Lakers — are all involved, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. It’s unknown if Lowry himself has a strong preference among those teams (going home to Philadelphia, pairing with his friend Jimmy Butler, or joining LeBron James) or if he’s good with any of those and just wants Toronto to get the best deal.
March 25, 8 a.m.: Bulls, Pelicans talked (talking?) Markkanen for Lonzo trade
In the last 24 hours, the Bulls have emerged as a possible — maybe the most likely — landing spot for Lonzo Ball. The Pelicans and Bulls have talked about swapping restricted free agents to be: Lauri Markkanen for Ball. That according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago:
Markkanen is different. There is interest in him, and the Bulls have had talks with the New Orleans Pelicans centered on Ball. How rich of an offer [Bulls VP Arturas} Karnisovas is willing to make for a player who, like Markkanen, can be signed to an offer sheet in restricted free agency will be revealed by Thursday’s deadline.
Ball wants to be paid like a starting point guard, a deal he hopes will start around $18 million a year or more. Do the Bulls want to spend that much on Ball? How does Ball fit with Zach LaVine? A lot of questions to answer in Chicago, and New Orleans has to decide if it wants to take the chance Markkanen can stay healthy and is worth keeping as a floor-spacing big next to Zion Williamson. Just something to watch.
TRADE: Pistons to trade Delon Wright to Kings for Corey Joseph and picks
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news, here’s how it shakes out:
Detroit gets: Corey Joseph, the Lakers 2021 second-round pick, Detroit’s 2024 second-round pick.
Sacramento gets: Delon Wright
Analysis: Sacramento turns out to be buyers, not sellers, at the deadline as reports are they want to make a play-in/playoff push over the final months of the season. The Kings add some quality guard depth with Wright, who is averaging 10.5 points and 5.1 assists a game, and more importantly is shooting 35.6% from 3-point range. Detroit picks up a third second-round pick in the 2021 draft. Joseph could be a mentor to Killian Hayes (both De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Halliburton praised Joseph), and if they don’t want to keep Joseph around he is only guaranteed $2.4 million for next season.
March 24, 10:45 p.m.: Pacers are not trading Malcolm Brogdon
The Indiana Pacers may have tested the market for Malcolm Brogdon, just to see what they could get if he were available, but after looking at the market, Indiana has decided not to trade Brogdon, reports J. Michael at the Indy Star. It always seemed unlikely a deal would get done, although don’t be shocked if it is revisited this offseason.
March 24, 8 p.m.: Andre Drummond may be headed to Knicks, not Lakers
While the Cavaliers will drag this out through the trade deadline just to be sure, Andre Drummond will be bought out soon after and become a free agent. It has been assumed for a while now that Drummond — after being on a series of uninspiring teams in Detroit and Cleveland — would sign with LeBron and the Lakers to be part of an expected deep playoff run. However, the Knicks have become a “serious potential destination” for Drummond, reports Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer.
In New York, Drummond would likely start and split time with Mitchell Robinson, that rotation would continue into the playoffs. Also, the Knicks have a lot of cap space and could sign him to a new contract next offseason (there are rumors of a four-year, $60 million offer, which would be more than most would offer him). With the Lakers, Drummond’s playoff role would likely shrink the deeper the team went into the playoffs — Anthony Davis will get more time at the five as the Lakers get into the later rounds — and Los Angeles will not have the cap space to offer much of a contract next season. It comes down to what Drummond prioritizes (and for a lot of players it is not always rings).
March 24, 7:15 p.m.: Minnesota still in mix for Aaron Gordon… if he gets traded at all
From earliest rumors about him being on the move, Minnesota has been one of the more relentless teams in trying to trade for Aaron Gordon. Boston is now the frontrunner to land his services and other teams — such as Houston, Denver, and Dallas — have been in the mix, but Minnesota has always been there. They are still are, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times. How good a D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Gordon, Karl-Anthony Towns core can be is up for debate (that seems a defensive disaster), but the Timberwolves are in the mix.
Yesterday, Gordon talked about his frustration leading to a trade request to the Magic, but now he is having second thoughts and may want to stay in Orlando after all.
Houston’s Victor Oladipo sitting out tonight for personal reasons
The Rockets have been trying to trade Victor Oladipo but finding a lukewarm (at best) market for the services of the soon-to-be free agent guard. In the sign trade talks are still moving forward, Oladipo is sitting out the night before the trade deadline (no reason to risk injury). The Rockets are still in talks with several teams, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Contending teams turning their eyes to JaVale McGee
JaVale McGee has been “plan B” for several teams looking for a big man, and with the deadline approaching more teams are starting to talk in detail with the Cavaliers about a deal, reports Shams Charania at The Athletic. Expect McGee to be traded before the deadline, although where is still very much up in the air.
March 24, 2:45 p.m.: Lakers possible Kyle Lowry destination?
This would be an unexpected blockbuster: Adrian Wojnarowski said “don’t rule out the Lakers trading for Lowry” during ESPN’s Trade Deadline Show.
It’s really difficult to see how this trade comes together. Lowry is making $30 million this season and the Lakers are bumping up against the hard cap. In recent days, sources have told NBC Sports it appears the Lakers would entertain trading Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or Montrezl Harrell for the right deal. Lowry would be it, and the money works if the Lakers send Schroder, KCP, and their 2027 first-round pick to the Raptors. Toronto, however, might rather have Talen Horton-Tucker than the pick (the Lakers have shot down teams that have asked about Horton-Tucker so far). This deal seems a longshot, but it’s interesting.
March 24, 1:30 p.m.: Lonzo Ball to the Bulls? Probably not.
Lonzo Ball has been linked to the Chicago Bulls as a trade target for a while, and that has picked up some around the deadline, but an actual deal seems unlikely. First, league sources have told NBC Sports for a while that there are some Ball backers in the New Orleans front office and to pry him away would require a first-round pick, which is likely more than the Bulls would surrender. Second, the Bulls aren’t the only team questioning if they want to pay Ball starting point guard money next season and for a few years after. Ball may be traded by the deadline, but don’t bet on Chicago as a landing spot.
Boston, Orlando still talking Aaron Gordon deal — now without Marcus Smart
Not only would Aaron Gordon provide another shot creator for the Celtics, but he could also return them to a “we switch everything” defense, which is how the Celtics have looked best under Brad Stevens. But to do that, Boston needs to keep Marcus Smart. That’s the latest buzz, the sides are talking non-Smart trades.
Per source: Celtics talks with Orlando re: Aaron Gordon "still alive, but everyone does everything at last minute." Celtics offering first round pick and a young player – not Marcus Smart – and are trying not to include second pick in the deal.
— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) March 24, 2021
March 24, 11:30 a.m.: Add Houston to mix of serious Aaron Gordon suitors
Orlando is going to trade Aaron Gordon before the deadline — as he requested — and they are working hard to create a bidding war (why do you think there are all the leaks about a potential destination). The latest leak (via Zach Lowe at ESPN) is that the Houston Rockets have had serious talks with Orlando about a possible Gordon trade, one that would be heavy on draft picks. Denver also is interested but now showing the desperation of other suitors, reports Sam Amick at The Athletic. Boston remains the frontrunner to make a deal for Gordon.
John Collins more likely to remain in Atlanta than be traded
The Hawks have shopped athletic big man John Collins around, with Minnesota, Charlotte, and a number of other teams interested. But Collins made a plea Tuesday to stay with the Hawks, Atlanta has kept its price high, and other teams are backing off, reports Zach Lowe at ESPN. Collins doesn’t defend well enough to be a five, and the teams interested in him as a four know they can try to poach him this summer with a max or near-max offer for the restricted free agent. Atlanta would likely match that and the sides would talk sign-and-trade, but that route seems more likely now than a deadline deal.
March 24, 8 a.m.: Lakers not willing to part with Talen Horton-Tucker in trade
With LeBron James out with a sprained ankle and Anthony Davis still sidelined with his Achilles tendon/calf strain issue, the Lakers have dropped three straight. They could use some short-term help at the trade deadline (long-term, they will be fine if those two get healthy before the playoffs, as expected). The problem is teams calling the Lakers are asking for promising young wing Talen Horton-Tucker and GM Rob Pelinka is refusing to put him in deals, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.
The Lakers likely will land Andre Drummond on the buyout market, but that may be their only move if Pelinka will not part with THT.
March 23, 10:30 p.m.: Toronto talking Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell trades with multiple teams
We’ve known for a while that Kyle Lowry trade talks had heated up again. Philadelphia wants to bring him back home and pair him with Joel Embiid (once the big man gets healthy), while rumors say Lowry prefers to partner with his friend Jimmy Butler on a Miami team that went to the Finals a year ago. Those talks continue to be on the front burner, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, but neither the Heat nor 76ers are giving Toronto everything it is asking for. There is a reported divide in the Toronto front office about whether to trade the franchise icon, which is why it will ultimately come down to what Lowry himself wants.
Sources: Raptors discussing Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell deals on multiple fronts and those talks are expected to extend into Wednesday — and perhaps even Thursday. Philadelphia, Miami are interested in Lowry, but both have shown restraint in how far they'll go to get a deal.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 24, 2021
Powell would be a fantastic pickup, he has blossomed this season. Powell is averaging 22.8 points a game while shooting 44.6% from three since moving into the starting lineup, and he could help a lot of teams. There are reportedly a dozen teams at least kicking the tires on a Powell trade. He’s also a free agent this offseason and is going to get paid like a starter wherever he lands (Powell has a player option for $11.6 million but he is not going to pick that up and will hit the open market).
March 23, 8 p.m.: Raptors demanding Herro from Heat in any Lowry trade
The buzz has been growing that Kyle Lowry would rather head to sunny Miami and team up with Jimmy Butler rather than go home to Philadelphia. According to multiple reports, including Michael Grange of Sportsnet in Canada, the sticking point is Tyler Herro — the Raptors want him and the Heat don’t want to give him up. (Either Kelly Olynyk or Goran Dragic also have to be in the trade, or both if a couple Raptors players head from Tampa to Miami.)
The sticking point in a Lowry-to-Miami scenario is Tyler Herro. Miami is ok to give up 26yo Robinson, a pending RFA who might be pricy to sign; Raptors prefer 21yo Herro who is on 2nd year of rookie deal.
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) March 23, 2021
Lowry is a free agent after this season and is reportedly discussing terms for his next contract with the Sixers, Heat and the Raptors.
Denver looking for power forward help, discussing Aaron Gordon, Harrison Barnes
Denver quietly has been very active heading into the trade deadline — a team that feels it is one piece away is looking for that potential piece. Specifically, they are looking for help at the four and are talking to Orlando about Aaron Gordon (even if Boston is the frontrunner for him) and Sacramento about Harrison Barnes, reports Mike Singer at the Denver Post.
Bulls listening to trade offers for Lauri Markkanen
Lauri Markkanen will be a restricted free agent this summer and the Bulls likely don’t want to pay him what someone on the market will offer, so they are listening to trade offers, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. Markkanen is averaging 17.7 points, shooting 39.6% from three, and adds 6 rebounds per game. Health concerns surround Markkanen (he missed more than 30 games the past two seasons, and has played just 22 this season), among other questions about his game.
Buyout buzz: Andre Drummond likely headed to Lakers, LaMarcus Aldridge to Heat
The Cavaliers and Spurs are continuing to look for trades for their good-but-over-priced big men, however, it is improbable they find a deal for Andre Drummond (making $28.7 million) or LaMarcus Aldridge ($24 million). Most likely, both will be bought out. Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that Drummond is likely going to sign with the Lakers (Drummond is an upgrade over the current version of Marc Gasol), and Aldridge is headed to Miami (a team desperately in need of help at the four and backup five).
Houston will trade Victor Oladipo but Heat, Knicks staying away
Victor Oladipo has long made it clear he wants to be in Miami, but as the Rockets have looked to trade him, the Heat have had limited interest (they could just sign him this summer as a free agent), and the same is true with the Knicks, another team Oladipo has been linked to.
ESPN Sources: Heat and Knicks – w/ summer cap space – are reluctant to offer premium packages for Victor Oladipo, but market’s developed of capped-out teams bidding w/ young player/first-round pick combos. One thing’s become clear: Houston’s likely moving Oladipo before deadline.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 23, 2021
Oladipo almost certainly will be traded before the deadline. He is averaging 20.8 points a game this season but is inefficient (50.8 true shooting percentage in Houston, well below the 57 league average) and not the All-NBA player he was before his injury.
Boston Celtics reportedly frontrunners to land Aaron Gordon
Forward Aaron Goron has requested a trade out of Orlando, and now comes word from multiple sources that Boston is the frontrunner to land him and maybe Evan Fournier. That would likely mean giving up Celtics’ fan favorite Marcus Smart — their best point-of-attack defender — but you’ve got to give up something to get something.