The 2021 NBA trade deadline was as a lot concerning the offers that did not occur as those that have been truly accomplished.
Raptors star Kyle Lowry, thought of essentially the most impactful participant accessible forward of Thursday’s deadline, ended up staying in Toronto (effectively, Tampa, however you get it). The Hawks shut down the John Collins dialog fairly early. The Pelicans did not transfer Lonzo Ball. Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge are off to the buyout market.
Sure, there have been a lot of transactions on deadline day, together with one trade that concerned an All-Star heart. But it could be a stretch to say any deal drastically altered the championship image.
Does the shortage of blockbuster trades imply we have punted on our annual naming of winners and losers? Of course not. Let’s do that.
NBA trade deadline winners
Chicago made a number of trades Thursday, however the purpose the Bulls emerged as a winner is the addition of Nikola Vucevic. They needed to let go of Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. and two evenly protected first-round picks, however Vucevic offers their offense a very new factor.
The 30-year-old big man is within the midst of a profession 12 months that earned him an All-Star choice. He is able to scoring within the paint (third-most points on post-ups in 2020-21), because the roll man on pick-and-rolls (league-high 6.1 points per game) and past the arc (career-high 40.6 p.c on 3-pointers). Vucevic needs to be an ideal match alongside Zach LaVine.
Vucevic is considered one of 5 gamers in NBA historical past to have a season averaging 24+ factors, 10+ rebounds, and a 40+ 3P%
— Basketball Reference (@bball_ref) March 25, 2021
Does Vucevic make the Bulls a real contender within the Eastern Conference? No, probably not. But it is a successful transfer for a franchise that has participated in six complete playoff video games during the last 5 seasons. Not all the things needs to be title or tank.
Lou Williams jokes and Magic City
“Lemon Pepper Lou” was traded to Atlanta, which unleashed an avalanche of Twitter jokes. Get that order prepared, Magic City!
😒 It took the Underground Goat breaking NBA information and scoring over 15,000 factors within the league for the Hawks to understand what was good for them.
Welcome house, Champ. 🗣🗣🗣 pic.twitter.com/zC0R7rjaMa
— Magic City Kitchen (@magicitykitchen) March 25, 2021
Aaron Gordon was miscast as a No. 1 possibility for a Magic staff that has desperately wanted a famous person. He at all times appeared destined to be a terrific position participant who fills particular wants.
Well, this is his probability. Denver despatched out Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a 2025 protected first-round choose so as to purchase Gordon, who offers the Nuggets a flexible defender able to matching up with the Western Conference’s prime wings. (No one can cease guys like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, however Gordon is at the least constructed to problem them.)
Gordon must also profit from taking part in off MVP candidate Nikola Jokic on the offensive finish. Imagine Gordon recognizing up on the perimeter (43.5 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers this season) or slicing to the rim and Jokic discovering him for simple buckets.
It’s unclear how a lot Gordon will elevate the ceiling for a staff with actual expectations, however it is a worthwhile gamble for Denver.
Sam Presti’s ardour for draft picks
It could be good to like something as a lot because the Thunder’s normal supervisor loves future flexibility.
This is simply insane.
Oklahoma City now has a projected 34 draft picks over the subsequent 7 years.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) March 25, 2021
Terrence Ross’ Twitter account
Apologies to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, however these have been the very best tweets of the day:
Lol should you don’t chuckle, you cry 🤣🤣🤣
— Terrence Ross (@TerrenceRoss) March 25, 2021
NBA trade deadline losers
Danny Ainge and the Celtics
Let’s be clear: Newly acquired taking pictures guard Evan Fournier ought to assist the Celtics. He is averaging almost 20 factors per recreation and presents Boston with a reputable creator behind Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker.
However, this was yet one more deadline that noticed Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge virtually get a game-changer. Boston was thought of the favourite to land Gordon as not too long ago as Wednesday, but he went to Denver. The Celtics additionally moved Daniel Theis in an obvious wage dump with out bringing in one other high quality heart.
But hey, at the least they’ll create one other trade exception that can assist them virtually snag somebody later.
Other factor with Evan Fournier addition: If Celtics do not re-sign him this offseason, they’ll have the flexibility to create…you guessed it…one other sizable TPE in a sign-and-trade since they get his Bird Rights as a part of the deal.
— Brian Robb (@BrianTRobb) March 25, 2021
It’s comprehensible that Orlando would wish to go for the complete teardown contemplating this model of the Magic peaked as a first-round punching bag and presently has the second-worst document within the East. There are some intriguing items right here to construct round — Carter, Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac amongst them.
If you actually lose three of your prime 4 scorers, although, you must be within the loser class. It’s going to be a tough last stretch for the Magic.
It definitely felt like Lowry had performed his last recreation as a Raptor on Wednesday night time.
Surprise! The biggest participant in franchise historical past is staying put.
On the floor, it feels as if the Raptors missed their alternative to get property again for Lowry, who is ready to enter unrestricted free company this summer season. Now there’s a probability he walks for nothing.
So, why maintain him? Toronto president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri did not discover “a package that compelled him” to trade Lowry, and Lowry was “fine” with the thought of taking part in out the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. It’s attainable that Lowry re-signs with the Raptors or agrees to a sign-and-trade situation within the offseason. The relationship between Lowry and the entrance workplace is clearly strong.
We’ll put the Raptors down as tentative losers (partially as a result of ready that lengthy for nothing to occur was annoying).