Another NBA trade deadline has come and gone. After a slow start, there were a flurry of moves toward the 3 p.m. cutoff. Some of the notable deals Thursday include Aaron Gordon heading to the Nuggets, Victor Oladipo heading to the Heat, and Norm Powell to the Blazers. Elsewhere, the Clippers bolstered their backcourt with the addition of Rajon Rondo, while their cross-town rivals the Lakers stood pat. Perhaps most importantly, the biggest name on the market headed into Thursday, Kyle Lowry, is remaining in Toronto after a hot pursuit from the Heat, Lakers, and Sixers.
You can re-live all the madness with SI’s trade deadline blog, which recapped all the moves and rumors in real time.
3:49 p.m: What are the Rockets doing?
So I’m pulling out my calculator to tally up the Rockets’ player returns for James Harden.
The three best players in that blockbuster trade were Jarrett Allen, who ended up with Cleveland, Caris LeVert and Victor Oladipo. The Rockets initially got LeVert in the deal, but then opted to send him to Indiana for Oladipo.
Now the trade-deadline dust has settled, and Houston just traded Oladipo to Miami for … Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a pick swap. Wait? Is that it? Where’s the rest of it?
On some level, the limited return for Oladipo shouldn’t be shocking. He’s struggled this season under the weight of playing for a bad team. And there are very fair questions to be asked about his health going forward, as he prepares for free agency.
Still, this is a small, embarrassing return for the Rockets, who now have little to nothing to show when it comes to player returns from the Harden deal.
Moving on from a superstar is difficult. Rebuilds are tough on everyone. Coach Stephen Silas appeared to be moved to tears earlier in the week, after Houston lost a 20th-straight game. Effort is uneven at times, and blowouts are plentiful.
The Rockets may ultimately do just fine when it comes time to cash in the picks they got back for Harden. But ideally, a team gets something back as far as young, developing players back for someone of Harden’s caliber, too. And the fact that there isn’t that for Houston in this case is disappointing. It puts even more pressure on the Rockets to do well with the picks they’ll eventually use. — Chris Herring
3:48 p.m: Pat Riley!!!
3:35 p.m: Rohan's take on Oladipo/JJ Redick deals
Some moves trickled in after 3 p.m., with the headliner being Victor Oladipo being sent to Miami. This is an absolute steal for the Heat, who didn’t commit to an extension with Oladipo, and only gave up Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk—who became expendable after the acquisitions of Nemanja Bjelica and Trevor Ariza—in the deal. Oladipo still hasn’t been the same player since his remarkable 2018 season due to injuries. In Miami, he won’t be asked to carry a huge load next to Jimmy Butler. Perhaps playing a slightly smaller role for a contender will help rejuvenate him.
Under the radar, the Mavericks acquired J.J. Redick and Nico Melli from the Pelicans. It’s not an earth-shattering move, but Dallas is going to have a comical amount of shooting come playoff time.
3:32 p.m: Spurs and LaMarcus Aldridge are working on a buyout
3:11 p.m: Raptors will keep Kyle Lowry
3:09 p.m: Oladipo to the Heat!
3:00 p.m. Drummond will be bought out by the Cavs
3:00 p.m: Mavericks Acquire JJ Redick
The Mavericks opted for an extra dose of size and playmaking when they shipped Seth Curry to Philadelphia for Josh Richardson this summer. Richardson has made an impact in that regard thus far, with a stronger offensive output of late. And while Redick isn’t exactly a true substitute for Curry, he does provide additional shooting from the wing. Is this a piece that will vault Dallas to the top of the Western Conference? Not exactly. But an improving roster just gained a specialist piece with significant playoff experience. Don’t be shocked if Rick Carlisle leans on Redick in a key playoff moment. In a virtually no-risk deal, Dallas made a relatively shrewd pickup adding Redick.
2:35 p.m: Rapid thoughts on Rondo deal
So, I get it, Clippers. Me and literally the rest of the basketball world have been shouting at the top of our lungs: Go get a point guard!
You went and got one who’s been a floor general for multiple championship clubs — the last one, even! Rajon Rondo.
But you gave up Lou Williams and two picks and cash to get it done? For Rondo?
Maybe this was all they could realistically swing, and maybe it took someone like Lou, whose scoring—less efficient this year, anyway—you can do without if Kawhi and Paul George are doing their jobs as your lead options.
If Rondo brings the same play he displayed in the bubble last year, it’s great. If he’s not that, it’ll leave me wondering who else they could’ve gotten instead. Either way: Goodbye, Sweet Lou — may the wings at the club be ever in your flavor.— Chris Herring
2:29 p.m: Will Oladipo stay?
2:22 p.m: The Clippers and Hawks are finalizing a trade for Rondo
2:08 p.m: Kyle Lowry update
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania Kyle Lowry's preferred destination is the Heat but the Lakers are engaging in a deal.
Lakers offer: Dennis Schröder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but Toronto is holding out for Talen Horton-Tucker.
Heat package is centered around Duncan Robinson but Raptors want Tyler Herro.
1:20 p.m: Your 2030 NBA champions!
12:55 p.m: Warriors eyeing Danny Green
12:50 p.m: Notes on Aaron Gordon deal
A move to Denver should serve Gordon well after spinning his wheels in Orlando for the last few seasons. The Arizona product always felt a big misplaced in the Magic attack, forced into significant playmaking duties as Orlando shuffled through a deep collection of frontcourt players. The role didn’t exactly suit him well. Gordon is averaging 0.64 points per possession as a pick-and-roll initiator this season, racking up too many turnovers in the process. A move to Denver should allow Gordon to thrive as a spot-up shooter and diving role man, likely facing far less defensive attention than he did in Orlando. Nikola Jokic is the tide that raises all boats in Denver. Gordon should be the latest beneficiary of his brilliance. - Michael Shapiro
12:44 p.m.: Norm Powell to the Blazers!
12:43 p.m: George Hill is headed to Philly
12:40 P.M.: Wizards, Bulls Swap Reserve Forwards
This will not be the most exciting trade of the day, but every deal counts! The Wizards and Bulls are swapping a number of young reserves in a trade that sends forwards Troy Brown and Mo Wagner to Chicago for center Daniel Gafford and forward Chandler Hutchinson. Wagner has started 13 games for the Wizards this season averaging just over seven points per games while Brown, a first-round pick of Washington in 2018, has been exclusively a reserve, appearing in just 21 contests this season. The Bulls will send back their 2018 first-round pick, Chandler Hutchinson, who has struggled to get off Chicago’s bench this season and Daniel Gafford, a 22-year-old power forward/center, who was averaging 13 minutes off Chicago’s bench this season. This is a depth play for both teams with Washington trying to figure out what to do with its glut of wings and Chicago continuing to retool its frontcourt on deadline day. - Ben Pickman
12:40 P.M: Heat get Nemanja Bjelica
The Heat are finalizing a deal with the Kings to acquire forward Nemanja Bjelica, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Bjelica had been averaging a career-low in minutes this season (16.9) and is shooting a career-worst 29.3% from three this season with the Kings. But just last season, he averaged 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with Sacramento. Bjelica is also set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer putting little risk in the move. He had spent each of the past three seasons with Sacramento after playing his first three NBA seasons with the Timberwolves.
In return for Bjelica, the Kings are acquiring forward Moe Harkless, who has played just 11 games with the Heat this season after signing with them this past summer, and Chris Silva, a 24-year-old reserve center. - Ben Pickman
12:30 P.M: Full Gordon deal
12:23 P.M.: Incredible tweets
12:19 P.M.: Nuggets are close to acquiring Aaron Gordon
12:02 P.M.: Clippers want Rondo, Blazers out of Gordon race
11:30 A.M.: Celtics acquire Evan Fournier
Boston’s latest move isn’t exactly a game-changer in the chase for the Eastern Conference crown, but sacrificing a pair of second rounders for Evan Fournier is likely a worthwhile decision. The Celtics’s lack of rotation depth has been a problem all year, and there has been a palpable lack of playmaking for significant stretches of 2020-21. Kemba Walker hasn’t been the leading man Boston imagined. The Gordon Hayward departure has hurt more than many assumed. Fournier is a legitimate backcourt upgrade, one who could ultimately end up earning minutes with Boston’s closing lineup. Don’t be surprised if this is one of multiple deals from Danny Ainge before 4 p.m. ET. - Michael Shapiro
11:02 A.M: Vuc is headed to Chicago
Ummmm, wow. All along, we’d been hearing about the Bulls sniffing around for a point guard. Lonzo Ball’s name has come up repeatedly. Now they take a pretty sizable swing for an All-Star center in Nik Vucevic! Fascinating. He won’t come cheap, between the two first-rounders, and third-year big Wendell Carter, Jr., who’s struggled to stay on the floor, but whose game I still like quite a bit.
I have more questions for Chicago—namely, are the Bulls done making moves, and does a move like this spell the end for a floor-spacing big like Lauri Markkanen—but Vucevic certainly gives them a second dependable scorer to go with Zach LaVine. Which makes their offense less predictable, and more dangerous from a number of areas, given Vucevic’s shooting ability. - Chris Herring
10:30 A.M.: AG to Boston?
Aaron Gordon remains eager to be traded to the Celtics and would also welcome a deal to the Blazers or Nuggets, per @JaredWeissNBA.
SI’s Chris Mannix reported earlier that the Kings have no interest in selling low on Harrison Barnes.
10:02 A.M: JaVale is headed back to Denver!
The Nuggets are finalizing a trade with the Cavaliers for center JaVale McGee, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Isaiah Hartenstein and two future protected second-round picks are headed back to the Cavs, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. McGee, 33, has played in 33 games this season with Cleveland, averaging 15.2 minutes and 5.2 rebounds per game. While this marks a return to Denver—McGee was traded to Denver in the middle of the 2011 season and spent parts of four seasons with the Nuggets—he’s also set to become an unrestricted free-agent this summer.
In joining the Nuggets, he provides another veteran frontcourt presence to last year’s Western Conference runner-ups. Denver is currently 26-18 on the season, two games behind the Lakers for No. 4 in the conference. The team’s trade deadline day might not be over either as the Nuggets are among the teams who have had a previously reported interest in Magic forward Aaron Gordon. - Ben Pickman
9:55 A.M: Kyle Lowry trade rumors heat up!
The Lakers, Sixers and Heat are reportedly seriously engaged with Toronto about a Kyle Lowry trade.
Miami and Philadelphia have both been linked to Lowry for a while but seeing the Lakers in the running is interesting.
Honestly, how would the Lakers pull this deal off? SI's Michael Pina says L.A. could move Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder, a small contract and a future first-round pick (2027) to make a possible deal work. If they’re able to land Andre Drummond in the buyout market to take Harrell’s minutes, this would be quite the coup for the Lakers. If not, it’s unclear if it’d move the needle enough to lose an unprotected future first. (If you want to get really wild, the Lakers could ask for Norm Powell and include Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Talen Horton-Tucker.) Will be interesting to see what happens. - Michael Pina
12:00 A.M: Kings and Pistons make the first move
Rumors leading into Thursday
• The Raptors are in the midst of trade talks with multiple teams regarding a potential Lowry deal, though the Heat have emerged as the "frontrunner" for Toronto's point guard. (Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated)
• Boston's attention continues to be on Aaron Gordon, with the likelihood of a deal for Harrison Barnes fading. Kings have no interest in selling low on Barnes, believing he can be a key piece for a playoff push next season. (Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated)
• The Rockets will trade Victor Oladipo before Thursday's deadline, though the leading suitor remains unclear. (Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated)
• The Celtics are the favorites to trade for Aaron Gordon, though the Nuggets have also expressed interest. (Sam Amick, The Athletic)
• Houston has engaged in "serious talks" with the Magic regarding a potential Aaron Gordon trade, while Gordon himself is reportedly having second thoughts about his trade request. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN)
The Hawks are unlikely to trade forward John Collins before Thursday's deadline. (Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN)
• The Bulls are listening to suitors for forward Lauri Markkanen. (Sam Amick, The Athletic)
• The Clippers could target Lonzo Ball and Ricky Rubio as they attempt to upgrade at point guard. (Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated)
Stories to read
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