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NBA PM: Who’s On The Move?

As the trade deadline nears, who will make the splash to take their team to the next level?

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As the trade deadline nears, many teams are looking to acquire a player that will take them to the next level. Whether it’s an outside playoff team looking to lock themselves into a spot, or a team that wants to ascend to contender status, moves are going to be made.

It’s one of the biggest days in the NBA, all on a random Thursday in March. There are plenty of names being thrown around, but here’s a rapid-fire look at the bigger names that might be on the move soon. Now, who’s going to be the difference-maker for a new squad?

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

The seventh-year forward has requested a trade from the Orlando Magic, per The Athletic’s Jared Weiss. The Magic are headed for another lottery appearance and, with all of the injuries they’ve suffered this year, it’s time to blow it up. Gordon has been a piece that they have not been willing to deal with in past seasons, but the years have added up.

And, according to the Action Network, the Boston Celtics are the favorites to make the move for Gordon. The potential package may include two first-round picks and Marcus Smart for Gordon and Evan Fournier. This move would add more length and shooting to the Celtics as they look to make a playoff run as well as replacing Smart with a better shooter. 

While the Celtics are currently 21-22 and the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, Gordon has made it clear to the Magic that he wants to join a contender. The Golden State Warriors have tried to acquire the power forward too, per Alex Espinoza.

The Houston Rockets also reportedly have tried to trade two first-round picks for Gordon in recent days despite not being his ideal fit. Moving on from Gordon should be a priority for the Magic as they start yet another rebuild. 

Potential Suitors: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trailblazers

Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans point guard has been at the forefront of the trade market in recent days with multiple teams being thrown around. Ball is having a career year with highs in every scoring category, including an improved free-throw percentage up from 56.6 to 76.7 percent this season, per Basketball-Reference. Ball would be a great fit on many teams as his crafty passing and consistent three-point shooting can translate well into any offense. 

The Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks are all in on getting Ball, according to the New York Post. Out of the three, the Bulls would likely be the best fit as Ball could play alongside Zach LaVine as they attempt to make a playoff run. The Hawks could be another great fit for Ball as his lethal shooting next to Trae Young would make for a scary guard duo for opposing teams.

The Knicks are very interested in Ball but could stand pat and wait until he hits free agency this summer as they would be his rumored top destination.

Potential Suitors: Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks

John Collins, Atlanta Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks have been shopping their power forward publicly for some time now, but is now the time to move him? Following the firing of Lloyd Pierce, the team has completely turned it around under new head coach Nate McMillan and is back in playoff contender in the East. Collins has been a big part of the Hawks’ newfound success this season, averaging 18.3 points and 7.8 assists per game to go along with a 37.4 three-point percentage.

As a new report by Bleacher Report surfaced, it’s a bit questionable that Collins will be moved considering the teams out of sorts demands for a return of first-time All-Star, Jaylen Brown. It’s probably safe to assume that the Celtics are done in conversations for Collins as the Hawks reached too far. I

Ultimately, it does not make much sense to trade a trove for Collins because he will be a restricted free-agent that many will consider offering a max contract to. The Dallas Mavericks have also been a big suitor for him as he has balled out against them in previous matchups, per Sports Illustrated. A big three of Luka Dončić, Kristaps Porziņģis and Collins would be scary as they would be able to score at all levels.

Additionally, the Sacramento Kings, Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves have also been involved in trade discussions with Atlanta. 

Potential Suitors: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings

Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets are expected to move Victor Oladipo before the deadline Thursday, according to ESPN. Oladipo has gotten back to pre-injury form this season averaging 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game over 29 games for the Indiana Pacers and Rockets. The former All-Star shooting guard could be the biggest name to move at this year’s deadline. After being the prized piece in the James Harden trade, it became clear that it was unlikely that he would remain with the team in the future.

Entering the final year of his four-year, $85 million contract, there’s chatter about Oladipo’s interest in either the Miami HEAT or the New York Knicks during free agency.

According to CBS Sports, the Dallas Mavericks are another team that has an interest in Oladipo, but could wait until free agency to make their swing at him. Will one of the three teams step up and try to acquire him now and re-sign him to a new contract? Tomorrow’s the day to find out. 

Potential Suitors: Dallas Mavericks, Miami HEAT, New York Knicks

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

The veteran point guard for the Toronto Raptors has been involved in trade talks in recent days, as the Raptors have started to blow up as a team internally. Amidst all of the drama surrounding Pascal Siakam and head coach Nick Nurse, Lowry’s name has been one that has been talked about around the league as a potential trade target. The six-time All-Star’s play has remained at that level this season as he averages 17.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game. 

While in negotiations for a new contract with Toronto, Lowry could still be on the move – with two potential interested teams in the Miami HEAT and the Philadelphia 76ers, per NBCSports. The HEAT would be a good fit for Lowry as they have not had Goran Dragić or Avery Bradley fully healthy for most of the season.

With Lowry on the floor alongside Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, the team could realistically threaten the Brooklyn Nets for the Eastern Conference title and another shot at the NBA Finals. The 76ers are an interesting fit as they have All-Star point guard Ben Simmons leading the offense. If they were to acquire Lowry, he may come off the bench, a move that would give them the best sixth-man in the league. 

Potential Suitors: Miami HEAT, Philadelphia 76ers

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings forward has gotten buzz in the trade market these past few months, and Thursday is their big chance to cash in this year. Sensibly, Kings are expected to shed his salary as they do not look like a playoff-caliber team this season and could use the assets to build around their budding star, De’Aaron Fox. Barnes is having his best season in Sacramento thus far, averaging 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game – but he’ll bring veteran leadership no matter where he ends up.

Barnes is still under contract for another two seasons and makes rotational sense for loads of contenders. The Denver Nuggets have shown interest in the former champion, according to the Denver Post, as they look for another wing to play alongside Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic.

The Boston Celtics were once rumored to be in on Barnes but as the deadline nears 𑁋 that has died down. 

Potential Suitors: Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets

All of these players are hot names on the trade market right now, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any one of them on the move before tomorrow’s deadline. Will Kyle Lowry be the last piece that makes the HEAT a threat in the Eastern Conference once again this season? Is LaVar Ball right that Lonzo will end up as a Knick this year? Is a team going to unload their assets for a player like John Collins or Victor Oladipo as opposed to waiting for free agency this summer?

All of the questions will be answered by 3 P.M. ET tomorrow – so let the madness begin.

Dylan Thayer is a Contributing Writer for Basketball Insiders, and a Sport Management student in the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

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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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