Ben Cooper | Sports Editor
April 7, 2021
Old faces in new places, there were a lot of moves at the trade deadline through the buyout market which helped teams prepare for the playoffs. Contending teams made tons of moves to set them up for a strong playoff push, while rebuilding teams shipped off veterans.
Nikola Vucevic being traded to the Bulls was the highlighted trade of the deadline. Vucevic, the two-time all-star, was traded from Orlando along with Al-Farouq Aminu in exchange for Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., and two first-round picks. “The Vucevic trade gives the Bulls a dynamic duo to build around”, junior Kristian Rorvik said. “It didn’t look like Coby White or Lauri Markkanen would be that second star and now they have a top center in the league.” Vucevic will fit nicely with Zach Lavine and give the Bulls another great scoring option.
The Nuggets were active on the trade market by trading young players and picks for veterans to help on their playoff run. They traded for forwarding Aaron Gordon who will be a great wing to complement Jokic and Murray. They also traded for a rim protector and lob threat JaVale McGee who was a great role player for the champion Lakers last season. Denver is primed for another deep playoff run this season with these good moves.
Victor Oladipo finally made his way to Miami. Oladipo a former all-star, has hinted at wanting to play for the Heat the past few seasons. The Heat was able to acquire him at the traded deadline for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a first-round pick swap in 2022. Oladipo will fit well with the Heat, being a great defender and another scoring option to go along with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
The buyout market was very active for contending teams looking for players to add to their team. Some teams don’t like it as they feel the best players go to the big market teams giving an advantage to teams in big markets. “This is creating a competitive advantage for the large destination markets,” front-office executive Howard Beck said to Sports Illustrated after Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin, and Lamarcus Aldridge signed with big-market teams. “It’s another inequity for the small markets,” he said.
The rich got richer through the buyout market. Former all-stars Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the Brooklyn Nets to join Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. The Nets have created arguably the greatest offense of all time and are the favorites to make it to the finals in the Eastern Conference.
In the Western Conference, the Lakers were able to sign former all-star center Andre Drummond.
“I personally think signing Drummond will have a very positive impact on the Lakers, and will help this team greatly,” junior Matt Dupree said. “Due to the team struggling with recent injuries to LeBron and AD, the Lakers have not been playing to their highest potential, and Drummond will be a key part in helping them.” Drummond is known as the best rebounder in the NBA and is also a solid defender and lob threat. Drummond will fill the hole created when the Lakers lost JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard in the off-season.
These key moves through the trade deadline and buyout market will prove vital during the team’s playoff runs.