The NBA trade deadline is one of the most exciting days in the NBA season as we see blockbuster trades that change the league for years to come. This season was no different with all stars changing teams and draft picks being flipped. The first major trade of the deadline was the Magic signaling to the NBA that they were blowing it up.
Bulls get: Nikola Vucevic, Al-Farouq Aminu (A)
Magic get: Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., Two future first-round picks (B)
Bulls got their guy in Vucevic and added a defensive wing in Aminu to gear up for a playoff push without losing too much value in WCJ and Otto Porter. The 2 firsts might come back to haunt them if they can’t win some games but the Bulls are positioned to be good for the foreseeable future.
Orlando got good value back for Vucevic in Wendell Carter who is still a solid young player with room to improve. The first-round picks help with the youth movement as well as helping jumpstart the rebuild.
Next was the Blazers shoring up the bench unit by trading with Toronto for guard Norman Powell.
Blazers get: Norman Powell (B)
Raptors get: Gary Trent Jr., Rodney Hood (B+)
Both Powell and Trent Jr. are due for new contracts but the Blazers are looking to contend for another title by gaining the better player. Powell can be an electric 6th man and Trent Jr. is a talented younger player the Raptors can use to rebuild their depleted roster. Hood also slots in as a good depth player with lots of playoff experience.
Overall this is one of the more confusing trades of the deadline but nonetheless, both teams appear to have gotten better in the now and in the future.
Up next we have the first three-team trade on our list which resulted in the Philadelphia 76ers getting veteran guard George Hill.
76ers get: George Hill, Ignas Brazdeikis (A)
Knicks get: Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, Two 2nd round picks (B)
Thunder get: Austin Rivers, Tony Bradley, Two 2nd round picks (B-)
The Sixers gave up Tony Bradley and 2 2nds for George Hill which is a huge win for the bench unit as they look to hold off the Nets over the second half of the season. The Thunder got some good assets out of the deal including Tony Bradley who has emerged as a talented young big. The Knicks also got some 2nds back for veteran guard Austin Rivers who was bought out by the Thunder. Not much else to say for this deal.
Next we see the Heat upgrading as they head into the final stretch of the season.
Heat get: Nemanja Bjelica (B)
Kings get: Moe Harkless, Chris Silva (C)
The Heat got the definite upgrade on the wing with Bjelica who is a career 38.8% shooter from deep. Being able to get him for essentially nothing is huge for Miami. While Harkless is a good player he isn’t a needle mover and Chris Silva is a G League player who hasn’t shown much promise. The Kings sold Bjelica for less than I thought they could have gotten. I was expecting at least some 2nds to be exchanged here.
The next somewhat important three team trade was between the Bulls, Celtics, and Wizards.
Bulls get: Daniel Theis, Javonte Green, Troy Brown Jr. (B+)
Celtics get: Luke Kornet, Moe Wagner (C-)
Wizards get: Daniel Gafford, Chandler Hutchison (C+)
The Wizards finally dumped off Troy Brown and the Bulls shored up their defense with Daniel Theis. The Celtics also got Moe Wagner for some reason. The Bulls won this trade by adding Theis for cheap. The Celtics are the biggest losers now without their starting center who’s being replaced by Tristan Thompson. The Wizards made pretty lateral moves here essentially making sure they don’t have to pay Troy Brown.
Up next the Hawks and Clippers swapped veteran guards.
Clippers get: Rajon Rondo (B+)
Hawks get: Lou Williams, Two 2nd round picks (C-)
The Clippers lost bench scoring with Lou Will but getting Rondo is huge for the playoffs. Atlanta gave up Rondo for a struggling Williams and some low end 2nd round picks. Overall the Clips are clear winners here by clearing some cap and getting a better veteran in return.
Up next the Mavericks added some shooting in return for some veterans.
Mavericks get: JJ Redick, Nicolo Melli (A)
Pelicans get: James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, 2021 second-round pick (C-)
The Mavericks got a steal here. Losing Johnson will hurt defense but Reddick and Melli’s shooting are instant offensive upgrades. Both will fit great next to Luka in the offense and both can be effective starting or off the bench. When the playoffs start expect Reddick to get significant minutes alongside the starters. I feel like they Pelicans could have gotten more than a low grade pick and Wes Iwundu for Reddick.
Then we have the Celtics gearing up for the post season by adding veteran depth
Celtics get: Evan Fournier (B+)
Magic get: Jeff Teague, Two second-round picks (C-)
This is a good move for the Celtics who needed to use their massive TPE somehow and bringing in Fournier is a great way to boost depth. Teague and two seconds is a great deal for Boston as they add a strong 6th man without losing any important players. The Magic however sold Fournier for very cheap. They definitely should have gotten more value out of the SG and the two 2nds won’t be very valuable moving forward. It certainly helps the tank job but otherwise this deal was a bit confusing for Orlando.
Now we have the most lopsided trade of the deadline.
Heat get: Victor Oladipo (A+)
Rockets get: Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, 2022 draft pick swap (D)
Miami got away with highway robbery. Oladipo is going to resign this offseason (barring something crazy) and Miami did not lose a single important player. Olynyk and Bradley are solid but neither is more than rotational players for a Miami team looking to make the finals again. Houston absolutely lost this trade because it means they traded James Harden for a bunch of picks and Kelly Olynyk. Houston gave up the last positive asset they had for scraps and now the future of the team is even more unclear than before. With most of the Rockets picks tied up in previous trades they don’t have much draft capital to improve the roster moving forward.
And finally, Denver goes all in on Aaron Gordon
Magic get: Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, Future first-round picks (C+)
Nuggets get: Aaron Gordon, Gary Clark (A)
The final trade I’m going to discuss is the Magic trading Aaron Gordon to Denver. This is a rare win now move from the Nuggets who haven’t made a win now trade like this since trading for Andre Igoudala in 2012. The Magic got decent value back for Gordon in a high upside young guard in RJ Hampton and draft compensation. Denver clearly won this trade by bringing in a player who projects to fit perfectly into the teams future plans.