The NBA Trade Deadline Day concluded yesterday with a lot more action than expected. In the end, Kyle Lowry is still a Raptor, but we had a few very surprising moves. These are the teams that did the best job yesterday and are set to make some noise:
They got: Nikola Vučević, Al-Farouq Aminu, Daniel Theis, Troy Brown.
They sent out: Wendell Carter, Otto Porter, Daniel Gafford, Chandler Hutchinson, Mo Wagner, and two-second round picks.
The Bulls are the ultimate winner of the Trade Deadline, as they managed to make the once great franchise relevant again, pairing Zach LaVine with Nikola Vučević, forming an All-Star duo in the Windy City. They were already in the playoff hunt, and adding Vučević gives them a major boost to locking down their first playoff appearance since 2017. To add to that, they got an excellent backup center in Daniel Theis and solid rotational wings in Aminu and Brown.
When you look at what they had to give, you can say Chicago got off pretty good. The biggest piece they traded is Wendell Carter. While Carter is a promising center, the Bulls want to win now, and the established Vučević is a much better player for instant results. Even more importantly, they managed to get Porter’s huge contract off the books without a buyout, so they have much more flexibility in the future. They sent out a few younger players and second-round picks to go along with them, so in retrospect, the Bulls improved significantly, and they are poised for a playoff appearance the city of Chicago deserves.
They got: Victor Oladipo, Nemanja Bjelica.
They sent out: Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Maurice Harkless, Chris Silva, and 2022 NBA Draft Swap Rights.
Pat Riley did it again. In the last moments of the deadline, Riley managed to snag away Victor Oladipo for cents on the dollar. Everybody thought Duncan Robinson or Tyler Herro were gone for sure if the Heat made a trade, but they managed to keep both and send out two veterans in Bradley and Olynyk. The already serious team got even deeper as they have a bunch of perimeter players in the likes of Dragić, Nunn, Herro, Oladipo, Butler, and Robinson. To add to that, the Heat finally filled that dreaded power forward position with a proven player in Nemanja Bjelica. If all their guys are healthy come playoffs time, Miami is set for a run.
They got: Aaron Gordon, Gary Clark, JaVale McGee.
They sent out: Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, Isaiah Hartenstein, a first-round pick, and two-second round picks.
We all knew Aaron Gordon was going somewhere, and Denver managed to snatch away the athletic power forward and give Jokić a new frontcourt mate. The Nuggets had to part ways with two good young players in Harris and Hampton, but this move will definitely put them on a new level, as they want to make some noise in the playoffs. Gordon is an upgrade over Millsap, and if he manages to fit into the system, committing to doing what the Nuggets need it will be a great deal. Swapping Hartenstein for McGee was also an upgrade. JaVale is a proven player and champion that will add a whole other dimension to the game when Jokić has his rest. With all the mess at the top of the West, Denver could sneak their way up the rankings.
Los Angeles Clippers
They got: Rajon Rondo.
They sent out: Lou Williams and two-second round picks.
Now, this is a straightforward trade, but a move that will possibly save the Clippers’ season. The Clippers were rumored to want Rondo in the off-season, but they struck out. In the end, they got him, and with good reason. The Clips badly need a floor general that will orchestrate a sensible half-court offense. Beverly and Lou are not really traditional point guards, as the Clippers’ main struggle was getting Kawhi and George easier opportunities to score. Lou Williams was great for them, but he has not been on his usual level during this season and is proven to be a limited playoff performer. With Rondo, the Clippers will get a much more balanced and organized offense that will thrive in the playoffs when “Playoff Rondo” shows up.