Busy NBA trade deadline shows teams moving in two directions

The NBA currently has 30 cities, but is looking to expand.

Photo via Creative Commons

The NBA currently has 30 cities, but is looking to expand.

Sam Tobiczyk, Staff Writer

The NBA Trade Deadline ended last week, with many deals going down across the league, and many high-caliber players being traded. 

On Thursday alone, 16 deals happened throughout the NBA. Teams like the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors decided it was time to end their current era of basketball and start a rebuild, with the Magic trading their top three players.

The most notable Magic player to be traded was center and two-time all-star Nikola Vučević. The offensive-minded center was traded alongside teammate Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls for young players Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter. The Bulls reinforce their team, which already has first-time all-star Zach LaVine and rising player Lauri Markkanen, to try to make a late-season playoff push.

Another Magic player, power forward Aaron Gordon, was one of the most sought-after players at the trade deadline. He was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Gary Harris, R.J. Hamton, and a first-round draft pick. Gordon gives the Nuggets more size around their star player Nikola Jokić to try to guarantee a top seed in the Western Conference.

The last Magic player to be traded was guard Evan Fournier, who was traded to the Boston Celtics for two second-round picks. Fournier should help the Celtics turn their disappointing season around as they try to make the playoffs again.

The Raptors, alongside the Magic, also made many trades, albeit on a smaller scale.

Their biggest trade on the day was trading away 20-point per game scorer Norman Powell. Powell was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for rising star Gary Trent Jr. alongside Rodney Hood. Powell gives the Blazers a consistent scorer and better defender than Trent. 

Two small trades by the Raptors were dealing guard Matt Thomas to the Utah Jazz for a second-round pick, giving the Jazz more three-point scoring, and trading guard Terrance Davis to the Sacramento Kings.

One player who was not traded from the Raptors is six-time all-star Kyle Lowry. Many speculated that he would be traded to contending teams like the Miami Heat or the Philadelphia 76ers, but no trade was made for him at the deadline.

The Heat did acquire two-time all-star Victor Oladipo, who was received from the Houston Rockets in exchange for defensive guard Avery Bradley and big man Kelly Olynyk. The Heat added Oladipo to try to make another finals run, similar to their run in the bubble last year.

The 76ers also acquired a player, veteran point guard George Hill. Hill was acquired in a three-team trade involving the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks. Hill adds much-needed three point scoring for the Sixers, a team that desperately needs it to make a finals push. 

Another important trade was between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks traded veteran All-Star Rajon Rondo for three-time sixth man of the year Lou Williams. Both players add depth to teams that are trying to make playoff runs.

Some smaller yet important trades also happened at the deadline. 

The Dallas Mavericks received veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick to add much-needed scoring to the bench. The Denver Nuggets added another big man, JaVale McGee. The Heat acquired another important asset in long-range sniper Nemanja Bjelica to add to their contending status. 

There were also trades involving the Golden State Warriors’s Marquese Chriss and Brad Wanamaker, the Celtics’s Daniel Theis, and the Washington Wizards’s Mo Wagner and Troy Brown. 

Other players who were expected to be traded but weren’t were Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, San Antonio Spurs seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, and Cavaliers two-time All-Star Andre Drummond. 

Overall, the deadline saw many important pieces moved, whether it was teams starting their rebuild, or teams trying to make important acquisitions to reinforce their playoff standings.