Two of the biggest names that were supposed to be on the move – Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo – actually ended up moving on, while the biggest name that would have been available, Kyle Lowry, ended up sticking with the Toronto. Raptors until at least the end of this season.
A total of 16 transactions were made throughout the day. To help better understand these trades so far, here’s a look at the winners and losers of this year’s trade deadline.
Raptors de Toronto
As the deadline approached, all eyes were on the Raptors as they seemed to hold the keys to everything with two of Lowry and Norman Powell’s most controversial business goals.
There has been a lot of debate among Raptors fans as to why they should sell and trade these two players or just stand and keep them both, and what the club ended up doing was actually a combination. both.
As mentioned above, the Raptors ultimately decided to keep Lowry, but before that, they chose to return Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr.
It sounds like a half-measured approach from the Raptors, but looking holistically at both deals, you’ll understand why making those two decisions will ultimately point the team in the right direction.
Because the Raptors were mired in a nine-game losing streak before their win on Wednesday night, the natural reaction as the deadline approached was that the Raptors were going to be sellers because their season was already running out.
But as they entered deadline day as the Eastern Conference’s No.11 seed, they are also just 1.5 games behind No.10 and last place. of the play-in tournament. Not to mention, this losing streak they suffered was mainly due to the fact that the team had been decimated by COVID protocols and was not entirely indicative of the club’s real potential.
And that’s why the Raptors’ moves on the deadline are positive. The idea that the Raptors were going to sell and tank was never on the table because they are a team that have seen themselves as a competitive club all season and there was no way they would turn. towards the tank.
And so, in that sense, keeping Lowry was appropriate. Toronto played hard with any forfeit for Lowry because nothing they’d get in return could match his productivity anyway.
Yes, the Raptors will still have to deal with that this offseason when he is a free agent, but they will have his Bird rights and the option to re-sign him will remain.
As for Powell, he was still the candidate most likely to be on the move as the nature of his contract made it easier.
With him also likely to be a free agent this summer at a price that Toronto likely wouldn’t be able to afford, the Raptors had to step up and take one in an effort to get things back on track this season and for their future.
The acquisition of Rodney Hood and his unsecured contract gives the Raptors, in essence, a free look at a player who has shown potential in the past and who brought Gary Trent Jr. gives the Raptors a dynamic shooter and goalscorer – who is similar to Powell in many ways, and still on his rookie deal.
Add in the other two trades the Raptors made – giving Matt Thomas to the Utah Jazz and Terence Davis to the Sacramento Kings, both for second-round picks in moves that replenish some of their draft picks and potentially open up a pair of spots. in the list. Be a player in the buyout market – and you’ve got a good deal from the Raptors.
It hasn’t fixed the hole they still have in the middle, but it’s a deadline that gives this current group a chance while opening up some future flexibility.
The Bulls are the big time winners because of the big move they made for Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic, as well as the underhand deal they made with the Boston Celtics for Daniel Theis.
Chicago has not made the playoffs since 2017, but is looking to remedy that situation this season with its big move to two-star Vucevic, whose combination of post and perimeter skills to add another layer of lethality to a Chicago offense which includes a core of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Coby White.
Better yet for Chicago, Vucevic is on contract until 2022-23, so he also thinks he’s a big part of the Bulls’ future, and all it cost them was the young great Wendell Carter Jr. – whose game is like a younger, less mature version of Vucevic – the expiring contract of Otto Porter Jr, and two first-round picks which the team intends not to enter in the lottery.
And then, by adding Theis, a great defensive center who can knock down the occasional three, the Bulls fixed one of their major weaknesses inexpensively.
The biggest business impact of the day is the acquisition of Aaron Gordon by the Denver Nuggets.
Denver had to give up a promising player to Gary Harris to make it happen, but given Harris’ health issues, the risk seems like it was worth it as you now have a talented Denver squad adding a great athlete and point guard. of play in Gordon’s frontcourt. .
The imagination can go wild thinking what kind of lob combination Nikola Jokic could be for Gordon, and Jamal Murray now has another greats who knows how to locate shooters and cutters.
And in a separate trade, the Nuggets struck a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers for JaVale McGee for a pair of future second-round players. McGee isn’t exactly a game-changer, but he’s a guy with championship experience and the numbers to be a veteran needed for Denver’s playoff push.
Lou Williams is heading to the Atlanta Hawks and, more importantly, will essentially be right next to the Magic City Gentlemen’s Club, renowned for their famous chicken wings and a Williams favorite.
Rajon Rondo, who seems like a needed voice in this locker room, returns the other way around to the Los Angeles Clippers in this trade, but the real big winner in this deal is certainly Magic City.
Business will be booming.
While it’s expected, the teardown of the Magic on deadline day that saw them swap Vucevic, Gordon, and Evan Fournier is still disappointing.
The return the Magic got in each of those deals was okay – except maybe just getting a pair of second-round picks for Fournier – and it’s true that it’s a team that has been spinning its tires ever since. a little while before falling off a cliff this season, but anytime a professional sports organization feels the need to step back and swap all of their centerpieces in an effort to start over, it’s never a good new.
The Rockets managed to trade Victor Oladipo just as the deadline struck, but the comeback they got for him was pitiful.
Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a choice swap that will probably never come to pass just isn’t good enough.
But as bad as it gets, the real reason the Rockets are losing at the deadline is because maybe that’s all Oladipo could have gotten them anyway.
Oladipo hasn’t been in close proximity to the same player he was after suffering a quad tendon rupture in his knee a few seasons ago and the Rockets should have known that when they initially acquired him and not Caris LeVert in the James Harden accord at the start. of the season.
Harden, of course, put Houston in a precarious position, but they had the option to take LeVert from the Brooklyn Nets or Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers and chose the latter.
And what you saw on Thursday is the sad result.
The very first trade made on deadline day was a minor deal between the Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons as the Pistons traded Delon Wright for Cory Joseph and a pair of second-round picks.
Although small in the NBA scale, this deal could have big implications for the Canadian Men’s National Team as his contract is not guaranteed for next season, it is highly likely that Detroit will give him up in the offseason. , making him a free agent.
It would be problematic for Canada Basketball because guys usually want to take care of their professional situation before they make the national team.
Olynyk will also become an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning Team Canada may not have two of its most senior members for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Victoria.
Great Kyle Lowry Scrum
On Wednesday night, when so much was uncertain about his future, Lowry held court with the media for just over 23 minutes.
It was spectacular and had an air of purpose.
Well, Lowry is still a Raptor for now, so what are the chances that such an epic press conference will happen again anytime soon?
Probably quite thin.