The NBA trade deadline is almost here. The 2020-21 season looks a bit different for a variety of reasons. One strange aspect is that, instead of the usual mid-February trade deadline, this year teams have up until March 25 to make swaps. While we have seen a couple of major deals go down already this season, we haven’t yet seen the flurry of usual pre-deadline activity.
Obviously, that could change over the next 72 hours. A number of big-name players are reportedly available, and it’ll be fascinating to see which contenders make moves between now and Thursday. BetOnline.ag has a number of player-specific trade props already posted. Victor Oladipo, Aaron Gordon, and Lonzo Ball are among the noteworthy names that could be finding new homes before the deadline hits.
There is some money to be made if you play your cards right. Let’s scroll through the options and find the best landing spots for some of these guys, shall we?
Where Will Aaron Gordon Go?
Golden State Warriors (+200)
Portland Trail Blazers (+225)
Minnesota Timberwolves (+350)
Denver Nuggets (+400)
Houston Rockets (+600)
Boston Celtics (+800)
Earlier Monday morning, it was reported by a variety of outlets that Aaron Gordon has officially asked the Magic to trade him. Gordon has spent the entirety of his pro career in Orlando to this point. While he has put up respectable numbers (14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists), he has never quite blossomed into the star the Magic were hoping he’d be coming out of Arizona back in 2014.
Aaron Gordon has formally requested a trade from the Orlando Magic, sources tell @sam_amick & me. A deep dive his trade market, the Celtics’ pursuit of John Collins & how Marcus Smart and Bogdan Bogdanovic could be involved.
NEW @TheAthleticNBA https://t.co/5PEqOav4DA
— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) March 22, 2021
Still, he’ll be a hot commodity if Orlando is looking to sell. Gordon is shooting a career-high 40.2 percent from three-point range, and his athleticism is well-documented. He’s also still only 25, so there is still some potential untapped upside here.
The article linked above says the Magic have been seeking multiple first-round picks or a pick alongside a promising young player in any prospective Gordon deal.
Boston (+800) has a trade exception worth over $28 million they can use to absorb Gordon’s $18 million salary, but doing that would leave the Celtics with a gargantuan luxury tax bill.
Golden State (+200) makes sense as the betting frontrunner. The Warriors are on the fringes of the Western Conference playoffs, and Steve Kerr has lamented the fact that his current roster has no steady secondary offensive options beyond Steph Curry. Gordon wouldn’t be a perfect Robin to Curry’s Batman given his own offensive struggles, but the Warriors could swap Kelly Oubre for Gordon if they throw some draft considerations in to sweeten the pot.
Portland (+225) was reportedly close to acquiring Gordon last year before the Magic ultimately backed out of the deal. At this point, though, Gordon likely doesn’t make much sense. The Blazers eventually pivoted to acquire Robert Covington, and the forward minutes are now spoken for between Covington, Carmelo Anthony, and Derrick Jones Jr.
Minnesota (+350) and Houston (+600) are a couple of rebuilding teams that reportedly have an interest. Gordon seems to want to join a contender, though, and those happen to be the two worst teams in the Western Conference, record-wise. The Rockets could trade Victor Oladipo back to Orlando for Gordon straight-up, but I don’t see much reason why the Magic would want an aging, injury-plagued Oladipo back in the mix.
The Wolves have a cavalcade of young wings (Josh Okogie, Juancho Hernangomez, Jaden McDaniels, Jarrett Culver) with which to tempt the Magic. Minnesota is surely excited about the potential for the Karl-Anthony Towns/Anthony Edwards tandem, and Gordon would be an upgrade at power forward next to KAT. The Wolves can bundle some of those wings together in an attempt to pry Gordon out of Orlando, which could actually be enough. The Magic are incredibly thin on wing prospects as things stand.
The Gordon market is tough to figure out, but the Timberwolves do make some sense. Minnesota isn’t going anywhere this season, but adding Gordon to their long-term core is certainly a possibility. You can take a shot on Minnesota’s +350 odds at sites for NBA betting.
Where Will Aaron Gordon Go? –Timberwolves (+350)
Where Will John Collins Go?
Dallas Mavericks (+200)
Boston Celtics (+250)
Minnesota Timberwolves (+300)
Sacramento Kings (+400)
Detroit Pistons (+700)
The Hawks didn’t strike an extension with John Collins before the season started, which ignited trade speculation. Atlanta has won eight straight games since firing head coach Lloyd Pierce earlier this month, though, so it’s worth wondering whether the Hawks will actually be sellers at the deadline. Hawks’ ownership is reportedly desperate to make the playoffs, so the likelihood of a Collins trade going down at some point this week seems to be dwindling.
The Dallas Mavericks (+200) Make Sense as a Suitor if the Hawks Do Look to Let Him Go, However
Dallas could use some help next to Kristaps Porzingis up front. Collins has the ability to play either frontcourt spot while stepping out and shooting from beyond-the-arc offensively. Collins wouldn’t be much of a help for the Mavs’ interior defense woes, but he’s still a solid talent that seems to be improving.
Atlanta could use Jalen Brunson, who has emerged as Rick Carlisle’s most trustworthy ball-handler other than Luka Doncic. Dallas likely wouldn’t want to trade Brunson, but he’s really the only young player on the roster that other teams might covet. The problem is that Brunson alone likely isn’t enough to land Collins. The Mavs could throw Dorian Finney-Smith and a draft pick or two into the deal, but it’s worth wondering whether Atlanta would pull the trigger on that.
Trading for Collins wouldn’t give the Celtics a devastatingly high tax bill, but it’s still hard to see a match here. Unless Atlanta really loves Robert Williams or Payton Pritchard, how do these teams do a deal? Williams has played very well this season, but the center minutes in Atlanta are spoken for by Clint Capela. Surely Boston wants Collins, but actually getting a deal done is more complicated than that.
Sacramento and Detroit don’t really make much sense as Collins suitors. I’m skeptical Collins is traded at all, but the Mavs seem to be the best fit if the Hawks do decide to move on.
Where Will John Collins Go? –Mavericks (+200)
Where Will Kyle Lowry Go?
Miami Heat (-175)
Los Angeles Clippers (+250)
Philadelphia 76ers (+450)
The Raptors have lost eight games in a row as of this writing. While Toronto can still easily make a playoff push, pulling the plug may be the best course of action. The Raptors already got their championship. Hitting the “reset” button wouldn’t be the worst idea. Kyle Lowry’s contract is up at the end of the season. While he’s one of the most iconic Raptors in franchise history, there’s a pretty good chance he gets dealt at some point before Thursday.
The Heat are heavy -175 favorites to land him. Miami looks like a sure bet to make the playoffs following last year’s run to the Finals, but the Heat could stand to upgrade the roster around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. A couple of pieces they have that other teams may want are Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro. Herro burst onto the scene as a key cog in Miami’s Finals trip last season.
He hasn’t made much of a leap in his second season, but he’s still likely to attract no shortage of interest if Miami wants to make a deal. Robinson is a lights-out sharpshooter that could easily carve out a role on any team in this day and age of pace-and-space offense.
The clock is ticking. @KevinOConnorNBA has the latest intel on Kyle Lowry, Lonzo Ball, John Collins, and more as trade talks heat up ahead of deadline day on Thursday: https://t.co/3rGJGIP203
— The Ringer (@ringer) March 21, 2021
Lowry is making $30 million this season, so finding a trade partner won’t be easy. Herro is only making $2.5 million himself, but Miami has enough dead-weight contracts to make the money work. Trevor Ariza, Kelly Olynyk, Goran Dragic, and Andre Iguodala are all making over $10 million Herro, Ariza, and Iguodala for Lowry is enough to go through.
The Clippers and 76ers are other potential fits. Lowry-to-the-Clippers has gotten plenty of buzz this season, but the Clips don’t actually have enough ammo to get a deal done. The Raptors have very little use for expensive veterans like Marcus Morris, Lou Williams, or Patrick Beverley. LAC has almost no attractive young assets on the trade block, and we know they’re not giving up Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. Lowry rejoining Kawhi and Serge Ibaka in LA is a fun story, but it’s not actually a realistic possibility.
Lowry would probably love to play for his hometown Sixers, but it’s also hard to figure out a workable trade here. Unless Philly parts ways with MVP candidate Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, or Tobias Harris, they can’t really cobble enough money together.
It’s Miami or bust for Lowry at this point. There’s minimal value at -175, but this looks like the most likely landing spot for the veteran point guard.
Where Will Kyle Lowry Go? –Heat (-175)
Where Will Nikola Vucevic Go?
Boston Celtics (+120)
San Antonio Spurs (+175)
Charlotte Hornets (+250)
The Magic may be sellers ahead of this deadline, but Nikola Vucevic isn’t likely to be traded. Orlando’s All-Star center has become one of the best all-around big men in the league over the past few years. He’s still only 30. Orlando may look to deal the big man for a decent haul this offseason, but rival executives reportedly don’t think Vucevic can be had in a trade this season.
While the list of suitors would form to the left if Vucevic were made available, it just seems rather unlikely. This is a lost season for the Magic, but I think they part ways with Gordon, Evan Fournier, or Terrence Ross before they dump Vucevic.
Where Will Nikola Vucevic Go? –None
Where Will Victor Oladipo Go?
New York Knicks (+200)
Miami Heat (+200)
Los Angeles Lakers (+350)
Orlando Magic (+400)
Golden State Warriors (+750)
The Rockets lost their 20th consecutive game on Sunday. The team signaled it was ready for a rebuild when James Harden was sent to Brooklyn back in January, but nobody could’ve expected things would get this bad this quickly. Oladipo came over from Indiana as a part of that trade, but most seem to think his days in Houston are numbered.
Oladipo reportedly turned down a contract extension with the Rockets, which likely means the team will look to get rid of him before the deadline. Oladipo’s contract is up after this season. Rather than losing him in free agency for nothing, Houston should look to recoup something of value.
Oladipo’s own value is questionable. He has never fully recovered from a serious quad injury he suffered a couple of years ago. While he is still a solid defender, his shooting has fallen off a cliff. The 28-year-old has averaged 21.2 points per game with the Rockets, but he’s shooting just 40.7 percent from the field.
Players the Warriors have been linked to ahead of the deadline:
▪️ Victor Oladipo (interest)
▪️ Otto Porter Jr (interest)
▪️ Bogdan Bogdanović (interest)
▪️ Aaron Gordon (interest)
▪️ Nemanja Bjelica (interest)
▪️ Cedi Osman (interest)
▪️ Kristaps Porzingis (offered by Dallas)
— r/Warriors (@GSWReddit) March 22, 2021
The Knicks (+200) are trying to make a playoff push, and adding a scorer like Oladipo could help their chances. The issue is finding enough players to make a trade work. Oladipo’s $21 million salary isn’t easy to move. New York could throw a bunch of middling young players (Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox) into a package and hope the Rockets are desperate enough to bite.
Miami (+200) is another strong option, especially if they ultimately fail in their pursuit of Lowry. The Heat may be less enthusiastic about losing either Robinson or Herro in an Oladipo trade, but if they find themselves empty-handed as the clock starts to tick, perhaps Miami would make the move.
The Lakers (+350) feel like a real long shot, while the Magic (+400) just don’t make much sense for Oladipo at all. The Warriors (+750) could feasibly make the trade if they parted ways with either Andrew Wiggins or Kelly Oubre, but it’s worth wondering whether the team would actually view Dipo as an upgrade at this point.
The Knicks or Heat look like the best bets here. If you don’t want to bet on Miami landing Lowry at minus-money odds, take a shot on Oladipo instead.
Where Will Victor Oladipo Go? –Heat (+200)
Where Will Norman Powell Go?
New York Knicks (+150)
Dallas Mavericks (+200)
Los Angeles Clippers (+300)
Golden State Warriors (+450)
If the Raptors ultimately decide to trade Lowry, that could trigger the start of a fire sale. Norman Powell has been one of the few bright spots for the Raptors this season. His future with the franchise is unclear with OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet both locked into long-term deals. Powell isn’t a lock to be traded by any means, but he could become a sought-after commodity if Toronto puts him on the block.
Through 40 games this season, the 29-year-old is averaging a career-high 19.6 points per game on solid 44.4 percent shooting from three-point range. Powell doesn’t do much beyond scoring, but teams can never have enough shooting these days. The Knicks (+150) could use Powell as an upgrade next to RJ Barrett on the wing, which makes New York a logical prospective destination.
Powell seems a bit redundant with Josh Richardson and Tim Hardaway Jr., which means his fit with Dallas is highly questionable. The Clippers could use Powell on the wing with Luke Kennard having fallen out of the rotation entirely, but LA is in more dire need of a playmaker than another scorer. Powell would fit in nicely with the Warriors as a secondary shooter next to Curry on the wing.
If you want safety, bet the Knicks at +150. If you’re shooting for upside, the Warriors at +450 are a logical value play.
Where Will Norman Powell Go? –Warriors (+450)
Where Will Lonzo Ball Go?
New York Knicks (+175)
Atlanta Hawks (+200)
Los Angeles Clippers (+300)
Chicago Bulls (+400)
The Pelicans are unlikely to make a playoff run at this point, which means Lonzo Ball could be a goner before the deadline. New Orleans has a couple of intriguing young guards in Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis already on the roster, which could make Ball expendable.
NBA trade deadline rumors: Lonzo Ball a hot commodity; Clippers eye George Hill, Ricky Rubiohttps://t.co/NwYG0m0rPL
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) March 22, 2021
The team that makes the most sense for Lonzo is the Clippers. LA relies on jump shots more than any other team in the league thanks to their lack of playmaking at the guard positions. Ball would inject the Clippers’ lineup with a much-needed distributor that could help the team get easier buckets come playoff time. Lonzo winding up back in LA may not be the best thing for him off the court, but the Clippers should be doing whatever they can to try and pry him out of New Orleans.
The Knicks have plenty of point guards already in the mix, which makes them an easily-ignored option here at +175. Trae Young is still running the show in Atlanta, while the Bulls don’t have a glaring need for Lonzo’s skill set.
It’s gotta be the Clippers if Lonzo gets moved before the deadline. Take the value at +300 here.
Where Will Lonzo Ball Go? –Clippers (+300)
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu …
View all posts by Taylor Smith