The NBA Trade Deadline

By Barry Hirshfeld
The NBA trade deadline, which took place on March 25 at 3 p.m., was very eventful, displaying 16 trades solely on deadline day; and was perhaps one of the busiest in league history. Many teams aimed to make final efforts to improve their playoff contention in the shortened, Covid-stricken 2020-2021 NBA season – hoping to make a playoff run and possibly compete in the NBA Finals. The most eventful trades, which occurred on deadline day, include:

  • Bulls acquire: Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu – Magic acquire: Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., the Bulls’ 2021 first-round pick, and the Bulls’ 2023 first-round pick
  • Heat acquire: Victor Oladipo – Rockets acquire: Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and the right to swap the Rockets’ or Nets’ 2022 first-round pick with the Heat’s 2022 first-round pick
  • Nuggets acquire: Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark – Magic acquire: Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and the Nuggets’ 2025 first-round pick
  • Celtics acquire: Evan Fournier – Magic acquire: Jeff Teague, either the Celtics’ or the Grizzlies’ 2025 second-round pick, and the Celtics’ 2027 second-round pick
  • Clippers acquire: Rajon Rondo – Hawks acquire: Lou Williams, the Trail Blazers’ 2023 second-round pick, the Clippers’ 2027 second-round pick, and cash
  • Trail Blazers acquire: Norman Powell – Raptors acquire: Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood

Furthermore, multiple star caliber players, such as: Kyle Lowry, John Collins, and Lonzo Ball, which were expected to be traded to destinations which would better fit their roles and playstyles deceivingly stayed put on stagnant teams with little chance at playoff contention. Their teams, knowing the players’ values, were reluctant to accept any hasty offers on deadline day. Ultimately, the 2020-2021 NBA trade deadline vastly changed and raised endless possibilities for the outcome of the NBA regular season and in turn, the playoffs