Baker's Dozen - Trade Deadline Recap

Trade deadline day has come and gone with a flurry of action, as nearly two-thirds of the league were involved in deals during the trade-deadline period. Let's dive right into the action and see who won and who lost out. 


Orlando Magic

The Magic finally realized that they had a barely-mediocre team that has snuck into the last two playoffs, only to be trounced out by a top seed in the East. Nikola Vucevic has obviously shown that he is an All-Star in the NBA, but he's simply not someone you can build a championship team around. The Magic were able to coax the Chicago Bulls into giving up two first round picks (2021 & 2023) as well as 2018 1st-rounder Wendell Carter Jr., while the Magic also threw Al-Farouq Aminu into the deal. The Magic then turned around and sent their 2nd leading scorer Evan Fournier to the Celtics receiving two 2nd-round picks in return as well as Jeff Teague, who has already been waived by the team. The Magic completed their off-loading when they sent Aaron Gordon across the country to Denver in exchange for a couple of 1st-round picks. To recap, the East's 2nd worst team was able to turn three of its best pieces into multiple draft picks (four 1st rounders & two 2nd rounds) and acquire a young talent in Carter Jr. 

Look for the Magic to build around their core of Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, Carter Jr., as well as a top-3 2021 draft pick, on top of a bevy of other young draft picks they've acquired. The Magic certainly could have done a lot worse on deadline day. 

Miami Heat

Orlando's interstate rivals Miami Heat had a decidedly different trade deadline day, but also came out as winners as they scooped up Victor Oladipo from the downtrodden Houston Rockets for valuable and streaky stretch-four Kelly Olynyk and long-past-his-prime Avery Bradley. The loss of Bradley isn't a big deal, as they already made a move earlier in the day to acquire Nemanja Bjelica from Sacramento for minor pieces Moe Harkless and Chris Silva. Bjelica essentially comes in and replaces the production Olynyk leaves behind, and at a significantly less cost. On March 17th, the Heat made a low-key trade and brought in Trevor Ariza in exchange for Meyers Leonard - who clearly didn't fit in with the rest of his teammates. 

Of course the key here is Oladipo, who hasn't had as bad a rebound season as most have thought - his averages are more than respectable through 29 games between Indiana/Houston: 20.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, 5.0 rpg & 1.3 spg. While his shooting numbers haven't been spectacular (41.1% FG & 33.3% 3P), they're only a little below his career averages. Oladipo has the ability to help the Heat get back into the NBA Finals, and prove that he's back to being an All-Star. 


Toronto Raptors

The Raptors were able to unload Norman Powell, Matt Thomas and Terence Davis during their tough season, but their biggest asset - Kyle Lowry - was not moved. There were multiple suitors (76ers, Lakers, Miami) but ultimately Masai Ujiri and the Raptors could not find the appropriate deal for the six-time All-Star. The Raps were able to secure two 2nd round picks and young asset in Gary Trent Jr., but missed out on an all-important 1st round pick for Lowry. At this point, it's difficult to see Lowry remaining in Toronto, as he will want to cash in on his last opportunity for a big deal in his NBA career, thus leaving Toronto with nothing to show for their franchise's all-time player. 

Lowry was one of the biggest names on the radar, during one of the busier trade deadline days in recent memory, and the fact that the Raptors were unable to gain any assets for him seems like a miss from a front office that doesn't miss too often. 

San Antonio/Detroit/Cleveland

It's not too often you see the San Antonio Spurs on the loser side of a column, grouped in with the likes of Detroit and Cleveland, but here we are in 2021. All three teams decided to try and move players while having them sit at home. LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin were all sent home (amicably) from their teams, and none of them were traded. And where does this leave each of the three teams? 


Not only did they not receive any assets for these players, but they had to pay most of their salary to go away. In what world does this make sense? Andre Drummond is one of the best rebounders of this generation, and his team couldn't find a willing trade partner. LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin are well past their primes, but it still seems reasonable that the Spurs and Pistons could have gotten something for them - anything! The fact that these teams sat their players and were unwilling to showcase their assets for trade bait just seems wrong. 

Around the Association...

Line of the Week: On March 26th, James Harden backed up his MVP claims with a monster performance in a 113-111 win over the Detroit Pistons, with 44 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, while hitting 12/14 free throws. 

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Check out previous columns:

March 7, 2021: All-Star Edition

Photo Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports