More winners than losers after the NBA trade deadline


The Miami Heat acquired Victor Oladipo in a trade with the Houston Rockets on the NBA trade deadline day.

Going into the 2021 NBA season we knew one thing, every team really believed they could make the playoffs as a result of the rule change to include seeds 9 and 10 in each conference in a play in game in order to incentivize winning even more. Due to the lack of teams wanting to sell their players because they have no reason to be good, the good teams didn’t have a large pool of available players. For reference, the only true team that was selling before the deadline was Orlando. With the NBA trade deadline behind us, The Torch’s Sports Editor Joshua Wolf gives his thoughts on the trades that went down and what they will eventually mean.

Trade #1: Aaron Gordon to Denver

The Orlando Magic get: Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and future first round picks

The Denver Nuggets get Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark

The Magic have been in the market to trade Gordon for two years now. This deadline finally felt like the right time, so Orlando pulled the trigger to trade away their young star. This is a steal for the Nuggets as they get the perimeter defender they have been lacking, and Gordon should provide another type of scorer into this already potent offense. This will vault Denver up into the upper echelon of title contenders. As for the Magic, they had no leverage due to Gordon’s expiring contract, but they ended with a young piece and multiple picks, which isn’t a terrible return.

Trade #2: Oladipo finally get to Miami

The Miami Heat get Victor Oladipo

The Houston Rockets get Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk a future pick swap

The Rockets blew the whole Harden trade when they decided they wanted Oladipo instead of Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. Instead of acquiring two young pieces, they got Oladipo who was entering the last year of his deal and clearly only wanted to be one of two places, Miami or New York. His value was so low because every team knew they would only have him for the rest of this year and he would be walking in free agency. Miami had an easy path to trading for him, and that’s what they did. This will definitely help Miami, but it is hard to believe a player that has never played real winning basketball will just come to Miami and impact winning in the way that everyone thinks he will. 

Trade #3: Bulls land their big man

The Chicago Bulls get Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu

The Orlando Magic get Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr. and two first round picks

Chicago had shown no signs leading up to the deadline that they were going to make a splash in trading for Vucevic, but here we are. The Bulls now have another all star next to Zach Lavine and have now shown that they want to be a contending team, but is that what this trade does? Yes, the Bulls have a good enough roster to win a playoff series, but they are way off winning or even competing for a title. They didn’t give up too much considering they traded a center just to bring in another one, and the picks they gave away won’t even be in the lottery, barring anything crazy happening. 

Trade #4: Boston finally makes a move

The Boston Celtics get Evan Fournier

The Orlando Magic get two second round picks

Entering the last year of his deal, Fournier was a very intriguing piece for a contending team to trade for. Boston is getting a guy during his career year, averaging near 20 ppg on good efficiency. In Orlando, Fournier is going up against first unit defenders, but on a team like Boston he will be going up against backups every night, which should bode well for him even if he plays less minutes and takes less shots with Boston. This wasn’t the big move most Celtics fans wanted, but Fournier will come in and make an instant impact for a team that needs to pick it up if they want any chance at a deep playoff run.

Trade #5: JJ goes to his next contender

The Dallas Mavericks get JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli

The New Orleans Pelicans get James Johnson, Wes Iwundu and a 2021 second round pick

JJ Redick has always been known to just find his way to a contending team. When he chose the Pelicans two summers ago, we thought it was going to be the same deal, JJ making the playoffs, but his 13 year playoff streak sadly came to an end in the bubble last winter. Adding JJ to Dallas doesn’t really do all that much, because JJ is a guy that will push an already contending team over the top at this point in his career, not a guy that can come in and transform a playoff team to an actual title contender. Still, Dallas did it because of the fact that they didn’t have to give up much of anything and both of the guys they traded for fit their team very well. As for New Orleans, it’s hard to imagine this was the best offer for JJ due to every team always wanting to get more shooting.

Trade #6: Clippers sure up their PG spot

The Los Angeles Clippers get Rajon Rondo

The Atlanta Hawks get Lou Williams, two second round picks and cash considerations

At first glance, it seems the Clippers had won it no question. But after finding out they gave up two seconds and cash, changes one’s thinking a little bit. The Clippers still got the best player in the deal, but it’s not clear why they had to give up so much. As for the on-court fit, Rondo will provide a steady hand for the Clippers come playoff time, which they haven’t had since Chris Paul. Lou Williams, time and time again, folded in the playoffs due to his lack of size on defense, which caused the Clippers to finally get rid of him. This trade helps the Clippers way more than most, maybe even putting them over the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets.

Trade #7: Nuggets add some championship pedigree

The Denver Nuggets get JaVale Magee

The Cleveland Cavaliers get Isaiah Hartenstein and two second round picks

This isn’t too big of a trade, but it will really help out the Nuggets come playoff time. He will certainly help going against the Los Angeles Lakers, his former team, by adding some much needed size/defense combo that the Nuggets lack. He is also now the only one on the team with any championship experience. 

Trade #8: Miami bolsters their bench

The Miami Heat get Nemanja Bjelica

The Sacramento Kings get Moe Harkless and Chris Silva

This is a great move by the Heat because after trading away Olynyk, they needed a big that could stretch the floor. Bjelica has always been under the radar, especially playing in Sacramento. He will add some much needed floor spacing, and he’s not too terrible on the defensive side of the ball. This move, along with Oladipo, will vault the Heat into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference.

Trade #9: Raps and Blazers swap young guards

The Toronto Raptors get Gary Trent Jr. Rodney Hood

The Portland Blazers get Norman Powell

The general reaction of this trade was very lukewarm on the side of the Trail Blazers, but it has its upside. Powell, an NBA champion, adds some needed championship experience to a roster that has been lacking it since the Dame and CJ era began. Toronto also benefits because they are not in a position to be winning now, and Trent is younger than Powell, so it gives them a chance to see him in house before he becomes a free agent this summer and demands a big contract. 

Overall, the 2021 trade deadline was busy as ever. In total 16 trades were made, affecting 46 different players moving rosters. Those are the highest numbers in the past 35 years on deadline day.