EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

NBA trade deadline tracker: Victor Oladipo headed to Heat

Mar 25, 2021, 9:04 AM | Updated: 6:54 pm
Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) puts up a shot between Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kenri...

Houston Rockets guard Victor Oladipo (7) puts up a shot between Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kenrich Williams (34) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Ty Jerome (16) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

As expected, the Phoenix Suns didn’t make a move at the NBA trade deadline, according to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro.

Their core pieces have helped them rise to the second spot in the Western Conference standings as the NBA trade deadline neared Thursday at noon. There weren’t any obvious large contracts that could or should be moved for a high-caliber player.

Plus, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Still, the deadline could impact the Suns’ playoff outlook by teams making moves to push themselves up the standings.

Below, we’ll be updating the moves in the 24 hours leading up to the deadline with the help of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Be sure to tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for our trade deadline coverage all day.

2021 NBA trade deadline

Victor Oladipo heads to Heat

Jimmy Butler has a new perimeter running mate.

The Houston Rockets agreed to trade guard Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat in return for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and a draft pick swap, reports Wojnarowski and Charania.

That should give the reigning Eastern Conference champs a boost as the Heat have struggled to a 22-22 mark thus far.

Oladipo has played well for the floundering Rockets while coming off a serious leg injury. He’s averaging 21.2 points and 5.0 assists per game, though he’s been shooting poorly (40% and 32% from three-point range).

He can take pressure off Butler and give Miami a bit more ball-handling equity that pushes Kendrick Nunn, Tyler Herro and the aging Goran Dragic into more suitable complementary roles.

Warriors send Marquese Chriss to Spurs

Suns lottery pick Marquese Chriss is on to his third team, as the Golden State Warriors dealt the athletic forward to the San Antonio Spurs, per Wojnarowski.

Chriss broke his leg early in the season after appearing in only two games this year.

Golden State also traded backup point guard Brad Wanamaker to the Charlotte Hornets, reports Charania.

Mavericks acquire sniper J.J. Redick from Pelicans

The Mavericks have already been all about floor spacing and shooting, and they’re nearing an addition to that front by trading for New Orleans Pelicans guard J.J. Redick, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The 36-year-old’s role in New Orleans declined this year in minutes (26 to 19 per game) and points scored (15.3 to 8.7), but he’s still shooting 36% from three and taking 4.5 of his 6.9 attempts from deep.

Dallas also received reserve big man Nicolo Melli in the trade while shipping out James Johnson, Wes Iwundu and a second-round pick.

Rajon Rondo to Clippers, Lou Williams heads to Hawks

Rajon Rondo might find himself back in Los Angeles and back with a title contender.

Having won the championship with the Los Angeles Lakers last year, the veteran point guard could be on his way to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Atlanta Hawks and Clippers have been in discussions to get a Rondo deal done, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The return would apparently include Lou Williams, which if he lands with Atlanta would certainly create room for some jokes.

Rondo has averaged 3.9 points and 3.5 assists in 15 minutes per game for the Hawks this season.

Trail Blazers make backcourt swap with Raptors

AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

The Portland Trail Blazers made a quality-over-quantity move by trading backup guard Gary Trent and wing Rodney Hood to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for guard Norman Powell, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

At 27 years old, Powell has put together his best season yet. He’s averaging a career-high 19.6 points with shooting splits of 50% overall and 44% on 6.4 three-point attempts per game.

Also a defensive menace, Powell joins a backcourt that includes Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, but he has the size at 215 pounds to play alongside them.

In theory, he could also take some defensive pressure off the offensively focused Lillard and McCollum — the underrated Trent filled that role — so guys like Devin Booker can’t pick on them.

On the Raptors’ front, point guard Kyle Lowry’s future remains a question mark, and the team also dealt guard Matt Thomas to the Utah Jazz, giving the NBA’s best team some shooting pop, reports Wojnarowski.

Toronto also dealt shooting guard Terence Davis to the Kings for a future second-round pick, per Wojnarowski.

76ers pick up veteran PG George Hill

The Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers have been searching for a traditional point guard who will fit alongside Ben Simmons as a floor spacer, and they’ve found their answer.

Charania reports the Sixers have acquired 34-year-old point guard George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The deal is a three-way trade involving the New York Knicks that sends center Tony Bradley and two second-round picks to the Thunder from Philadelphia. The Knicks will ship guard Austin Rivers to Oklahoma City, and the Thunder send athletic shooter Terrance Ferguson to New York, according to Wojnarowski.

Hill averaged 11.8 points and 3.1 assists for Oklahoma City, which is undergoing a rebuild.

He is shooting 39% from three-point range and is still a capable defender. His presence should allow the 76ers to hang with more traditional lineups from a defensive standpoint.

And if anything, he gives the team a true backup point guard. Currently, Philadelphia’s backcourt includes combo scoring guard Tyrese Maxey, shooter Shake Milton, defensive ace Matisse Thybulle and shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz.

Aaron Gordon en route to Nuggets

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, Pool)

It looks like the Denver Nuggets just got a little more scary.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the 2020 Western Conference Finals squad is progressing on a trade to add play-making forward Aaron Gordon in a trade with the Orlando Magic.

Wojnarowski reports Denver is sending rookie guard R.J. Hampton, shooter Gary Garris and a first-round pick Orlando’s way. The Magic will also include reserve Gary Clark in the deal.

Denver sits fifth in the NBA standings as of deadline day and at 26-18 is 3.5 games behind the 29-14 Suns.

It could take some time for Gordon to click in with Denver, which will still heavily feature center Nikola Jokic and guard Jamal Murray. Then again, he could slide right in playing a role similar to that of aging forward Paul Millsap.

Gordon is one of the most athletic and versatile defenders in the game, who on offense also is capable of running point. While he took his lumps trying to be a scorer since he was drafted out of Arizona in 2014, he could be optimized as an elite role player.

Gordon is averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

Magic ship Evan Fournier to Celtics

Magic guard Evan Fournier (AP Photo/John Raoux)

According to Wojnarowski, the Magic have agreed to ship guard Evan Fournier to the Celtics to give Boston another scorer and playmaker alongside its trio of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker.

On an expiring deal, Fournier is averaging 19.7 points and 3.7 assists. He gives the Celtics extra firepower and should be capable of providing shooting even if working more off the ball.

Fournier, on a $17 million deal, was traded into an exception that Boston had, allowing Orlando not to take back salary.

Boston also traded center Daniel Theis to the Bulls and received shooting big man Mo Wagner. Wagner began the day as a member of the Washington Wizards but was traded to Chicago and re-routed to Boston.

Nikola Vucevic traded from Magic to Bulls

It appears the Chicago Bulls are going for it.

Only 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot and needing to figure out which of its young bigs to commit to between Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., they chose the former — at least for the time being. Chicago shipped the struggling Carter, forward Otto Porter Jr. and two first-round picks to the Orlando Magic for All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu, reports Wojnarowski.

Vucevic is having a wildly productive year, averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 40.6% from three-point land.

That gives the Bulls an offensively talented duo in the frontcourt, but they might not be done.

The Bulls also agreed to acquire young wing Troy Brown and Wagner from the Washington Wizards in exchange for young center Daniel Gafford and wing Chandler Hutchison, per Wojnarowski.

JaVale McGee bolsters Nuggets’ frontcourt

Cavaliers center JaVale McGee (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

In a move that could concern the Suns, the Nuggets, per Wojnarowski, added a veteran rim protector by trading Isaiah Hartenstein and two second-round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who unloaded center JaVale McGee.

McGee, of course, has plenty of playoff experience having played for the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers for title runs.

He gives Denver a true rim protector to complement All-Star center Jokic.

That seems to be gearing up for a postseason where teams like the Suns, who roll out center Deandre Ayton, could pose a unique matchup.

McGee is averaging 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in just 15.2 minutes per game.

Pistons deal Delon Wright to Kings

At 9:33 p.m. MST Wednesday, the signs this might not be a quiet trade deadline started with the Detroit Pistons agreeing to ship guard Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings for Cory Joseph and two second-round picks, per Wojnarowski.

It’s a curious move for Sacramento, which gets more guard-heavy by putting Wright next to De’Aaron Fox and rookie combo guard Tyrese Haliburton.

The Kings remained active at the deadline, who according to Wojnarowski agreed to trade forward Nemanja Bjelica to Miami, giving the Heat a savvy power forward with shooting chops. Miami dealt wing Moe Harkless and forward Chris Silva to Sacramento.

Wright can play on or off the ball and is averaging 10.4 points, 5.0 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game this year.

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