NBA trade deadline winners and losers: Lakers and Celtics fall short; Heat finesse Rockets for Victor Oladipo


The NBA trade deadline has passed, and there was a flurry of movements throughout the day cry out for analysis. The biggest surprise was veteran guard Kyle Lowry not be movedAfter the Heat and Lakers were rumored to be the two teams discussing trade packages with Toronto, the Raptors finally felt holding on to him was the best play.

In other parts of the league, some teams filled in the gaps while others darted for the hurdles in hopes of making a run for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Most of these deals have yet to be finalized by teams, but with the general framework in place, we can step back and see who the winners and losers are once the dust has settled.

Winner: Miami Heat

When the bell rang, the Heat managed perhaps the trade of the day, facing former All-Star guard Victor Oladipo in exchange for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a draft change. Miami was in talks to trade for Lowry, but that didn’t materialize, so Pat Riley and the Heat’s front office came out and landed a dynamic scorer to pair alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in the starting lineup. The best part is that they didn’t have to give up substantial pieces, like Duncan Robinson, to get the trade done.

Miami had a bit of a spike lately before losing four games in a row and facing a slow start to the season due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols. Adding in Oladipo, who is averaging 20 points, five rebounds and four assists per game, makes the Heat even more dangerous this season. It will also give Miami a chance to assess how well the two-time All-Star fits into its system before making any kind of long-term commitments to him in free agency this summer.

It’s incredibly disconcerting that Houston couldn’t get a better return from Oladipo, who despite an inconsistent comeback from various injuries, is still averaging near his career highs this season. It’s surprising not getting any of Miami’s youth, or a better pack from other suitors. Houston was cornered with a difficult decision to make, with Oladipo ready for unrestricted free agency and free to sign with any contender in the summer. That said, it appears the Heat simply ripped them off on this deal. To make matters worse, it was a long time ago when the Rockets traded James Harden to Brooklyn earlier this season, instead of including other teams in the deal. Houston could have stayed with Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. LeVert is under contract through 2023, and while Oladipo has the best résumé, the Rockets would likely still have LeVert today if they didn’t include other teams in that deal.

Here’s how the Harden trade for Houston finally worked:

  • Rocket Exchange: James Harden
  • Rockets get: Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, late first-round picks, pick changes

One of the first trades of the cutoff day involved the Magic franchise centerpiece shipping Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu to the Bulls for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter and two future first-round picks. He was completely out of left field, considering that of all the players discussed as trade candidates on the Orlando team, Vucevic was the least likely to happen without a substantial return. Well here we are, and Chicago scores great to pair alongside All-Star Zach LaVine, whose side-by-side fit couldn’t be better.

Imagine all the pick-and-pops that will take place between these two, and the looks Vucevic will get from LaVine when he passes out of the post. The move gives Chicago another dynamic scorer on offense and provides a change of scenery for Carter, who has been hampered by injuries in his three seasons. Chicago sacrificed almost nothing to achieve it. On top of that, the Bulls traded Celtics big man Daniel Theis to bolster the defensive front court and added a role player in Troy Brown through a trade with the Wizards. Chicago is currently in 10th place in the East, with just two games separating them from the Hawks, who are in 7th place. The additions they made today will certainly help them get into the top eight in the East for a postseason push.

Loser: Boston Celtics

In the final days leading up to the trade deadline, it seemed like a trade from Aaron Gordon to the Celtics was a sure thing. Both sides wanted it to happen, with Gordon putting Boston at the top of their roster of destinations and the Celtics saw it as a much-needed boost to make them legitimate contenders in the East. However, Gordon ended up with the Nuggets and the Celtics ended up acquiring Evan Fournier in the process. It’s not a terrible series of events, but it’s not exactly the player Boston probably had in mind to use that huge $ 28.2 million trade player exception he had with the offseason signing and trade of Gordon Hayward. Fournier is a takedown shooter and it will be a jolt of energy from the bench for Boston, but this was another trade deadline filled with big statements made by Danny Ainge that were again not met.

Winner: Atlanta Hawks

In the last 10 games, the Hawks are 8-2. and they pushed into the playoff image as they have recovered healthy players from injuries. They look like the team many were hoping they would enter the season, and new coach Nate McMillan has this team playing with a new sense of urgency and fire. One of the areas this team lacks, however, is bench scoring. Atlanta is averaging the second fewest bench points this season (31.2), and by trading for three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Lou Williams gives them the boost they need in that second unit. It will also take some of the offensive workload off Trae Young’s shoulders, as Williams can command the bench unit and get his own buckets. The only thing Atlanta had to give up was Rajon Rondo, and in the process they were able to secure future second-round picks from the Clippers. Sounds like a good deal from the Hawks.

Loser: Los Angeles Lakers

If it’s the Lakers, at the end of the day, the biggest acquisitions will be getting Anthony Davis and LeBron James back to health before the playoffs start, but he can’t help but scratch his head for the reason. Second-year player Talen Horton-Tucker was not included in a commercial package to get Lowry. Yes, THT has been pretty solid for the Lakers and has become a fan favorite, but I’m not sure why the Lakers are so adamant about not offering it in a deal that would be awarded to them by a smart guard like Lowry, who immediately it would improve your performance odds of winning consecutive championships.

The Raptors decided to be stingy and accept nothing less than the asking price, so no one broke up with Lowry, although it was reported that teams that were in the race had to weigh the possibility of him being just a rental for a few months. before. reaches free agency. But if that meant winning another championship right now, the Lakers should have. The title window won’t be open for long and every move you make should keep the immediate future in mind. Horton-Tucker is a decent young player, but will he make a difference in the postseason like Lowry? Probably not. The Lakers may like their chances of signing him in the offseason when he will be a free agent, but it won’t be cheap and they won’t be the only team trying to make a deal with him.

Winner: Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets gave up Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a pick for Aaron Gordon to start the trade deadline, which should be a win in itself as they didn’t have to give up any centerpieces to catch him. Offensively, Gordon will benefit greatly from being surrounded by guys like Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who can put him in a position to get easy looks. But defense was the real reason this move was made. At 6-8, 235 pounds, Gordon offers great versatility on the defensive side of the ball. He’ll be incredibly useful when the postseason rolls around and Denver is stuck having to tag guys like Anthony Davis. Gordon at least offers a suitable option for that task, and will also give the Nuggets another offensive weapon.

Winner: Gary’s name makes headlines again

Yes, we are talking about old-fashioned sounding names. For much of the 20th century, Gary’s name was among the top baby names for boys in the U.S. According to the Social Security Administration, Gary was number 14 in the 1940s, number 12 in the 1950s and 26th in the 1960s. The name ranked 174th among boys born in the US in the 1990s, so it’s no wonder there are only three NBA players current names, all of which were redeemed at the deadline.



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