The Biggest Moves from the NBA’s Trade Deadline and Buyout Market

The National Basketball Association (NBA) had its trade deadline on Wednesday, March 25. While fans rushed to Twitter to check updates from senior NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, NBA execs were making final calls and decisions to fill out their rosters for a postseason push. In this article, I’m going to reveal my top four trades from the deadline, as well as the biggest moves from players who tested their hand in the buyout market. Let’s get into it. 

1. The Buyout Boys go to contenders

Although buyout agreements are not part of the trades that occurred at the deadline, two impactful moves from the past week were the signings of big men Lamarcus Aldridge and Andre Drummond by the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. The two bigs departed from their mediocre squads (Aldridge with the Spurs and Drummond with the Cavs) via the NBA’s buyout market and signed with NBA Finals contenders for a chance to win a ring. While the Twitterverse blew up this week with parity concerns about the two players’ decisions to sign with title contenders, I respect their decision to ring-chase. Aldridge and Drummond are both in the backend of good statistical careers that have been underwhelming in terms of team accolades. If I were in their position, I’d go team up with LeBron and KD too. It’s not like superteams will cease to exist if they don’t join them. It is frustrating to see players teaming up with each other instead of battling each other, but this is the current state of the NBA. Super teams happen and you just have to keep up with the top by any means necessary. 

2. Nikola Vuĉević to the Chicago Bulls

A massive trade from the NBA Trade Deadline was former Orlando Magic center Nikola Vuĉević being traded to the Chicago Bulls along with Al-Farouq Aminu for guard Otto Porter Jr., big man Wendell Carter Jr. and two future first-round picks. If you’re a Chicago Bulls fan, you have to love this deal. Vooch is a perennial All-Star caliber player who is averaging 21 points and nine rebounds per game this season. Pair the Montenegrin Monster with virtuoso guard Zach LaVine and the Bulls may be a problem. Of course, they are still lacking a bit of depth coming off the bench, but the men from Chicago are trending in the right direction. 

3. Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat

This trade was one that I was definitely not expecting. Explosive two-guard and former IU Hoosier Victor Oladipo is headed to his third team this season after being traded from the Houston Rockets to the Miami Heat in exchange for Canadian big man Kelly Olynyk, veteran point guard Avery Bradley and a future pick swap. Dipo has had a weird and volatile season, but Miami just might be his permanent home. Oladipo, superstar Jimmy Butler, young All-Star Bam Adebayo and a bunch of young talent will look to take the Heat back to the NBA Finals in a competitive Eastern Conference.  

4. Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets

In a fairly slept on trade from the deadline, former Orlando Magic big Aaron Gordon was dealt to the Denver Nuggets for guards Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a future draft pick. The former NBA Dunk Contest Champion and versatile forward is a nice addition to an already solid Denver Nuggets squad. Also, point guard Jamal Murray and do-it-all center Nikola Jokić will surely be happy to have a bit of the scoring load taken off their shoulders for the rest of the season. However, if you’re a Magic fan, you have to be gutted. You just lost Gordon, Vooch and also Evan Fournier to the Celtics all in the same trade deadline. Yikes. 

5. Rajon Rondo to the Los Angeles Clippers

This was my personal favorite move of the deadline, even if it won’t end up being the most impactful addition. The Los Angeles Clippers traded “Lemon Pepper Lou” Williams, draft picks and cash to the Atlanta Hawks for veteran point guard and two-time NBA Champion Rajon Rondo. Rondo is coming off of a season in which he helped lead the Lakers to the NBA crown, and will look to do the same for the other LA squad. While some couch analysts and fans were a bit shocked that the Clippers would get rid of Lou Will for the aging Rondo, real NBA fans know the impact the little magician can have on an NBA squad. Whether or not Rondo is giving you 20 a night (which he won’t), he is going to control the pace of the game. His savvy court vision, passing and improved three-point shooting (shooting almost 40% from three this season) are always assets anywhere he goes. To win a championship in the NBA, you need guys with a championship pedigree, and the Clippers got just that with this move.