Break out the fire extinguishers, the NBA’s fire sale is officially over (at least with the trades, let’s see if the buyout market starts booming). I don’t know that I can say it was overwhelming, but it wasn’t underwhelming either, so let’s just say it was “whelming”. Moves were made though, the landscape of the league is changing just in time for the playoffs. Here are my winners and losers of the NBA trade deadline.
WINNERS OF THE NBA TRADE DEADLINE
Be honest – did you think the Chicago Bulls of all teams would become the biggest buyers today? ME NEITHER. If I could describe their moves today in one word, it’s FIREPOWER. Because that is EXACTLY what they brought to their roster today.
The Bulls front office had an understanding that they would need to surround their star, Zach LaVine, with FIREPOWER to ensure he stays beyond 2022. So, they went to the biggest sellers in the market down in Disney World and put Nikola Vucevic on a magic carpet (with Al-Farouq Aminu), dumping Otto Porter Jr. and his $28.5 million contract in the process. That was enough to give them the crown. They took it a step further though, nabbing Daniel Theis, Troy Brown Jr., Jeff Green, and CASH MONEY (to the tune of approximately $1.5 million) later on.
This team is now SIGNIFICANTLY better than they were 24 hours ago. Are we talking playoffs or what, Chicago?!
I’m going to keep this one simple mainly because HEALTH will play a huge factor in how the Denver Nuggets fare from their moves today. Aaron Gordon is a good get and I have to say, I am very much looking forward to seeing some Jokic-Gordon alley oops and some Murray-Gordon pick-and-rolls. However, Aaron Gordon has a history of injuries and the injury bug has not spared ANYONE in the league this season. Nonetheless, the acquisitions of Gordon and JaVale McGee (a serviceable backup who will help shoulder the load while Jokic rests) can help them compete with the likes of both L.A. teams and the Utah Jazz.
Essentially, the name of the game for the Denver Nuggets today is simple – turn potential into PRODUCTION. And get some DEFENSIVE HELP (because holy fuck do they need it). Worst comes to worst, Mike Malone hits the bench and starts praying. That should do it, right?
HONORABLE MENTION – MIAMI HEAT
I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, a HEAT fan thinking Pat Riley didn’t hit a home run today?”
Look, at 2:59pm ET, a meltdown was looming. At that point, all I knew was that Pat had brought the talents of another tall white guy in Nemanja Blejica to South Beach in exchange for Moe Harkless and Chris Silva. Kyle Lowry was in fact not going to come down the FL Turnpike to the American Airlines Arena. I was frustrated, confused, ENRAGED, and pretending to pay attention to a Zoom meeting for my day job.
I should have known that The Godfather runs on Miami time.
Indeed, a move was made. Victor Oladipo comes to the Miami HEAT in exchange for Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and a pick swap. My home team gets a two-way player who can take some of the load off of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo WITHOUT having to give up Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson in the process. That’s quite the robbery on the Houston Rockets (more on that below).
The reason why I am not running around my apartment complex banging pots and pats right now is because I do not feel like this is enough. The HEAT need another BIG piece. Out of San Antonio, preferably. Another key to this becoming a home run? Making a long term deal beyond this season work with Mr. Oladipo, who wants to get PAID. If those factors work out in their favor, then BRAVO. Regardless, I think Pat deserves a pat on the back.
LOSERS OF THE NBA TRADE DEADLINE
The Houston Rockets couldn’t even bargain for a pack of airline peanuts today (or any day this season for that matter).
After turning down a contract extension a few weeks ago, it was obvious Victor Oladipo was out the door. In fact, Victor Oladipo was out the door before he even got to Houston as he had been negotiating his way to Miami for what seems like years now.
It’s crazy because the Rockets had all of the bargaining power just a couple of months ago when James Harden was demanding a trade. Ben Simmons was on the table. Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen? Also on the table. What do the Rockets have to show for it today? Nothing more than an assortment of draft picks and random players. You can’t even mention John Wall because he is getting bought out as I type this, probably.
I feel for Stephen Silas and Christian Wood. What a fucking mess.
At least they are not the Houston Rockets. That’s a good way to kick this one off, right?
Not the worst day for the Celtics, but knowing their fans I would not be surprised if we get a Tea Party Part II in Boston. I am going to give credit where credit is due, Danny Ainge was getting demands to do SOMETHING today, and technically that is what he did. Evan Fournier? Not terrible. Finding out that Danny lost out on Aaron Gordon and was aiming at Terrence Ross soon after? Terrible. Daniel Theis was out the door if he stayed through the remainder of the season because another team was going to pay him money the Celtics could not match, so not much you can do there.
I am hopeful that the Time Lord can step it up, just not sure on how soon he can become what the Celtics need to really contend in the East. Honestly, I think today proves that perhaps Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics do not see themselves making a deep playoff run and are looking ahead to the offseason *sips tea*.