NBA Trade Deadline: Top Three Targets ahead of March 25
The NBA trade deadline is just around the corner, and we're still waiting for a few top-notch players to change their teams. Since the James Harden trade, the teams have been quite noiseless, but that will certainly change in the next two days.
Some clubs desperately need to make a move in order to mount a serious championship challenge. Also, there are a few teams that already look to the future and are ready to deal their best players. I’m taking a closer look at three NBA stars who should be traded this Thursday, so let’s see where they will end up.
Victor Oladipo (Houston Rockets)
The Houston Rockets acquired Victor Oladipo in the James Harden blockbuster trade last January, but they will certainly look to move the two-time All-Star, as he’s becoming a free agent this summer. They are looking for a first-round pick or a talented young player in a return, but Oladipo hasn’t impressed in his 29 games this season.
The 6-foot-4 combo guard is averaging 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game while making only 41.1% of his field goals and 33.3% of his 3-pointers. Still, Oladipo is not getting a lot of help in Houston, and the Rockets have dropped 20 of their last 21 games.
Although he played just 48 games over the previous two seasons due to scarry injuries, Oladipo has proved he’s healthy enough to help any playoff or title contender. He can guard multiple positions in the backcourt while Oladipo’s numbers would improve with a better offensive team than Houston.
ESPN Sources: Heat and Knicks - w/ summer cap space - are reluctant to offer premium packages for Victor Oladipo, but market’s developed of capped-out teams bidding w/ young player/first-round pick combos. One thing’s become clear: Houston’s likely moving Oladipo before deadline.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 23, 2021
Victor is a great two-way player, so it’s no strange that a bunch of teams would like to get him before the trade deadline. The Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks look like the most serious suitors, while the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors both showed interest as well.
The Mavs and Heat both have cap space to sign Vic this summer, but they’ll have to be more aggressive or the former Indiana Pacers star will join somebody else in the next couple of days. And, frankly, New York seems like the best place for Oladipo, as the Knicks lack experience and need a top-notch addition in their backcourt.
New York is seventh in the East, and Oladipo would be a perfect fit in Tom Thibodeau’s system. However, Vic might like to join the Heat who are a legitimate championship contender. Miami would have to give up on Kendrick Nunn or Duncan Robinson, and I’m not sure they are ready to ship one of these two youngsters.
Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers)
The Big Penguin has been on the shelf since February 19 and a heavy 129-110 defeat at Portland, as the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to move on from a 6-foot-10 center. They tried everything they could over the last few weeks to find the right deal, but Andre Drummond is still in Ohio.
It’s a frustrating situation for everybody including the NBA fantasy players who drafted the two-time All-Star. Drummond’s ridiculous contract is a big issue, so a buyout could be the only solution for the Cavs and Andre’s problem.
Despite all his deficiencies, especially on the defensive end, the Big Penguin is a solid defender and could be an excellent role player in the right system. Therefore, Drummond is one of the most desirable players on the market at the moment.
There is optimism within the Lakers that they will get strong consideration from Andre Drummond if Drummond ultimately leaves the Cavaliers via buyout, league sources say.— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 8, 2021
Cleveland’s preference, of course, remains trading Drummond elsewhere before the March 25 trade deadline.
Through 25 appearances this season, Drummond has been posting 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. He’s making just 47.4% of his field goals and 48.4% of his free throws, but similar to Victor Oladipo, Andre’s offensive efficiency suffered in the mediocre team. The Cavs have the second-worst offensive rating in the NBA at the moment.
The LA Lakers would love to get Drummond, as well as their arch-rivals from the east coast. Neither the reigning NBA champs nor the Celtics can offer a reasonable package for Drummond, while the Brooklyn Nets are waiting for the Cavs to buy out Andre’s contract, too.
Cleveland would like to get at least a second-rounder for Drummond who’ll demand a pricey contract this summer. Dallas, Chicago, and New York all showed some interest in the four-time NBA rebound champ, but all these teams will have to hurry up or Andre will end up in Los Angeles.
Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic)
Just two days ago, Aaron Gordon requested a trade from Orlando and drew plenty of attention. The Magic’s season is already ruined, so they can ship Gordon for the right price. Still, it seems that Orlando is asking too much (a couple of first-rounders) and will have to calm down in order to get this deal done by Thursday.
Aaron Gordon requesting a trade from Orlando changes things a little bit on the trade front. It doesn't mean the Magic HAVE to trade Gordon, but it makes it more likely they'll move on. No one wants to trap a player where they don't want to be anymore.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) March 22, 2021
Denver, Boston, Phoenix, and Portland are all in the mix to get the 25-year-old swingman. The Nuggets are ready to deal Gary Harris who’s making nearly identical money as Gordon. The Celtics offer Tristan Thompson and the 2023 lottery-protected first-round pick; the Trail Blazers would also give a first-rounder away along with Rodney Hood, while the Suns offer Dario Saric alongside the first-rounder.
All these four teams are fighting for the playoff spots and some might think Aaron Gordon could be a crucial reinforcement in what could be a championship run. Also, Aaron has to accept to become the third scoring option on the team which, I think, shouldn’t be a problem.
The Nuggets are reigning vice-champions of the Western Conference, and Gordon would be a great addition to their roster. However, it’s unlikely that Orlando would prefer Gary Harris over the first-round pick.
Boston would use Aaron at the four, while his playmaking abilities would certainly help the Celtics’ offense. Don’t forget that Gordon is a versatile defender, and that’s quite a desirable characteristic nowadays. The Trail Blazers desperately need help on the defensive end, while the Suns, who are the No. 2 seed in the West at the moment, want to make that final move ahead of the playoffs.
Gordon started 23 games for the Magic this term, racking up 14.7 points, 6.8 boards, and 4.2 assists per contest. He’s making a career-high 40.2% of his 3-pointers and a career-low 62.4% of his free-throw attempts.