NBA trade deadline: Biggest winners and losers from wild day of moves


The NBA trade deadline has passed and we saw plenty of impactful moves made across the league.The Orlando Magic were the busiest team, trading away three quality players in center Nikola Vucevic, forward Aaron Gordon and guard Evan Fournier.A bunch of franchises with their eyes set on a playoff run, including the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers all made deals to improve their rosters on Thursday.Let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from what was a busy NBA trade deadline.

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Chris Mannix declares the Celtics a winner by trading for a proven scorer like Evan Fournier without giving up too much in return.


The Magic were reportedly open for business and they made several deals Thursday.

The Magic sent Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls and forward Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets in separate deals that included multiple players and draft picks. They also sent shooting guard Evan Fournier to the Celtics.

Here's a recap of the best assets the Magic acquired in these three deals:

  • Gary Harris, RJ Hampton, Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter Jr.
  • 2021, 2023 and 2025 first-round picks, two second-round picks

The Magic have significant draft capital, as well as some talented young players in Carter, Hampton, Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac to build around. Orlando also will have an excellent chance to win the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft lottery.

The Magic possess lots of good assets to begin a full rebuild.


The Oklahoma City Thunder stockpiled even MORE draft picks Thursday, adding to their already impressive haul of future selections over the course of the decade.

According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, the Thunder are now projected to own 34 picks (17 in the first round and 17 in the second round) over the next seven drafts. 

Will any of those first-rounders land inside the top three or top five? We'll see, but it does give Thunder general manager Sam Presti a ton of assets to make blockbuster trades to accelerate OKC's rebuild.


The Blazers reportedly had interest in Magic star Aaron Gordon, but getting Raptors wing Norman Powell is a very nice addition for a Portland team capable of making some noise in the playoffs.

Powell is a versatile defender and an excellent outside shooter connecting on 43.9 percent of his 3-point attempts this season. He also has championship experience from winning the 2019 NBA Finals with the Raptors.

Powell, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will become arguably the best three-guard lineup in the West.


The Rockets messed up the James Harden trade earlier this season by not acquiring enough value for a player who's a legitimate MVP candidate on the league's best team, the Brooklyn Nets.

They also traded Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat on Thursday for a lackluster package including Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a 2022 first-round pick swap

Houston has traded two All-Star caliber guards in 2021 and still failed to get a quality young player to build around long-term. Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Oladipo were all part of the Harden trade and the Rockets have none of them.

They also didn't acquire any promising first-rounders in these trades that could be high in the lottery. It all depends on the Nets being a bad team before 2027, the final year of the pick swaps from the Harden trade.

The Rockets' rebuild is off to a terrible start, to say the least.


The Nuggets have not played as well as many expected following last season's run to the Western Conference Finals. Superstar center Nikola Jokic is having an MVP-caliber season and Jamal Murray is a legit star, but they needed that third piece to make another deep playoff run.

Acquiring Aaron Gordon from the Magic should satisfy that need. Gordon is a quality scorer, he can rebound and he gives the Nuggets lots of defensive versatility. Gordon also is shooting 37.5 percent from 3-point range this season.

The price to get Gordon wasn't cheap -- a protected 2025 first-rounder, Gary Harris and rookie RJ Hampton -- but it was a necessary move for a Denver team in win-now mode. Harris is a good player, but he's missed a lot of games due to injuries throughout his career.

The Nuggets also upgraded at center by trading for veteran center JaVale McGee from the Cavs for two future second-round picks and Isaiah Hartenstein.

Overall, Denver addressed two needs without gutting its roster or giving up too much draft capital.


The Lakers needed to add depth to strengthen a roster that has been hit hard by injuries this season, most notably to superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who are both out of the lineup right now.

L.A. reportedly had interest in Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry but the two sides weren't able to make a deal. 

The Lakers could still add a quality player in the buyout market -- veteran center Andre Drummond, perhaps -- but not adding at the trade deadline could prove costly after other Western Conference contenders (Nuggets, Clippers, Blazers, etc.) made upgrades.


The 76ers didn't acquire Raptors star Kyle Lowry, but they did add a veteran point guard in George Hill as part of a three-team deal involving the Thunder and Knicks.

Hill will provide Philly with valuable bench scoring, good outside shooting (38.6 percent from 3-point range) and plenty of playoff experience (127 career postseason games).

The price to acquire Hill -- two second-round picks, Terrance Ferguson and Tony Bradley -- wasn't an expensive one for the Sixers, who have a legitimate chance to win the East this season.


The Raptors traded a quality wing in Normal Powell to the Blazers and received third-year guard Gary Trent Jr. and veteran guard Rodney Hood. It wasn't a great haul for Powell, who's shooting almost 44 percent from 3-point range and can play multiple positions. Trent has potential, but he's unlikely to be a star or even a starter on a title contender.

Toronto also didn't trade star point guard Kyle Lowry. If he leaves the Raptors as a free agent this summer, it will be a disaster for the franchise. You can't lose a player of that caliber for nothing, and Toronto now faces that risk.


The Clippers needed a true point guard and primary ball-handler for their offense and Rajon Rondo absolutely can fill this role.

Rondo has won two NBA titles and arguably was the third-best player on the Lakers during their championship playoff run last season. 

The veteran point guard is a great leader, holds his teammates accountable and consistently performs on the biggest stages. 

The cost for the Clippers to get Rondo was two second-round draft picks and Lou Williams, who's a quality scorer but doesn't run an offense or defend as well as Rondo.

Rondo should be a great fit alongside Clippers superstar wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.


The Celtics made two trades Thursday.

One was acquiring shooting guard Evan Fournier from the Orlando Magic in exchange for two second-round picks and backup point guard Jeff Teague.

The other deal sent center Daniel Theis and forward Javonte Green to the Bulls as part of a three-team deal with the Wizards. Boston received big men Mo Wagner and Luke Kornet in the trade, too.

Robert Williams is the biggest winner here because he's now the likely starter at center. Williams has been one of the few bright spots for the C's this season and a minutes increase will help both his development and the team's play overall. 

Pritchard has impressed as a rookie thanks to his outside shooting, playmaking and hustle. Teague being dealt should make Pritchard the backup point guard, and his playing time should go up as a result.


The Bulls haven't made the playoffs since 2016-17, and that drought could end this year after Chicago made several moves to bolster its roster.

Acquiring All-Star center Nikola Vucevic from the Magic and center Daniel Theis from the Celtics give the Bulls excellent frontcourt depth, better outside shooting and valuable playoff experience for a young roster. Chicago also held on to 2017 first-round pick Lauri Markkanen, who's in the midst of a career-best season. Chicago acquired Troy Brown Jr. from the Wizards, too, and he adds quality perimeter defense.

The trio of Zach LaVine, Vucevic and Markkanen will be an exciting one for Bulls fans to watch in the second half of the season as the team chases a playoff berth.

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