Pearce’s NBA Trade Deadline Roundup

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Keith Allison

Vicotor Oladipo in a Pacers vs Wizards game on 3/17/18 (Image via WikiMedia Commons)

By Ethan Pearce, Assistant Sports Editor

 

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, and with it we now have finalized rosters for the rest of the season, pending the wrap-up of the buyout market. This year’s deadline was the most active in the history of the league, with 16 trades involving 23 teams and 46 players, the most ever in each of those categories. We saw quite a few teams fortify their rotation for a playoff push, one blow it all up, and another give us the pump fake of the season by deciding not to make the rumored blockbuster deal. Here are the biggest moves of deadline season:

Vucevic to Chicago

The Chicago Bulls made perhaps the most surprising move of the day, trading Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr., and two first-round picks for Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu. Vucevic is a two-time All-Star and is in the middle of perhaps his best season as a pro at age 30. The Bulls saw an opportunity to add another star to their roster to pair with Zach Lavine and took it, cementing themselves as a mid-tier playoff team in the Eastern Conference. Two first-round picks is some nice value back for Orlando, and they jumpstart their rebuild by fully committing to a tank for the rest of the season.

Magic Blow it Up

Beyond trading Vucevic, the Magic also moved Evan Fournier to the Celtics and Aaron Gordon to the Nuggets. They got multiple draft picks, a slew of young players, and turned their attention to player development after being tired of being stuck in the middle of the playoff race. By committing to a hard reset, Orlando raises their ceiling as a team. They get a chance at the number one pick this summer, grab a couple more lottery choices, and attempt to build through the draft over the next few seasons. A young core of Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba, Cole Anthony, Chuma Okeke, Wendell Carter Jr., and RJ Hampton is pretty solid, and coupled with a few more draft picks, we could be looking at a really strong up-and-coming team.

Raptors Pump Fake the League

Everything we heard for the last 24 hours before the deadline was that Toronto was going to move Kyle Lowry. He walked off the floor the previous night with tears in his eyes, waving to the camera in what was increasingly seeming like his last game as a member of the Raptors. However, GM Masai Ujiri stood tall, not liking the offers he was getting, and chose to keep Lowry past the deadline. The Lakers, Heat, and 76ers were locked in a bidding war for the All-Star point guard, but ultimately none of them were willing to meet the high price point. Toronto did decide to trade Norman Powell to Portland, grabbing Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr. in the process. The Raptors are struggling at the moment, and the future looks murky for this core. They have a strange mix of veterans and young guys, and it remains to be seen how Ujiri will retool this roster to get them back to a championship level. For now, Lowry remains with the team, at least through the end of this season.

Rockets Trade Oladipo for Nothing

Victor Oladipo was a key part of the James Harden deal from earlier this year, with Houston electing for the former All-Star rather than Caris LeVert when trying to rebuild this roster. Just months later, Oladipo was traded for a pick swap that will likely not convey: Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley (who are just there to match salary). That’s basically nothing in return for a key piece they obtained when trading away a former league MVP. Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has made it clear he wants to lower his roster’s payroll, and moves like this show that he is far more concerned with finances than putting a competitive basketball team on the court. Meanwhile, Miami gives up nothing in order to bring in someone who can help them in their postseason run, and they will likely re-sign Oladipo this summer. 

Other than that, there were a lot of smaller moves made to round out rotations, including Philadelphia acquiring George Hill from OKC, the Clippers grabbing Rajon Rondo from the Hawks for Lou Williams, and the Kings trading for former Runnin’ Ute Delon Wright from the Pistons. The trade deadline is always one of the most fun parts of the NBA season, and this year was no exception.

 

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