With the NBA trade deadline over, fans can finally take a breath. A multitude of big trades took place while some that seemed inevitable didn’t. Here, we go into the biggest winners and losers from the chaotic last day of trades.
Winners: Nikola Vucevic and the Chicago Bulls
In this trade, the Bulls were able to pick up an All-Star center in Vucevic and gave up very little to do so. They can now make a real playoff push and give Zach LaVine someone to rely on. Currently, they sit tenth in the East and face fierce competition to make the playoffs. However, by bringing in Vucevic who has averaged 21 points and nine rebounds, they can get some offensive prowess who can take the slack off LaVine.
Vucevic also benefits heavily from this trade. For years, he’s been keeping the Magic alive and within playoff contention despite having little support. However, now, he gets the chance to shine in Chicago and potentially be apart of a strong up-and-coming team. The 30-year-old is finally getting what he deserves.
Loser: Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic made some ghastly moves on the final day of the trade deadline. Three of their best players all left while they received very little compensation. An attempt to rebuild properly by getting rid of their strongest players has faltered and they’re now in a difficult position. First, a trade sending Evan Fournier to Boston in exchange for two second-round picks feels at the least unbalanced for a guard averaging just under 20 points.
Steve Clifford’s side also lost Aaron Gordon for a low price. Although Orlando got a young guard in RJ Hampton, they already have Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony who will likely hold the back-court positions for years to come. Overall, the Magic gave up some key pieces for various players and picks that don’t look like they’ll be significant in the rebuild.
Winner: Victor Oladipo
Oladipo was only on the Rockets for just under two months but looked unhappy in Houston from the start. Early on, he refused a contract extension and made clear he wanted out. The New York Knicks and Miami Heat each looked interesting in trading for him however no trade was made for a long period of time. However, very late into the last day of trades, an Oladipo trade was announced. The 28-year-old Maryland native would be heading to his first-choice team: The Heat. Miami were the clear winners of this trade. Now, he can play for a contender and finally make a push for a ring. The guard can play under coach Spoelstra in an exciting environment. Victor Oladipo got exactly what he wanted and now needs to prove to the Heat he was worth it.
Loser: Houston Rockets
Only can only feel sympathy for the Houston Rockets who seem to be at rock bottom now. Back in February, they were presented with a multitude of options to choose from in return for James Harden and went with a bold choice. Over the likes of Jarrett Allen and Caris Levert, Ben Simmons, or even a full-on rebuild, they went with Victor Oladipo. Now, with him gone, and not much to look forward to in the future, things are bleak in Texas. Although they have various picks, none look like they’ll be very high and could significantly benefit them. Christian Wood is their best hope at getting back on track which isn’t a great sign for them. The Rockets wasted their opportunity to take advantage of trading James Harden and now need to evaluate their few options and figure things out.
Winners: Philadelphia 76ers
Although the 76ers didn’t manage to trade for Kyle Lowry, they still had a good day of trades. They made a smart move by not throwing too many pieces at the Raptors for Lowry. However, they were still able to find a suitable option in George Hill. Hill adds depth at the guard position and also adds a veteran presence to the team. He may not offer the same level of talent Lowry would have but didn’t force Philadelphia into losing Mattise Thybulle or another player they’ll need to reach the NBA finals. These trade winners played smart, and it’ll likely pay off for them in the long run.
Loser: New York Knicks
Over the final day of trades, the Knicks watched all their competition get stronger while they remained the same. The Celtics brought in a strong wing player in Evan Fournier, the Heat traded for Victor Oladipo, and the Bulls brought in Zach LaVine. Now, with the toughest stretch of their season about to take place, they now need to worry about all others fighting for a spot in the playoffs much more. Their Cinderella Story in which New York fights their way into the playoffs is now in jeopardy. Now, with Mitchell Robinson likely out for the rest of the season, they’ll need to worry about their lack of depth and the price they’ll pay if one more injury arises. The rest of the Eastern Conference has bolstered their rosters while Thibodeau’s side has sat and watched from the sidelines and were far from winners last Thursday. Now, they may have to pay the price for staying quiet.