2021 Complete NBA Trade Deadline Breakdown
In the most active trade deadline in recent NBA history, a lot of teams at the top added more weapons to bolster their chances to take down the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers. According to Adrian Wojnarowski; sixteen trades went down involving twenty-three teams and 46 players!
Complete NBA Trade Deadline Breakdown
In one of the first trades at the NBA Trade Deadline, PJ Tucker got to move on from the struggling Houston Rockets and join the Milwaukee Bucks. The official trade involves the Bucks DJ Wilson and DJ Augustin the Bucks 2023 First-round pick (unprotected) and the rights to swapping the Bucks 2021 First-round pick for their 2021 Second rounder, PJ Tucker, and Rodions Kurucs.
I view this as a win for both teams. PJ obviously did not want to be in Houston for any longer, and the Rockets get the rights to essentially two first-round draft picks and a young wing they can take a look at in DJ Wilson. For the Bucks, Tucker will walk in and help out the team immediately. He can space the floor and knock down shots from the corner if his defender comes over to protect the paint. He thrived in this role with James Harden during his time in Houston and I expect Giannis and Middleton to be able to create similar looks for him.
Detroit Pistons Receive: Cory Joseph, 2021 Second Round Pick (Lakers), 2024 Second Round Pick
Sacramento Kings Receive: Delon Wright
I love the fact that Sacramento seems to be pushing their pieces to put another great player along with De’Aaron Fox. The backcourt of Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and now Delon Wright at the combo guard/three spot takes more defensive pressure off Fox and pairs him with another great shooter for the future. I am surprised the Kings did not move off of Buddy Hield at the deadline, there must not have been a big enough value for him.
The Detroit Pistons do what they can with this trade but it seems like they are essentially tanking this year away. Joseph will most likely end up having a backup role for them but can provide some veteran leadership to the young Killian Hayes. Two second-round picks in the future is always a nice icing on the cake as well.
Denver Nuggets Receive: JaVale McGee
Cleveland Cavaliers Receive: Isaiah Hartenstein, 2023 Protected second-round pick, 2027 Unprotected second-round pick
The addition of Javale McGee gives Nikola Jokic some much-needed reliable front-court depth that they have been missing since losing Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant. McGee immediately improves their locker room, by all accounts he is a great locker room guy with championship experience. I view this as a large victory for the Denver Nuggets, they only have to give up future second-round picks and Isaiah Hartenstein. Hartenstein is a highly skilled big man, who can stretch the floor, rebound the ball hard and hard to protect the rim. However, he is not going to be able to mirror the consistency and production you expect with Javale McGee.
For the Cavaliers, they add another strangely fitting big man to their team to pair their already weirdly built roster. Disappointed they were not more active with their other centers such as Jarrett Allen. I am not surprised they could not move Drummond, all signs have been pointing to him being bought out by the Cavs and joining a contender such as the Lakers or Nets. I hope Hartenstein gets a real shot at reserve minutes, something he has not had at any time during his stops in Houston and Denver. He is a player who I believe needs to play against the elite competition to work through some of his flaws.
The Bulls make a franchise-altering trade, without giving up too much. Nikola Vucevic is one of the most skilled big men in the league, someone who can create a shot for himself and his teammates. He is so skilled with his back to the basket and consistently finds cutting teammates with ease. I think this is a perfect addition for Zach LaVine and Coby White. Both guards thrive at getting to the rim off the dribble, and now their games can be opened up by Vucevic floor spacing and the ability to hit them on back door cuts.
I honestly am blown away by the Magic kicking off the deadline day by trading Vucevic, instead of the disgruntled Aaron Gordon. The Magic must have understood the writing on the wall, but I would have liked to see them try to trade Gordon for a piece to fit around Vucevic instead of blowing up their entire roster and “Fade for Cade.” The future looks bleak in Orlando, and I am not sure how it gets much better unless they are able to secure a transcendent talent in the draft.
Boston Celtics Receive: Evan Fournier
Orlando Magic Receive: Jeff Teague, 2 second-round picks
This is an interesting fit for the Boston Celtics. I personally do not see how he really fills an immediate need for them. The Celtics have highly skilled players that can play one through three in Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. Fournier will most likely be tasked with being the sixth man off the bench. In return, it will give their bench production a much-needed spark. The Celtics likely would have been better off going after Aaron Gordon harder, as he would walk in and immediately improve them.
With the Magic essentially handicapping themselves and clearly tanking for better draft picks, Teague most likely is not anything for them but a position filler. However, Fournier most likely walks at the end of this year. So, it’s good for the Magic to get some kind of asset for the 28-year-old averaging a career-high in points this year. The Magic also received a 17 million dollar credit for getting off this contract.
Denver Nuggets Receive: Aaron Gordon, Gary Clark
In the big blockbuster trade of the NBA Trade Deadline day, the Nuggets got some front-court help. I truly think this deal moves the Nuggets to the second-best team in the West. They give up a little guard depth to solidify their frontcourt to be able to match up with some of the most talented teams in the league and especially the Western Conference. I think this easily gives them enough firepower to go toe to toe with the Lakers, Clippers, and the Jazz.
The starting lineup of Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr, Aaron Gordon, and Nikola Jokic is a scary sight. They now have a perfect blend of size, athleticism, scoring, and finesse at all five positions. They now have a real athlete they can throw at players the likes of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. This roster is truly set up to be one of the best in the league. With this trade, I think they have a real shot to make a deep post-season run.
I believe Aaron Gordon is the ideal replacement for Jerami Grant, he is just as athletic and is not afraid to initiate the offense. He will not be tasked to run much of the offense here and will be primarily used as a slasher and cutter off of Nikola Jokic post-ups. This is the ideal situation for him. He gets to play off the ball and wait for gaps in the defense to explode to the rim.
Trading away their young guard prospect of RJ Hampton and Gary Harris hurts their long-term plans slightly, as Hampton has real potential to be a stud. He is an extremely young and explosive player, who is really growing into his athleticism and overall game. However, this might be a win for these two young guards who will clearly get plenty of playing time in Orlando.
This will probably go down as one of the least noticeable trades of the NBA Trade Deadline day. However, it is a little surprising the Bulls were that willing to get off of Daniel Gafford. Daniel Gafford is a 6’10 mobile center who is only 22 and has better potential than Mo Wagner in my eyes. The Bulls ended up trading Wagner to the Celtics later at the deadline for Daniel Theis. Gafford is a good prospect to bring over for the Wizards, hopefully, he gets a chance at big minutes.
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Norman Powell
Sending Gary Trent and Rodney Hood for Norman Powell is a great move for the Blazers. This gives them another weapon to throw at the guard/wing spot. Powell is a high-level defender and shooter, in the midst of his best shooting year. This should be a seamless fit with the Blazers, as he will give CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard another ball handler who can shoot the lights out of the ball.
For the Raptors, all signs were pointing towards a rebuild before they decided to hold onto Kyle Lowry. Gary Trent Jr ironically traded exactly like his father was, (same organizations involved and on the same number career game) should be a good guard pairing with Fred VanVleet in the future. Rodney Hood seems to be more of a contract filler, as the Raptors have a plethora of wing depth already.
In the only three-team trade of the NBA Trade Deadline day, veteran guards got traded all across the country. The Thunder begin to hoard more and more draft picks, bringing their total to thirty-four draft picks over the next seven years. Rivers is a real dog who can play alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or back him up. The pairing of them together should be a nice combination of shooting and attacking the rim from the guard positions.
The 76ers grab a veteran point guard who should help them tremendously in the playoffs. Hill has the potential to slow down the game and work the ball to the best shot on the floor, something Ben Simmons does not really thrive at. Simmons is an elite playmaker when going downhill, but struggles mightly when the game slows down. Hopefully, Hill and Simmons can play together in the clutch.
The Knicks grab the springy Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier (cut already), and the second-rounder from the 76ers. Ferguson has a chance to break the rotation with the Knicks sub-par guard depth. I view this as a victory for the Knicks, they do not handicap themselves with bad contracts and keeps their options open in free agency. An exciting future is ahead for this young New York Knicks team!
Miami Heat Receive: Nemanja Bjelica
In one of the most underrated trades on the NBA Trade Deadline day, this one might be the most important in the playoffs. Bjelica is an absolute sniper from behind the arc. He is a confident shooter who is not afraid of the big moment. He gives the Heat another Duncan Robinson-like player who should come in and immediately fill it up. Bjelica should be a good fit offensively and defensively Bam Adebayo should make up for his defensive struggles in the paint.
The Kings essentially get a look at Chris Silva and Moe Harkless before their deals expire at the end of the year. The Kings also are pretty deep at the forward spot but they could be moving off of Marvin Bagley as he (and his father) appear disgruntled in Sacramento. Kings fans might need to start drumming up what they can get for the young Bagley.
Toronto Raptors Receive: Future second-round pick
Utah Jazz Receive: Matt Thomas
The Jazz will take a chance on a young sniper in Matt Thomas. Thomas is a career 45.8 percent shooter from beyond the arc. He is a nice young guard you can have to learn behind some elite guard talent in Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell. This is an ideal landing spot for Thomas. Especially if he can get a few minutes and be able to space the floor for Mitchell while Conley rests.
Atlanta Hawks Receive: Lou Williams, two second-round picks, cash
Los Angeles Clippers Receive: Rajon Rondo
In another blockbuster trade on NBA Trade Deadline day, the Clippers get some much-needed guard help. Rondo will walk in and make this team better in the playoffs. “Playoff Rondo” is a real thing, he has shown time and time again why basketball knowledge can outplay skill. He knows how to set up superstars, keep the role players involved and create easy looks for himself. This trade might push the Clippers ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers especially if Anthony Davis is still banged up going into the playoffs.
The Mavericks get some much-needed shooting in JJ Redick and Nicolo Mello. Redick will have an immediate impact and likely fill the Seth Curry role from last year. It is evident how much the Mavericks miss his scoring off the bench and playing alongside Luka. This trade does not solve all of the problems for them. However, they are really missing someone who can come in and score and create for others off a live dribble.
The Pelicans were good to get a draft pick and Johnson for Redick as his contract expires this offseason. They also get a chance to take a closer look at Wes Iwundu, a 26-year-old wing. Johnson should be able to fill a backup forward role for them, however, he is an unrestricted free agent after this year.
Miami Heat Receive: Victor Oladipo
Oladipo finally gets his wish, getting to Miami. Victor had made it very clear during the end of his time with the Pacers that he wanted to be moved to Miami. Oladipo struggled on the depleted Houston Rockets. However, he did not seem to be to blame despite his subpar shot decisions. Oladipo makes the Heat even deeper at the guard position. He should be leaned on to make contributions on games during the playoffs.
The future looks quite awful for the Houston Rockets. They did not handle the NBA Trade Deadline well minus the early PJ Tucker trade. While Oladipo’s value was nowhere near where it was in the past, they should have looked to move off other players who might have value such as Eric Gordon and Danuel House Jr. A full rebuild looks to be in store for the Houston Rockets.
Boston Celtics Receive: Moe Wagner
Chicago Bulls Receive: Daniel Theis
The Celtics take a chance on Moe Wagner to fill their depleted center position and increasing the pressure on Robert Williams. On top of that, Williams did fill up the stat sheet for them in the first game following the trade. He got five blocks and also nine boards. The Celtics need to be going after Andre Drummond in the buyout market hard.
The Bulls grabbed Daniel Theis who will be a perfect fit behind Nikola Vucevic for them. He is a capable passer, floor spacer, and rim protector. Theis should thrive in a backup center position where he is not tasked with playing long hard minutes. These moves for the Bulls make them a strong contender in the East. However, I do not see them making a deep playoff push. It will be exciting to see the Bulls back in potential contention!
San Antonio Spurs Receive: Marquese Chriss
Golden State Warriors Receive: Cash
It seems clear that the Spurs only did this to have another forward/ center they can have in rotation with LaMarcus Aldrige getting bought out and joining the Brooklyn Nets. Another class act by the Spurs letting LaMarcus go chase a ring. Especially after the decent career he has had with the organization. What do you think the Warriors plan to do with this cash, who will they go after in free agency?
Charlotte Hornets Receive: Brad Wanamaker
Golden State Warriors Receive: Protected second-round pick
With LaMelo Ball going down with a likely season-ending wrist injury, the Hornets go after another young guard in Brad Wanamaker. The Warriors dealing Wannamaker is not a surprise after noting the development of Nico Mannion. The organization seems to have made it clear they are molding Mannion to be the backup guard to Stephen Curry who can still space the floor in a similar fashion.
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