NBA Trade Deadline Recap

The NBA trade deadline has passed, and with it has gone a day of absolute and utter madness. Blockbuster trades were made. Fans have sobbed and rejoiced. Chicago is a madhouse while Toronto and Orlando are bleak. The NBA world has, for the most part, gone crazy. So, to sort out the madness and bring some semblance of order and understanding to this mess, here is your 2021 NBA trade deadline recap, complete with trade grades and predictions.

1: Chicago trades Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter, two first-round picks for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu

As a Bulls fan, I cannot express how happy it made me to see the front office finally appear competent at their job. Overall, this was probably the most exciting trade of the day, since it deals (pun intended) with multiple first-round picks and a top 3 center. Chicago wisely dealt two underwhelming players and two draft picks that will likely become inconsequential, given that that arrival of Vucevic should bolster their playoff hopes tenfold.

On the other hand, Orlando fans have gone absolutely nuts, and reasonably so. Their team has apparently entered full rebuild mode, trading four of their five starters (see below for more details). In return, they have received some mediocre young talent and a few draft picks that likely will not be in the upper overall selection. If I were a Magic fan, I’d be very worried right now.

2: Orlando trades Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark to Denver for Garry Harris, RJ Hampton, and a first-round draft pick.

This trade was the best move Orlando made today (although that’s not saying much). Orlando sent Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark to Denver for more young talent and a few draft picks. In the second of their three deadline day moves, they have continued to clean house, making it apparent to all that the rebuild was in full swing. Not the best trade, but also not the worst.

3: Orlando also trades Evan Fournier to Boston for Jeff Teague and two first round picks.

Given the fact that Jeff Teague will not be reporting to Orlando and will likely be waived, the final trade is Evan Fournier for two second round picks. If I were Evan Fournier, I’d be offended. The Magic made the worst move of the day and sent their sniper guard to Boston, a legitimate contender, for next to nothing. The NBA trade deadline day has never felt so confusing.

4: The Clippers trade Mfiondu Kabengele to Sacramento for a protected second-round pick.

The Clippers really didn’t get much out of this trade. Barring a Sacremento finals run, the second round pick is basically useless, but they may have used the trade deadline as an opportunity to help locker room culture. A fairly meaningless trade but helpful for Sacramento, who has lacked depth and will now see the chance to improve with a bolstering of young talent.

5: Detroit sends Delon Wright to Sacramento for Cory Joseph and two second-round picks.

While it’s interesting that Detroit would trade away their starting guard, the move is hardly surprising, given that Detroit has a whopping 12 wins. Although the second round picks won’t be of much consequence, the addition of Cory Joseph should be of some help.

Interestingly, this move was quite similar to the Magic’s “cleaning house” trades and, accompanied by the Derrick Rose trade, we are beginning to see Detroit enter yet another rebuilding stage. They are fully focused on their young players and have the picks and players to prove it.

6: The Cavaliers trade Javale McGee to the Denver Nuggets for Isaiah Hartenstein and two protected second-round picks.

Trading for McGee gives the Nuggets some rim protection on defense, as he’s averaging 1.2 blocks a game. Denver ranks 11th in the league in points allowed in the paint (48.8), and adding McGee could potentially help with that. In 33 games with Cleveland, McGee averaged eight points and 5.2 rebounds while coming off the bench for the Cavaliers. McGee wasn’t getting a ton of consistent minutes with Cleveland, and being traded to Denver allows him to once again join a contending team.

Jasmyn Wimbish, CBS Sports

Denver is going all-in in their pursuit of big men to accompany MVP-favorite Nikola Jokic, and they pulled off an absolute fleece of a trade to do it. They have acquired a great big man and traded next to nothing for him. Trading for McGee and Gordon (see the other one above) prove that they are all-in for a title run. Best of luck, Denver fans.

7: Chicago deals Gafford and Hutchison to Washington for Wagner and Brown.

This trade seemed like the ultimate win-win for both teams. Chicago received some bench depth and a forward to trade (which they would promptly do, see below for more details), while Washington received the cheap, young talent they were desperately looking for. Neither Gafford nor Hutchison were playing with substantial minutes, so both should see ample opportunity to establish themselves as reliable bench players.

8: Sacramento trades Nemanja Bjelica to Miami for Moe Harkless and Chris Silva.

Another fairly inconsequential trade, but Sacramento has done an excellent job of improving their lack of depth.

9: The Raptors trade Norman Powell to Portland for Garry Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.

One of four blockbuster trades completed today, this trade sparked much interest in the NBA world. Powell has done extremely well this season, averaging 19, 3, and 2 as one of the best shooters in the NBA. The Raptors received two young players, one of which (Trent) is averaging a career-high 15 points per game, but this trade feels incredibly lopsided (ESPN). Raptors fans are stunned, and so am I.

10: 76ers trade Tony Bradley, Terrance Furguson, and two second-round picks to Oklahoma for George Hill. Furguson immediately delt to New York, who sends Iggy Brazdeikis to Philidelphia and Austin Rivers to Oklahoma City.

In the only three-team trade of the day, Philly sent two reserve players and two second-round picks and received veteran guards George Hill and Austin Rivers, who is reunited with his father in Philadelphia. Overall, this is another win-win (or win-win-win) scenario, since all three teams increase their depth and fill some of the weaker holes in their rosters.

11: Raptors trade for Terence Davis from Kings, deal Matt Thomas to the Jazz for second-round pick.

The Raptors have continued to make moves, receiving a certified scoring option who has been clearly replaced as a reserve through the previous Sacramento trades. Almost immediately after, Toronto made another move, this time trading Matt Thomas, one of the better reserve shooters in the league, to the Jazz and receiving a second-round pick in return. I don’t believe this move was especially helpful for the Raptors, who likely would have benefited more by keeping Thomas, but their attempts to pacify fans by making moves seem to have worked. Toronto hardly seems like the same team.

12: The Clippers trade Lou Williams, cash, and two second-round picks to Atlanta for Rajon Rondo.

I dub this trade an absolute win for the Clippers. They managed to trade money, a few second-round picks, and a rotational player for one of the best veteran point guards in the league. This helps fill the biggest hole in their roster: point guard. Reggie Jackson just hasn’t been cutting it, and the Clippers should prove to be especially formidable after this deal.

13: Hornets receive Brad Wannamaker from Golden State.

In a trade that was largely unimportant, the Hornets dealt a small amount of cash and received veteran guard Brad Wannamaker. Wannamaker’s presence should help fill the void left by ROTY candidate Lamelo Ball, who was recently injured and is expected to be out for several weeks.

14: Bulls trade Moe Wagner to Boston for Daniel Theis.

The Bulls pulled this one off in the nick of time, trading for veteran center Daniel Theis just before the trade deadline. I view this move as yet another win for the Bulls, who will receive a proven talent at the center position. Theis is now expected to rotate with Nikola Vucevic. A win-win for both teams.

15: Golden State trades Marquese Chriss to San Antonio for Cody Lalanne and cash.

After being unable to find a taker for veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs received a talented young small forward who should receive substantial playing time right off the bat. In return, they traded some money and Cody Lalanne, a veteran player who has done next to nothing in his six year career. This trade is a massive win for San Antonio.

16: The Dallas Mavericks trade James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu and a future second-round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans in return for JJ Reddick and Nicolo Melli.

JJ Redick was one of the best veteran shooters available on the market in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline and he will be moving on from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Dallas Mavericks after the two sides came to an agreement on a deal, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. Redick and Nicolo Melli will be joining Luka Doncic in Dallas while James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu and a future second-round pick will be heading to New Orleans. 

Jasmyn Wimbish, CBS Sports

JJ Reddick will be absolutely legendary next to Luka Doncic. This is a massive win for both teams, but the Mavericks really have gotten the better end of the deal. Look for them to continue their winning streak well into the playoffs.

17: Miami trades Kelly OlynykAvery Bradley to the Rockets for Victor Oladipo and a pick swap.

In the last blockbuster move of the day, Miami solidified themselves as contenders by receiving 2018 All-Defensive player Victor Oladipo, who, when not injured, has had an excellent season with Houston. Houston will, in return, receive veteran forward Kelly Olynyk and veteran guard Avery Bradley. Given the needs of both teams, this trade is not in the least bit surprising. Miami has several veterans and needs younger depth. Houston is loaded with young talent and needs veterans to lead. Both teams received what they needed, with a pick swap to boot. This was my favorite trade of the day.


Now that the deadline has passed, there will be no more trades for a decent amount of time, but this does not nullify the massive change this day brought to the NBA. The Bulls and Nuggets look like contenders, while the Raptors and Magic are in full rebuild mode. Man, I love the NBA. This day was awesome.