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NBA Daily: Three Under-the-Radar Trade Deadline Acquisitions

After 46 players were moved at the 2021 NBA trade deadline, Tristan Tucker takes a look at 3 acquisitions that have flown under the radar.

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Everybody’s favorite NBA holiday, the trade deadline, came and went on a day that saw a league-record 16 deadline trades. 46 players were involved in trades, with big names like Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo on the move.

However, with 46 players being moved, some are bound to fall through the cracks and go largely unnoticed. But who? Without further ado, here are three of the most underrated acquisitions at the deadline.

Troy Brown Jr., Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls were one of the outright winners of the trade deadline, securing two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic for relatively minimal cost. Then, the team went out and got Troy Brown Jr. and Daniel Theis along the way.

Brown is going to thrive for a Bulls team that will give him more of an opportunity with the ball in his hands. The Washington Wizards critically underutilized Brown during his tenure in Washington, failing to realize his potential as a do-everything guard. Brown can easily play one-through-three and, in a pinch, could play the four-spot. He can make plays, score in bunches, rebound and, most importantly, guard a team’s best player.

After thriving in the bubble last year, Brown was questionably banished to the bench, seeing his minutes per game evaporate from 25.8 to 13.7. In the bubble, Brown averaged 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Obviously, that’s an eight-game sample size, but the potential is there.

Brown has a long way to go until he’s a starting-caliber wing, but the Bulls can offer Brown the chance to help run the second unit alongside Coby White with Tomas Satoransky on the bench. Outside of Ryan Arcidiacono, Brown is one of the more capable playmakers on Chicago’s bench, if not the outright best.

Lineups that feature Brown alongside Vucevic and Zach LaVine are going to be a ton of fun. Vucevic will act as a play-making anchor in the paint, while Brown can open up a lot of scoring opportunities for LaVine, who may see yet another uptick in his scoring output. There’s a lot to like about the addition of Brown. 

Tony Bradley, Oklahoma City Thunder

If he remains in Oklahoma City, the Thunder got one of the biggest steals at the trade deadline and gave away virtually nothing of value. Bradley, still just 23-years-old, is playing tremendous basketball this season, averaging 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game.

Bradley’s best work came when the Philadelphia 76ers were without Joel Embiid, with Bradley starting in his place. The center posted multiple strong showings, including an 18 point, 11 rebound and 2 block performance on perfect shooting against the Golden State Warriors.

The Thunder already have young big men that are going above and beyond expectations. Isaiah Robey, Darius Bazley and Aleksej Pokusevski are showing a lot at the forward positions. Meanwhile, two-way contract player Moses Brown is exploding onto the scene, while averaging 16.3 points and 15 rebounds per 36 minutes.

According to reports, Bradley hasn’t yet reported to the Thunder but, if he does, it’ll add another significantly talented young big on a roster that is identifying its long-term foundational pieces.

R.J. Hampton, Orlando Magic

Aaron Gordon’s market value seemed to be set at two first round picks and that’s essentially what the Orlando Magic got. Landing Hampton, who just turned 20-years-old, is a huge get. Hampton won Denver Nuggets fans over quickly with his speed and overall athleticism, though he only played sparingly.

Hampton sat in the top-10 of a lot of big boards leading into the 2020 NBA Draft before falling to the Nuggets at pick 24. Like LaMelo Ball, Hampton played professionally overseas in the NBL before coming to the NBA. That experience will help propel Hampton’s career, as will the fact that he’s playing with a rebuilding Magic team that will be able to play him significantly.

Hampton’s best game as a Nugget came against the Sacramento Kings in early February, posting 7 points and 10 boards, four of which came on the offensive glass. He followed that up by scoring 9 points with 2 steals and a block two games later.

The Magic are struggling immensely with guard depth, a recurring theme after injuries to both Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony. With both players still out, Hampton will get a chance to head up both leading guard spots.

With the trade deadline over, teams will pivot to the buyout market until the deadline in April. After that, it’s time for the NBA playoffs. Make sure to follow along at Basketball Insiders for all of the latest news and rumors from the buyout market!

My name is Tristan Tucker and I am a basketball writer currently enrolled at North Carolina State University. I am the school paper's assistant sports editor and have written for SB Nation and Fansided. I joined Basketball Insiders in December of 2020.

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Jazz agree to trade Derrick Favors, first-round pick to Thunder

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First reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Utah Jazz are trading power forward/center Derrick Favors and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a future second-round pick. The goal here was to help reduce their tax bill. While the six-foot-eight Georgia native does not have any notable NBA awards or honors on his basketball résumé, in the 2020-21 NBA season, Favors averaged 5.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and a field goal percentage of 63.8 percent. The 11-year NBA veteran also recorded a free throw shooting percentage of 73.8 percent last season.

The 2020-21 Thunder finished 27-50 (.306), ranking 14th overall in the Western Conference. They could use another first-round pick. Plus, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, this trade will put Utah $13 million below the luxury tax. On November 24, 2020, Favors signed a three-year, $29.2 million contract with the Jazz. Favors is set to earn $9,720,900 next season. This is the second time in his career he has left the Jazz.

He played with them from the 2010-11 season to the 2018-19 season, before he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans on July 7, 2019 for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick. For the 2022-23 season, he has a player option of $10,183,800. The Jazz plan to also re-sign Mike Conley, so this was somewhat of a drastic move to help clear up cap space. On July 6, 2019, Conley was traded by the Memphis Grizzlies to the Jazz, in exchange for Grayson Allen, Darius Bazley, Kyle Korver, and a 2020 first-round pick.

Moreover, scoring-wise, the 33-year-old point guard has not lived up to his performances from his last few seasons on the Grizzlies, but the Jazz need all the help they can get. Jazz general manager Justin Zanik will make it a top priority to re-sign Conley here soon. Conley earned $34,504,132 in the 2020-21 season.

According to Spotrac, Conley has a cap figure of $39,344,900. Center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell have a combined percentage of 47.61 percent of Utah’s total salary cap. On December 20, 2020, Gobert signed a five year, $205 million extension with the team. He will earn $35,344,828 next season.

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Wizards, Lakers agree to Russell Westbrook and Three-Player Trade Deal

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The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook in a three-player trade, sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft to the Wizards. According to ESPN, the Wizards are also giving up their 2024 and 2028 second-round picks as well. During last night’s draft, at pick No. 22, the Lakers sent Wildcats’ center Isaiah Jackson to the Pacers via the Wizards. At pick No. 15, the Wizards drafted Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert. In the second round, at pick No. 31, the Milwaukee Bucks traded NBA G League player Isaiah Todd to the Wizards via the Pacers.

On Thursday, Harrell decided to pursue his $9.7 million player option for next season. Yesterday, rumors surfaced across social media regarding a possible Lakers-Kings trade involving Harrell. Despite the outlandish predictions and mindless speculation from fans over these last couple of days, this trade move could work out great for both teams.

After all, Westbrook is a 9-time NBA All-Star and three-time assists leader. In his MVP season back in the 2016-17 season, over the course of 81 games, he averaged a career-high 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. On Twitter, Westbrook tweeted, “I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

In the 2020-21 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in 67 games started for the Lakers. The 28-year-old shooting guard will make $13 million next season. As for Kuzma, in 68 games played last season, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Kuzma is set to earn $13 million next season. For Harrell, in 69 games played last season, he averaged 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. The six-foot-seven power forward/center is also a six-year player. Instead of having one or two notable super stars, the Wizards having several contributing players might work out better in their favor.

Last season, in 65 games played in his only season spent on the Wizards, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 11.7 assists. The 32-year-old point guard finished the 2020-21 season with 38 triple-doubles, ranking first in the league and second highest in his own playing career. Westbrook also surpassed Oscar Robertson last season for the most all-time assists; Robertson accumulated 181 triple-doubles in 14 seasons. Now, the two-time NBA scoring champion has 184 career triple-doubles, the most all-time for any player. Furthermore, this is Westbrook’s fourth team in his NBA career.

He is the fifth former MVP in league history to play on four different teams over the course of four seasons or less, adding to the existent list of Bob McAdoo, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Derrick Rose. Moreover, on December 2, 2020, Westbrook was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Wizards for John Wall and a 2023 first-round draft pick. He is set to earn $44.2 million in the upcoming season. His player option for the 2022-23 season is $47 million. This trade deal will not be official until August 6th.

Per Bovada’s NBA Futures odds, the Lakers now have +300 odds of winning their eighteenth championship in the 2021-22 season. This is a move from 4/1 odds before the trade, leaping the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, and they now have the second best odds behind the Brooklyn Nets (+250). Westbrook also has the best odds of leading the league in assists next season, with first place odds showing EVEN. He is ahead of James Harden (+150), Trae Young (+450), and Luka Doncic (+600). With +6600 odds, he also ranks 19th in the NBA for next season’s MVP odds, trailing Lakers’ teammates such as James (+1200) and Davis (+2800).

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Russell Westbrook joins L.A. Lakers in One of the biggest trades in NBA History

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(Image courtesy of AP)

In one of the biggest NBA Draft trades ever, Los Angeles Lakers acquired the services of Washington Wizards’ former MVP, Russell Westbrook, last night!

As a result of the trade, the Lakers can now boast a holy trinity of attacking talent in Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and, of course, Lebron James, unlike anything seen in recent memory. Assuming this new contingent clicks into gear, it might just be the most frighteningly talented trio to play together in NBA history, rivaling the Bulls triple horn of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, or that great Lakers team of the late 80s with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In exchange for their star man, the Wizards received three players and what was the No 22 overall pick in last night’s NBA Draft. The former Lakers tasked with replacing Westbrook in Washington will be Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell.

Washington then spent the Lakers No.22 pick on Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson, but immediately traded him on to the Indiana Pacers in a deal that saw the Wizards acquire pick No.31 and point guard Aaron Holiday. Wizards then used pick No.33 to draft Isaiah Todd to bolster their ranks at power forward.

 

(Image courtesy of AP)

The effervescent Westbrook had another great year in 2020-21, averaging 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds per game in his first season with the Wizards.

In joining the Lakers star cast, which already boasts the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook, a 9x NBA All-Star & 2016-17 MVP, will now be hoping to end his NBA championship drought.

Westbrook has since taken to social media to thank the WashingtonWizards franchise for a great year spent in the capital, tweeting:

“Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one,” he wrote. “Everyone from the front office, to the training staff, the coaches, my teammates, and the fans. I’m grateful y’all took a chance on me and supported me every step of the way.”

“I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

With a legendary point guard now fixed among the ranks, 2020 NBA Championship winners the Lakers have all the talent required to wrestle back the title from the freshly-crowned Milwaukee Bucks.

So, get yourselves ready for an influx of NBA betting lines on Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Middleton vs. LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook for next year’s championship games!

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