NBA stays and moves
Season: 2020/21 – April 2, 2021Sunday, April 04, 2021
BY MARK ARCHER
The National Basketball Association (NBA) trade deadline was last week Thursday, March 26 and there were some big trades 'on the table', but the biggest of names managed to maintain their current places — Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Lonzo Ball (New Orleans Pelicans) and John Collins (Atlanta Hawks) were the most noteworthy but maybe their 'asking price' was a little over the top.
Most times in these situations, it boils down to a simple matter of supply and demand — someone has to want what is being sold bad enough to make an offer that cannot reasonably be refused. A lot of these deals didn't have the right supply-demand ratio and died on the negotiating table last week Thursday.
That is not to suggest nothing significant happened on the 2021 NBA Trade Deadline Day.
There were a few impactful moves and others that were mildly curious, which could prove beneficial to a few teams in the run to the play-offs. However, the trades cannot be accurately evaluated in terms of “winners” and “losers” because future first-round picks were involved in many of them.
That said, this year's trade deadline was one of the most vigorous in recent times with almost twenty deals going down in a twenty-four-hour span. Among the biggest deals of the deadline: Victor Oladipo joined the Miami Heat from the Houston Rockets; Rajon Rondo joined the LA Clippers from the Atlanta Hawks; JJ Redick joined the Dallas Mavericks from the New Orleans Pelicans; and Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon departed the Orlando Magic to join the Chicago Bulls and Denver Nuggets, respectively.
Additionally, after signing Blake Griffin in mid-March, the Brooklyn Nets acquired another star in LaMarcus Aldridge from the San Antonio Spurs while the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the injured list, signed former Cleveland Cavaliers centre Andre Drummond last Sunday (March 28).
These may not have been earth-shattering moves but Oladipo, Rondo and Gordon are expected to have an immediate impact on their new outfits.
After 11 wins in 12 games, the Heat went on a six-game losing streak and the defense that stood firm in their run suddenly went limp. During the slide, the Heat gave up an average of 113 points per game and haven't been able to provide the required finish in several close games. The addition of Victor Oladipo should give the veteran group in Miami a needed shot in the arm.
Oladipo was on the verge of being special just two years ago but, following an injury and his gradual comeback, his NBA-value diminished very quickly. This is his fifth team in his eight seasons but should complement Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro very well in the Heat rotation.
At the end of last season, following his championship run in the 'bubble' with the Lakers, Rajon Rondo went off and signed with the Hawks. With Trae Young (and later Kris Dunn) in Atlanta's rotation, Rondo was left with limited minutes at the point guard position. The Clippers were in need of a point guard with leadership, basketball IQ and championship experience to take the playmaking load off Kawhi Leonard and Paul George — they came knocking and Rondo answered.
The Hawks have played impressive basketball this season but Rondo, at this age (35), is better off playing for a championship calibre team than one currently in the development phase. Look for him to be running point in the fourth quarter when the Clippers slip into hero-ball with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard taking turns, deciding the run of play, making a critical three-pointer, a steal, a pass, or just some play that makes the subtle difference between a win or a loss — in short, immediate impact.
After gradual improvement in his first three seasons, Aaron Gordon was expected to be a bona fide star, but the NBA-world is still waiting on that as his progress has apparently hit a plateau (then again, he was with the Magic). In Orlando, he impressed as a top-level dunker but failed to capitalize on his potential.
Denver is a more productive situation for him, with more at stake and a team with championship ambitions. Gordon has the size to match up defensively in the West with the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and others, and can be more of an inside finisher, especially with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray becoming the best NBA teammates he's ever had — expect the Nuggets to raise their game a notch.
With the breath-holding of the trade deadline over, it's back to business for the NBA and the line-up for this long weekend should provide more than enough excitement. The league-leading Utah Jazz have snapped out of their midseason slumber and, after losing five of eight games, are on a six-game win streak. The Jazz face the Bulls and Magic on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3, respectively and should exit the weekend with two additional wins on their record.
The Portland Trail Blazers tackle the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, April 2 which should be a doozy, but the weekend highlight is possibly a preface of the Western Conference finals — the Lakers vs the Clippers. On Sunday, April 4, the Lakers will still be without James and Davis, but they have fared well despite being without the super-duo. The Clippers will have the reinforcement of Rondo and this should be enough to provide them with the edge needed to snatch the win.
Brooklyn Nets 3.55
Los Angeles Lakers 4.10
Los Angeles Clippers 5.80
Milwaukee Bucks 8.20
Utah Jazz 9.60
Philadelphia 76ers 13.00
Denver Nuggets 18.00
Phoenix Suns 26.00
Miami Heat 27.00
Dallas Mavericks 40.00
*Only Top 10 odds shown (see website for full list)
*Odds are subject to change.
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