The NBA looks a bit different after last night. The Bulls have suddenly become a viable contender in the Eastern Conference, while the Heat and the Nuggets have gotten much stronger.
These three teams are some of the biggest winners in the recently concluded trade deadline. And here at SBOTOP, we highlight the other winners and the losers as we continue the 2020/21 season.
Read on below as we gathered the latest NBA 2021 updates.
Before the deadline, the Bulls weren’t really doing much this season.
They are sitting at the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference with a 19-24 win-loss card and their NBA 2021 odds of making it back to the playoffs looked bleak as they have been underwhelming.
The sweet-shooting big man was having an All-Star campaign with the Magic, posting norms of 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game while shooting around 48-per cent from the field.
Vucevic, along with Al-Farouq Aminu, was acquired in exchange for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter, and two first round picks. In addition, the Bulls went out and got Troy Brown Jr. and Daniel Theis to improve their depth.
These acquisitions should easily push the Bulls into postseason contention as Nikola Vucevic adds another potent threat alongside fellow All-Star Zach LaVine and point guard Coby White.
More importantly, after years of futility, the Bulls under Arturas Karnisovas are now headed to a much better direction.
Evan Fournier was the biggest piece that Boston got in the deadline, and that says a lot about their floundering season.
As they struggled with inconsistency and injuries, the Celtics were in dire need of an additional cornerstone that can push them into the championship conversation. However, they fell short once again.
Boston, however, managed to cut salary by trading away Daniel Theis in exchange for Luke Kornet and Mo Wagner. But it is unlikely that they are the ones who can fill their needs.
The main positive about the Celtics last night is that they got Fournier in exchange for only Jeff Teague and two second-rounders.
Because the Magic are going nowhere, they’ve decided to hold a fire sale for their most precious assets. They shipped away Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Evan Fournier in separate deals, and they got a nice haul back.
Wendell Carter Jr. is a good young prospect, while they got Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and numerous draft picks that can help shape their future.
Otto Porter was also added to their haul, although it remains to be seen on whether Orlando see him as a long-term fit.
These moves are clear indication that they are fully invested in their young core bannered by Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, and Cole Anthony.
The Rockets were also big sellers in the trade deadline. However, they weren’t as lucky as the Magic.
Earlier this season, they traded away James Harden in exchange for Victor Oladipo and draft picks. Oladipo is currently on an expiring deal and he was eventually traded to the Heat.
In the end, Houston were left with their draft picks, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley. Olynyk and Bradley are veterans who might be headed for a buyout since the Rockets are going to rebuild.
Houston are losers of the trade deadline simply because they could’ve gotten a better haul from the moves they’ve made this season.
Miami are primed to contend for a title once more because they got better. They acquired Victor Oladipo essentially for nothing, which should beef up their guard rotation.
The Heat and Oladipo have shared mutual interest since last season, which is why this move appeared to be inevitable. Barring injuries, Oladipo should carve out a niche for the Heat as a player that can score and defend on a high level.
Furthermore, the Heat may have one more move up in their sleeve. They have emerged as frontrunners for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is definitely in-demand after being bought out by the Spurs.
After falling to the conference finals to the Lakers last term, the Nuggets might just come out of the West if their recent moves will work out.
Denver added JaVale McGee and Aaron Gordon in separate deals, which should bolster their frontcourt.
The great thing about the Nuggets is that their additions only cost them Gary Harris — who was underperforming and is bothered by injuries — RJ Hampton, Isaiah Hartenstein, and a mix of first and second round picks.
With LeBron James and Anthony Davis sidelined, the Lakers were looking for an additional shot creator during the trade deadline.
Kyle Lowry was in talks to possibly join the Lakers. However, LA and Toronto didn’t come to terms because the former wasn’t willing to add Talen Horton-Tucker into the package deal.
Expect the Lakers to make rounds in the buyout market in the coming days. Los Angeles are reportedly eyeing Andre Drummond, who was recently bought out by Cleveland.
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