The 2021 NBA trade deadline (March 25, 3:00pm ET) is just hours away now. To stay up to date with all the details and quick thoughts on every trade through the day, follow along here. I’ll be updating this article as deals happen, and, of course, we’ll be posting more detailed coverage of any moves the Philadelphia 76ers make as well.
A Kyle Lowry trade will likely have the biggest impact around the NBA and among the league’s contenders, and the Sixers are still one of the top teams in the running to acquire him, along with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, with the latter recently emerging as a team to watch. Apart from Lowry, the Sixers have also expressed interest in other talented guards like Norman Powell and Lonzo Ball. Even if the Sixers can’t land Lowry, it sounds like we should at least see another trade to strengthen their guard rotation.
Right, let’s trade...
Pistons trade Delon Wright to Kings for Cory Joseph and picks
The deadline got kicked off the night before, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting late on Wednesday that the Detroit Pistons are trading Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings for Cory Joseph, a 2021 second-round pick via the Lakers, and their own 2024 second-round pick. The Pistons have done well to get two second-rounders here, while the Kings get an upgrade with Wright and clear Joseph’s $12.6 million salary for 2021-22 ($2.4 million guaranteed).
Wright had been discussed as a potential Sixers target for some time, with Philly reportedly having interest. Wright would have been a helpful backup guard, who could have provided the bench with extra ball-handling, decent playmaking, and some driving ability. He’s clearly less valuable than other guards the Sixers have reportedly been interested in, though. Ultimately, the Sixers can’t have been too high on acquiring Wright given what it cost Sacramento to get him.
Cavaliers trade JaVale McGee to Nuggets for Isaiah Hartenstein and picks
Wojnarowski has reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers are trading JaVale McGee to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Isaiah Hartenstein, a 2027 unprotected second-round pick, and a 2023 protected second-round pick.
Cleveland is acquiring a 2027 unprotected second-round pick and 2023 protected second-round pick protected through No. 46, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
This is a pretty good trade for both teams. McGee gives the Nuggets’ bench a new dynamic with some extra size, rim protection, and rim rolling ability. Meanwhile, the Cavs can see how much potential the 22-year-old Hartenstein continues to show as a new backup behind Jarrett Allen, now that McGee is gone and Andre Drummond should be heading elsewhere very soon. The Cavs also don’t have to worry about Hartenstein costing much moving forward — he has a $1.7 million player option for 2021-22.
Furthermore, from when the Cavs first acquired McGee and a 2026 second-round pick from the Lakers in November and today’s trade, they’ve now turned McGee’s $4.2 million expiring contract into three second-rounders. You can’t fault how Cleveland has quietly accumulated a few extra assets here.
Magic trade Nicola Vucevic to Bulls for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and picks
The first big trade of the day is here, and it’s a surprising one. With Nikola Vucevic playing at such a high level this season and Orlando reportedly wanting a major return for him if they ever made a trade, it looked like he’d be staying put. Well, Adrian Wojnarowski has now reported that the Magic are trading Vucevic and Al Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks from 2021 and 2023, Wojnarowski added.
Here's the deal: The Bulls land Nikola Vucevic and Al Farouq Aminu for Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr., and two first-round picks. Huge addition for Chicago, who remains in pursuit of Lonzo Ball. The Magic are moving toward a rebuild now with Aaron Gordon deal on deck.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
This is a massive acquisition for the Bulls. As Wojnarowski mentioned, they’re going for Lonzo Ball, too. While they’ve just used up a few assets to land Vucevic, if they’re being this aggressive, it could make it tougher for the Sixers to acquire Ball, depending on whether or not they’re successful in their pursuit of Kyle Lowry and have to look elsewhere.
Vucevic will give the Bulls’ offense a major boost and form a dangerous duo with Zach LaVine. Vucevic can do everything offensively. He’s averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game this season, with a strong post game and soft touch inside, reliable passing, and a 40.6 percent three-point stroke on 6.5 attempts a night.
For the Magic, this signals a strong shift to reloading their roster, stocking up more assets, and ensuring their 2021 first-round pick is as high as possible. As for Wendell Carter Jr., he was only averaging 24.8 minutes per game with the Bulls this season. This move should ideally give him a chance to take on a larger role, be more aggressive, showcase his defensive potential, and get plenty of opportunity to try and grow as the Magic move in a new direction.
Marc Stein of The New York Times has reiterated that Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier are both expected to be traded, so the Magic are far from done yet.
Magic trade Evan Fournier to Celtics for two second-round picks
The Boston Celtics have finally used their massive trade exception from the Gordon Hayward sign-and-trade to Charlotte last year. According to Wojnarowski, the Celtics are sending two second-rounders to Orlando for Evan Fournier. Having the $28.5 million trade exception (which has now decreased to $11.05 million, and can be used for another deal) allowed Boston to land Fournier without having to send away any players/salary.
Teams are finalizing the deal now, source tells ESPN. https://t.co/Rc27IxxhnB— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Fournier may not be an ideal pickup for the Celtics, but there’s no doubt he’ll help them. While he can’t do much as a passer, he’s still a sound complementary scorer and a quality shooter. He’s averaging a career-high 19.7 points per game with a 60.4 true shooting percentage this season, shooting 38.8 percent from three on 7.2 attempts per game.
The Magic are acquiring plenty of draft picks as they tank out for the rest of the season and look to rebuild, with an Aaron Gordon trade on the way as well.
Nuggets trade Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a first-rounder to Magic for Aaron Gordon
It was never going to be long before the Magic dealt Aaron Gordon. As Wojnarowski confirmed, the Nuggets landed him for Gary Harris, rookie R.J. Hampton, and a first-round pick.
Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a first-round pick to the Magic for Aaron Gordon, source tells ESPN. https://t.co/VWMUVCokeS— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
It’s not a particularly big return for the Magic, especially when considering how much some reports hinted Gordon could be worth (such as a notable young player and two first-round picks). Nevertheless, their rebuild continues with more draft capital, and they can see what Hampton has to offer after he didn’t find too much success or playing time in Denver to start his NBA career.
This is a really interesting move for Denver. Aaron Gordon is the kind of athletic, versatile, talented perimeter defender they’ve been missing, and he should fit in nicely on offense when operating and cutting around Nikola Jokic. Gordon will address some key areas of weakness for the Nuggets.
Heat trade Maurice Harkless and Chris Silva to Kings for Nemanja Bjelica
The Kings are trading Nemanja Bjelica to the Heat for Maurice Harkless and Chris Silva. Bjelica shouldn’t have been a top target for the Sixers, but he was a name of interest as a stretch big.
Miami is sending Moe Harkless and Chris Silva to the Kings, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/qcIwNnme3t— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
It never looked like Bjelica would cost much, and the Heat have picked him up for a very reasonable price. Bjelica is having a down shooting year so far this season based on a fairly small sample, but he made 41.2 percent of his threes on 5.3 attempts per 36 minutes over the previous three seasons. He’s a quality shooter with plenty of range beyond the arc. This is a solid move for Miami.
Sixers acquire George Hill in three-team trade with Thunder and Knicks
We have a Sixers trade! Although, it’s not a Kyle Lowry deal... The Sixers are trading Tony Bradley, Terrance Ferguson and three second-round picks in a three-team trade with the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for George Hill and Iggy Brazdeikis. Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice has confirmed all the details:
The full Sixers-Thunder-Knicks deal, per league source:— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 25, 2021
Philly gets: George Hill, Iggy Brazdeikis
OKC gets: Tony Bradley, Philly's 2nd round picks in 2025 and 2026, and Austin Rivers
Knicks get: Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, 2021 2nd round pick from Philly
This isn’t the blockbuster trade that some Sixers fans wanted (and it may not be the final deal of the day for them), but it’s still a helpful move. Hill is a reliable guard who can help ease the ball-handling load on Shake Milton for bench units, provide solid defense, and hit spot-up threes at an effective rate (he’s shot 40.2 percent on 4.6 attempts per 36 minutes over the last six seasons). Hill will fit in smoothly both on and off the ball with the Sixers, and they’ve acquired him for a reasonable price. Of course he doesn’t do nearly as much to lift Philly’s title chances as Lowry would have, but Hill will help nonetheless.
Tony Bradley had been giving the Sixers some solid minutes at both ends of the floor recently. Whether this just leaves more playing time at center for others (and Paul Reed potentially gets a chance to play a few minutes), or the Sixers look into picking up a new third center, is something to keep an eye on.
Raptors trade Norman Powell to Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood
Norman Powell, a guard the Sixers were reportedly interested in, has now been traded. The Raptors are sending him to Portland for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
Toronto has traded Norm Powell to Portland for Gary Trent and Rodney Hood, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Powell is expected to turn down his $11.61 million player option for 2021-22, so the Raptors wanted to get something in return as they move on from Lowry and reset their roster somewhat. Especially as Powell could command as much as $20 million per year for his next contract, which is believed to be the amount he could make. He’s been having the best season of his career, averaging 19.6 points per game with an impressive 64.5 true shooting percentage.
Gary Trent Jr. is a really nice piece as the main return for Toronto. He’s a talented defender and a terrific shooter, averaging a career-high 15 points per game this season and burying 39.7 percent of his threes on elite volume (7.4 attempts in 30.8 minutes a night). He’s also set for free agency, though. While he won’t make as much as Powell, Trent Jr. should still fetch himself a decent contract. Clearly the Raptors are high on him as a long-term part of their team, and deservedly so.
Raptors trade Matt Thomas to Jazz for a second-round pick
We have another Raptors trade, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski. Toronto is adding another second-round pick by sending Matt Thomas to the Utah Jazz.
Toronto is trading guard Matt Thomas to the Utah Jazz for a future second-round pick, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
This move itself isn’t anything too exciting, but it opens up another roster spot that can be used for a Kyle Lowry trade.
Clippers trade Lou Williams and second-round picks to Hawks for Rajon Rondo
We have another surprising deal. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Clippers are sending Lou Williams, two second-round picks and cash to the Atlanta Hawks for Rajon Rondo.
Clippers are finalizing a deal to acquire Rajon Rondo from Atlanta for Lou Williams, two second-round picks and cash, sources tell me and @sam_amick.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 25, 2021
Even though Williams’ playing time and production have dropped this season, this move is a puzzling one for the Clippers. Rondo isn’t good anymore and he’s been having a rough year. He also doesn’t give L.A. the kind of ability to attack the rim and pressure defenses inside that they could use from a new guard. Going from Williams’ scoring and creation to Rondo is a downgrade. If this is all the Clippers do to try to bolster their team for the playoffs, it’s a disappointing trade deadline for them.
Raptors trade Terence Davis to Kings for second-round pick
We have another small trade, as Wojnarowski reports that the Raptors are trading Terence Davis to the Kings for a second-round pick, but it could be more notable in the grand scheme of things.
Toronto is trading guard Terrence Davis to Sacramento for a future second round pick, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
This gives the Raptors another open roster spot, which could be setting things up for a Kyle Lowry trade with more players involved.
Warriors trade Brad Wanamaker to Hornets
This isn’t exactly the kind of groundbreaking trade that many NBA fans would have been hoping for just as the deadline passed. But the Hornets at least get an extra guard while LaMelo Ball is out with a fractured wrist, and the Warriors clearing roster spots will give them the flexibility to be more active on the buyout market.
Kyle Lowry is staying in Toronto
I’m breaking the rules of this piece a bit here, but this non-deal is too important to leave out. After so much buzz regarding an exciting race between the Sixers, Heat and most recently the Lakers to trade for Kyle Lowry, it turns out that he’s staying in Toronto, after all.
The Raptors are keeping Kyle Lowry, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Lowry has been the biggest player in trade talks ahead of the deadline for weeks. He could have helped shift the landscape among the league’s contenders depending on where he ended up, and taken the Sixers up a level if they were able to acquire him. After the Raptors cleared two roster spots by trading Matt Thomas and Terence Davis, it’s even more surprising that Lowry is now staying put.
Wojnarowski added shortly after that Raptors president Masai Ujiri never found a package that “compelled him” to trade Lowry, and Lowry was always “fine” with simply completing this season in Toronto.
Rockets trade Victor Oladipo to Heat for Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk
Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news, and Shams Charania reported the details. Seeing as the Rockets could have had Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen in the James Harden trade, acquiring Victor Oladipo and now ending up with Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk is disappointing to say the least.
Sources: Houston traded Victor Oladipo to Miami for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a draft swap.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 25, 2021
The Heat haven’t given up much at all here, and this is a really intriguing move for them to go for. Of course, Oladipo hasn’t been the same player for a while now. He struggled in Houston and his efficiency has faltered significantly. That said, if he can rediscover better form in time and it only cost Miami Bradley and Olynyk to add a player with Oladipo’s talent, it’s well worth it. Oladipo is also on an expiring $21 million contract, so the Heat will have some extra cap space at their disposal this summer if things don’t work out with Oladipo over the rest of the season.
Warriors trade Marquese Chriss to Spurs for Cady Lalanne
Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported the details of Marquese Chriss being dealt to San Antonio in exchange for the rights to 2015 second-round pick Cady Lalanne, while Adrian Wojnarowski added that the Warriors are also sending cash in the deal.
The Golden Warriors are trading Marquese Chriss to the San Antonio Spurs for Cady Lalanne, league sources tell @YahooSports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 25, 2021
Chriss is out for the season after suffering a fractured right fibula in December. This move gives Golden State another roster spot for the rest of the season.
Celtics, Wizards and Bulls complete three-team trade
Adrian Wojnarowski reported Chicago and Boston trading Mo Wagner and Daniel Theis, before Ryan McDonough expanded with details of the three-team deal:
Details of the Celtics/Wizards/Bulls deal, per league sources:— Ryan McDonough (@McDNBA) March 25, 2021
Wizards get D. Gafford, C. Hutchinson
Celtics get L. Kornet, M. Wagner
Bulls get D. Theis, J. Green, T. Brown Jr. , $1.3m (from BOS) $250k (from WAS)
This moves comes as a bit of a surprise as well. Theis is a sound big man and he did plenty to help the Celtics at both ends of the floor. Shifting to Wagner is a sizeable downgrade. On an expiring $5 million deal, though, Theis could have been too expensive for the Celtics to keep in free agency. This trade gets them under the tax, and leaves them with an open roster spot to help them in the buyout market. This frees up more minutes for Robert Williams to take on a larger role in the process.
Mavericks trade James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu and a second-round pick to Pelicans for J.J. Redick and Nicolo Melli
The final trade of the day... After some rumors that J.J. Redick may have been hitting the buyout market, the Dallas Mavericks have completed a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to pick up Redick and Nicolo Melli, according to Shams Charania.
Sources: Dallas sent James Johnson, Wes Iwundu and a second-round pick to New Orleans to acquire JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 25, 2021
Mavericks acquiring two shooters to bolster their depth. Pelicans receive a gritty veteran forward in Johnson, young player and draft asset. https://t.co/WaVX3BKh6T
With Redick in a down year at 36 years of age, this is a good return for the Pelicans. Melli isn’t of interest here, but the Mavs do add some shooting to help their offense. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Redick warm up in Dallas, and they can benefit from his ability off movement as another outlet next to Luka Doncic.
Well, that’s it. After a busy day of deals with a rather anticlimactic finish after Kyle Lowry stayed in Toronto, we’re officially done with the 2021 NBA trade deadline.
Thanks for following along. We’ll have plenty more Sixers coverage on the way soon, looking at where the team stands now and how George Hill can help. Even though the Sixers didn’t do anything flashy in the end, they’ve still upgraded.