It was a crazy day of trades, and this article will get you all caught up with the latest swaps and exchanges, with extra analysis and where teams and players go from here.
McGee Reunites With Denver
Nuggets receive: JaVale McGee
Cavaliers receive: Isaiah Hartenstein and two future protected second-round picks
Before Hartenstein was signed by the Nuggets, the Cavs were interested in him, as he provides a solid paint presence on both offense and defense, with shock-blocking prowess on the defensive end and the ability to finish with contact on the offensive end. Cleveland was able to get a good haul for McGee, as the first trade from the Lakers to the Cavs wasn’t quite as appealing. (JaVale McGee for Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell. The only reason they traded McGee was to free up cap space to sign Marc Gasol to a two-year contract.) On the Nuggets’ side, McGee is a great addition. The Nuggets are likely regretting allowing Plumlee to walk, so adding a backup center with similar tendencies to Plumlee is a big plus. McGee is less of a ball-handler/passer than Plumlee was, but the Nuggets don’t need that. They need defense and quality shots in the paint, which is exactly what McGee is going to give you.
Magic Trade Vucevic to Chicago
Bulls receive: Nikola Vucevic, Al-Farouq Aminu
Magic receive: Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks
Trade day certainly started heating up with this trade, as the best player to get traded at the deadline, Nikola Vucevic, heads to Chicago. With no true floor general (Tomas Satoransky is the closest to that), Vucevic will, and has, contributed right away with his passing and offensive IQ. As for Aminu, the Bulls will are expected to leave him out of the rotation for now but might be provided minutes once/if he shows he is ready for the spotlight. When healthy, he is a solid wing and post defender. On the other side of the trade, the Magic get a three-point shooting center (with a limited sample size) that shoots 51.2% from the floor. The obstacle with Carter Jr., however, is his health, which has been a major problem throughout his young career. He’s played 119 games throughout his three-season profession. Otto Porter Jr. will carry his hefty contract over to Orlando. He will also carry over his terrific three-point shooting and above-average defense. It is unclear as of now whether Porter Jr. will be a part of Orlando’s plans moving forward. He is 27 and will be 28 on June 3rd, and whether the Magic fancy a trade, or are forced into a buyout, I don’t feel that he will be staying with the team for very long.
Fournier On the Move to Boston
Celtics receive: Evan Fournier
Magic receive: Jeff Teague (waived) and two second-round picks
For Boston, this move is questionable. Fournier is having a great season, and he is a very good basketball player, but is he what the Celtics need right now? Boston is full of iso guys that can flourish with the ball in their hands. What they need is a true shooter or another playmaker. Is Kemba a playmaker? He can facilitate, but he’s not going to dramatically make the team better by any means. With guys like Harrison Barnes and Aaron Gordon on the market, it seemed as if the Celtics could’ve done better.
Unless Brad Stevens wants to run a starting lineup of Walker (or Smart), Brown, Fournier, Tatum, and Williams (or Wagner), which is highly unlikely, Fournier will come off the bench. The Celtics have lacked depth for a long time now, and Fournier could signify a “Terrence Ross” factor coming off the bench. Although Fournier’s price tag was extremely low, not using all of the trade exception and swapping for Fournier, who is on an expiring contract and could walk away in free agency adds to the thought process of whether this was a good trade for the Celtics or not.
For Orlando, waiving Teague was simply due to cap matters, and the two second-round picks will add to their stash of draft picks to fuel their rebuild heading into the future.
Bulls Trade Gafford, Hutchinson to Wizards
Wizards receive: Daniel Gafford, Chandler Hutchinson
Bulls receive: Moe Wagner, Troy Brown Jr.
I think it’s safe to say that the Wizards lack defense and GM Tommy Sheppard went out and got some in Gafford and Hutchinson. Gafford is a high-energy/motor type of guy. He gets after it on the defensive end and tries his hardest on the offensive end as well, catching lobs and finishing in the paint with high consistency. In his debut with the Wizards, he went 6/7 from the floor for 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 14 minutes. Chandler Hutchinson is the bigger question mark. He’s only played in 79 games throughout his three-year career, partly due to DNPCDs and partly due to injury. His off-ball cutting is surprisingly beneficial, in fact, he was a major element of Westbrook’s 21 assist game in the win over the Pacers. Hutchinson is also a defensive stopper, and his offensive talent is truly undiscovered. Based on what I have seen, I would classify him as a slashing forward. Losing two of your own is never pleasant, but you have to give up something to get something. Troy Brown Jr. was having a tough time cracking the rotation, and the few minutes he’s played this season, 287 total minutes, have come at the end of games in blowouts. Moe Wagner was the starting center for a handful of games and showed promise that he would be the starting center for the rest of the season and until Thomas Bryant was healthy again, but Alex Len soon took back the role and Wagner moved to the bench. The Wizards needed a powerful paint defender and shot-blocker that they just weren’t getting with Wagner and Lopez, and Gafford will be the perfect addition amidst Bertans (a horrendous defender), and Hachimura (who is slotted against the strongest player on the opposing team, guard or forward).
From the Bulls’ perspective, Troy Brown Jr. is a promising young prospect that ran the point for the third unit during his tenure with the Wizards. Brown hasn’t quite developed as the Wizards hoped he would, but he has shown flashes of being a solid role player. I’m not going to talk about Wagner because the Bulls traded him to Boston.
Magic Ship Gordon to Denver
Nuggets receive: Aaron Gordon
Magic receive: Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, and a first-round pick
The Nuggets add to their impressive starting lineup and replace the Jerami Grant void with another solid power forward in Aaron Gordon. In this stage of his career, I think we can all agree that Paul Millsap is a backup 4. With his age, power, and the struggles he’s had with his shooting, starting Millsap is just not the way to go and this will help both the first and second unit.
Gary Harris is a terrific finisher, but his struggles from deep are real. So far this season in 19 games, he’s shooting 32% from deep, so shooters like James Ennis and Chuma Okeke will need to step up and knock down shots. Harris, in addition to his ability to finish at a high level, can also kick to the perimeter, so it will be intriguing to observe what type of offense the Magic run and through whom. RJ Hampton showed promise in his first game with the Magic scoring 10 points and shooting 50% from the field and three.
Bjelica Heads to Miami
Heat receive: Nemanja Bjelica
Kings receive: Moe Harkless and Chris Silva
This trade has been talked about for a lengthy time now, and it was no surprise when the news broke. Bjelica will take the place of Kelly Olynyk and is a versatile athlete that can play both forward positions, and even the center position when inserted into a small-ball lineup. Bjelica is known as a stretch forward but hasn’t shot the ball particularly well as of late. So far this season with the Kings, he has shot 29.3% from three, but expect that number to go up, as he will get used to the Heat’s play call and motion of offense.
For Sacramento, Moe Harkless is a rugged defender who has shot well from three this year, 50% with both the Heat and Kings, but even with those numbers he is still a 32.8% career three-point shooter, so I expect his numbers to come down to earth sooner rather than later. Harkless isn’t much of a driver, more of a cutter, and won’t have a big impact on the Kings’ offense. Chris Silva hasn’t done much in the league, an undrafted player out of South Carolina that will look to add to the frontcourt depth of the Kings. Don’t anticipate Silva occupying any more minutes than he did in Miami, especially due to the depth of the Kings’ backcourt.
George Hill Departing for the City of Brotherly Love
Sixers receive: George Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis
Thunder receive: Austin Rivers, Tony Bradley, and two second-round picks
Knicks receive: Terrance Ferguson
The 76ers must see something special in George Hill to give up Tony Bradley, who has been nothing but reliable lately. Hill has been good for the Thunder this year and has done about as well as Bradley has these past couple of games. The question is why would the Sixers go for another point guard when they already have Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton? This means that as long as Embiid is injured, Dwight Howard will start and Mike Scott will come off the bench for the center position. Scott is a three-and-d player, but matchups against bigger and taller centers are not ideal for the 6’7 power forward (because he is a power forward). Hill will bring clarity to the second unit and also provide shooting next to Milton, which should make for a pretty powerful second group.
The Thunder are the clear winners of the trade as they somehow got two solid players and two picks out of this trade. George Hill was never part of OKC’s long-term plans, and Austin Rivers isn’t either. The only question is if the Thunder will hold on to Tony Bradley, who is 23 and has shown promise with the 76ers and Jazz.
As for the Knicks, this is a win for them. Not a big one, but still a small win. Ignas Brazdeikis wasn’t doing much of anything at all in New York. Meanwhile, Ferguson has two more years of experience and will come to New York ready to work.
Norman Powell Traded to Portland
Trailblazers receive: Norman Powell
Raptors receive: Gary Trent Jr., Rodney Hood
Norman Powell is in the midst of his greatest season yet of his career, and he’s not stopping here. He will continue his amazing season with the Trailblazers as they look to add another reliable scorer. Was this a good move? Absolutely. Powell is one of the best examples of a three-and-d player in the NBA. He not only shoots and makes threes at a high clip, but he can downright score as well. With a team looking to improve their defense, Powell is a terrific addition. Was it the best move? No, and I’ll tell you why. The Blazers are dead last in the league in assists with 20.2 per game. If I’m the Blazers, I’m looking for another playmaker and trading away Anfernee Simons and Rodney Hood, meaning I would keep Gary Trent Jr. Anfernee Simons is going to develop into a very nice player, and other teams know that, which is why you could get a high return amount for him. What would they go for then? A player that could fluctuate between point guard and shooting guard yet still be able to play make and defend. The answer would be Lonzo Ball, but it’s too late now.
On the other side of the trade, the Raptors are secretly getting better. Gary Trent Jr. is essentially a younger, mini-version of Norman Powell, and Rodney Hood can provide scoring to their second unit. Trent Jr. is a three-level scorer who can get it done from three-point range, the mid-range, and can also drive to the rim and finish under duress. Hood, on the other hand, is a mid-range marksman and does most of his damage in that middle area. He has been known as a three-point shooter for most of his career, but his numbers from deep are down this year with both the Trailblazers and his three games so far with the Raptors. The Raptors may lose defensive talent in this trade, but I have faith in the players in both the first and second units to step it up and give maximum effort on the defensive side of the ball.
Lou Williams Traded Back to Atlanta
Clippers receive: Rajon Rondo
Hawks receive: Lou Williams, two second-round picks, and cash
It had been rumored for a while amidst the Clippers’ desire for a point guard, as Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo were the two individuals most talked about in trade rumors. Let’s start with the Clippers’ side of the deal. It has been talked about for roughly a year now, the Clippers need a true playmaker. They haven’t had a true playmaker since Chris Paul, and I am not embellishing in the slightest. Rondo, in the time he was able to make it out onto the court, has struggled to score this season. The amount of assists he averages per game is down as well. Both the scoring and assisting are due to his lack of minutes per game this season (14.9), which is due in major part to his health. He has been on and off the court amidst injuries and has only made it to 27 games this season, so on a health note, this is a slight risk for Los Angeles. Rondo will serve as the backup point guard for the Clippers as he looks to boost their value in the playoffs.
Lou Williams has not been known as a point guard throughout his career, but he will serve as the backup for Trae Young. Williams will add more of a veteran presence throughout the Hawks’ organization in addition to extra confidence being inserted into the second unit. Nate McMillan will be looking to utilize a Lou Williams, Onyeka Okongwu pick and roll that Williams executed so well with Montrezl Harrell back in Los Angeles.
Heat Acquire Victor Oladipo
Heat receive: Victor Oladipo
Rockets receive: Kelly Olynyk, Avery Bradley, and a 2022 pick swap
Ever since Oladipo declined to sign the extension the Rockets offered him, Houston has been determined to find a trade partner for the two-time all-star. Kelly Olynyk will provide outside shooting to the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, and Avery Bradley will act as a backup point guard to Wall, or start, it depends on what Silas deems best. Bradley will also behave as the defensive stopper of the team. Despite his age (30), Bradley can still lock down very good NBA players and we’ll see more of that for the rest of the year. It’s been a tough season so far for the Rockets, but if they play their cards right, they can get out of this sinkhole. At this point, the Rockets need to resort to what I call “Thunder mode”. At this point, it’s clear that the Rockets aren’t making the playoffs, so they will be able to make trades at the end of the regular season. Trade veterans that can’t contribute long-term such as John Wall, D.J. Augustin, Avery Bradley, etc. for younger players and picks, just like the Thunder were doing before the trade deadline. Houston already has a handful of promising young athletes, Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr., Kenyon Martin Jr., Jae’Sean Tate, so if they can add picks on top of that and let these players grow and develop, good things could lie in the future for Houston.
From the Heat’s perspective, Oladipo will essentially provide another Jimmy Butler. Oladipo will serve as another drive and kick option to shooters like Robinso, Herro, Dragic, and Bjelica, and when needed, provide a mighty slice of scoring. Now that he doesn’t have to be such a major part of the offense, Oladipo will mesh right into it and serve as a glue guy that will help hold the offense together. Oladipo will continue to fuel the fire which symbolizes the Heat’s robust defense which ranks sixth in the league.
Celtics Swap Theis for Wagner
Bulls receive: Daniel Theis
Celtics receive: Moe Wagner
Daniel Theis, 28, is averaging a career-high 9.5 PPG to go along with 5.2 RPG in 24.5 MPG. Moe Wagner, 23, averaged 7.1 PPG and 3 RPG in 15 MPG. Theis is the better center right this moment, as he has a solid two-way game. He can guard both the four and five positions, as he is 6’8, and his offense is developing at an astonishing rate. At first look, he resembles a paint-attached center, but as the game proceeds, he’ll knock down floaters and was even shooting 34.7% from three before he was traded. Wagner is the younger player with more energy. He will be the hype man of the Celtics bench. Wagner is aggressive and relentless on the defensive end, drawing charges and giving everything he has to contest shots and make things more challenging for the offense. He irritates defenses by drawing charges and flopping, and those things can help your team win. I’ll just go ahead and say it now, he will get along very well with Marcus Smart.
J.J. Redick Traded to Dallas
Mavericks receive: J.J. Redick and Nicolo Melli
Pelicans receive: James Johnson, Wes Iwundu, and a second-round pick
It’s clear that Redick is disgruntled with the trade to Dallas, as he feels that David Griffin has broken his word and “shattered” their trust. Regardless of how he feels and how far he is away from his family, Redick will still be paid $13M to play in Dallas, so although it’s tough being separated from family for long spurts of time, he has to concentrate on his game and hoop. Redick will serve as the backup to Josh Richardson at the two-guard and will add veteran depth to the squad. Melli is another veteran that will join the team as a floor-spacing power forward. Now, that’s the prototype that’s been attached to his name, but I would politely disagree. In just his two seasons with the Pelicans, he has never shot above 34% from three. In fact, it’s been more than an inferior year from deep for Melli, as he has only shot the ball at 18.9% from deep this year with the Pelicans.
The Mavericks acquire Johnson and Iwundu who will both come off the bench for Dallas and provide mostly defense, and offense when needed.
Matt Thomas Traded to Utah
Jazz receive: Matt Thomas
Raptors receive: 2021 second-round pick
Thomas was not part of the Raptors’ rotation, so they chose to clear up a roster spot for the future.
The Jazz will move Thomas to the third-string shooting guard. Thomas will provide three-point shooting and should work well with Derrick Favors if those two are ever in the game at the same time.
Kings’ Acquire Terence Davis from Raptors
Kings receive: Terence Davis
Raptors receive: future second-round pick
With Terence Davis’s legal issues weighing the team down, Masai Ujuri wanted none of that, so they chose to part ways.
It’s a shame that Davis has done what he has because he’s a solid player in the NBA. A career 38% three-point shooter that can also take you to the bucket and finish. The Kings will quickly figure out that they have a fantastic athlete in Davis as he is currently the backup small forward.
Warriors Trade Brad Wanamaker and Marquese Chriss
Chriss traded to San Antonio.
Wanamaker traded to Charlotte.
The full details to both of these trades have yet to be released yet, but protected second-round picks are rumored to be involved for both trades. Chriss, when healthy is a strong and aggressive F/C who is a solid paint presence on both offense and defense.
Wanamaker will add to the Hornet’s point guard rotation, and it is unclear whether he will backup DeVonte’ Graham or come off the bench for the third unit.
Another Former All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge, Heads to Brooklyn
Precisely like Blake Griffin stated, “All I’ve heard is how bad I am. You sign with this team and everybody’s like, ‘That’s not fair!’” The same goes for LaMarcus Aldridge. Excluding his rookie season, this is Aldridge’s worst season of his career so far at age 35. However, the Nets have so many pieces to their offense that Aldridge will fit right in just like Griffin has. Aldridge will serve as a Danilo Gallinari for the Nets, and for some fans out there, you know exactly what I mean. At this point of his career, I’d be willing to bet 80% of his field goals are jump shots. Just like Gallinari, he’ll be too uncomfortable to go to the rim to score, instead, he’ll settle for a mid-range. For some, that would be a problem, but this won’t be a problem for Aldridge. He’s had 14 years of experience in this league, he knows what he’s good at, and he will execute upon those factors of his game.
Andre Drummond Looks to Meet LeBron in Los Angeles
It’s well known how Drummond feels about LeBron, so to now be playing alongside The King I’m sure is a sincere honor to him. Andre Drummond will start for the Lakers going forward and should be a perfect match with Markieff Morris in the frontcourt. A three-point shooting power forward that grabs 4.4 RPG next to a four-time rebounding champion. Now, before I make Drummond sound too good to be true, I have to make you aware of the holes in his game. He is a terrific rebounder and has been since his rookie year, but he is one of the worst finishing big men in the league. He is shooting a career-worst 47.4% from the field and hasn’t even hit the 60% mark for free throws this season (only has one time in his career, 60.5%). If Drummond wants to be a significant component in the Lakers’ offense, he will need to take smart and responsible shots, be smart with the basketball and avoid turnovers, and just keep rebounding.