Kyle Lowry stayed with the Toronto Raptors, and the Miami Heat got Victor Oladipo instead. And on a trade deadline day where moves were getting made right up until the last possible moment, the Denver Nuggets took a big swing at getting better for a playoff run while the Orlando Magic began a rebuild.
Lowry — considered perhaps the biggest prize who was on the market — did not get traded, the Raptors apparently unable to find enough assets to their liking. Miami was one of the biggest pursuers for Lowry, who they may still target as a free agent later this year, and wound up adding Oladipo from the Houston Rockets.
That move didn’t cost Miami much: Kelly Olynyk was on an expiring deal, and Avery Bradley has barely played for the Heat this season because of COVID-19 and then a calf injury. The deal also included a pick swap in 2022, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal needed league approval.
Oladipo has wanted to be in Miami for some time, and the Rockets made that happen.
Deadline day can be tough on teams and players, but typically it comes with some sort of relief — the questions about someone going from one team to another are over now, at least until the offseason.
“It’s not a great day around the league as far as trying to keep everybody focused, that’s for sure,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Orlando swung three separate deals to move three of their four leading scorers this season, including All-Star Nikola Vucevic. He’s going to Chicago, while Evan Fournier got moved to the Boston Celtics and Aaron Gordon was sent to the Nuggets.
Denver was busy, adding JaVale McGee in a deal from Cleveland as well Thursday for Isaiah Hartenstein and two draft picks.
Questions swirled around Lowry all the way to the 3 p.m. EST deadline, and there were signs that the Raptors were positioning themselves to make the move. Toronto traded Matt Thomas to Utah and Terrence Davis to Sacramento for a future draft picks not long before the deadline opened up roster spots, which were necessary because anyone who obtained Lowry would have had to send multiple players to Toronto in order to make the salary ramifications work.
So, on his 35th birthday, Lowry woke up as a Raptor — and remained one.
“Everything will be fine," Lowry said on Wednesday, when asked about the looming deadline and incessant reports about his trade prospects. “Everything will be fine, no matter what happens."
Toronto entered the day expected to move either Lowry, Norman Powell or both; in the end, it was just Powell, who went to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood. Those teams meet Sunday in Tampa, Florida, the Raptors’ home this season because the U.S.-Canadian border is closed because of the pandemic.
The Los Angeles Clippers — who had been seeking point guard help for weeks — got it in the form of Rajon Rondo, who was part of the Los Angeles Lakers’ run to the title last season and now returns to L.A, according to a person with knowledge of that trade. The Clippers gave up Lou Williams in that deal with Atlanta, sending him back to his home state and the team with whom he spent two seasons from 2012 through 2014.
Another veteran went to a Western Conference contender when New Orleans sent JJ Redick to the Dallas Mavericks, along with Nicolo Melli for Wes Iwundu, James Johnson and a second-round pick in this summer's draft, a person with knowledge told AP. The Mavericks wanted another shooter, as most teams do, and Redick not only fills that role but also provides a veteran voice to help younger players — just as JJ Barea did for Dallas in past seasons.
The Heat made another deal prior to the Oladipo one being struck, landing Nemanja Bjelica from Sacramento for little-used forwards Maurice Harkless and Chris Silva.
The deadline passed without moves getting made for San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Cleveland’s Andre Drummond, a pair of veteran post players who have not been on the court for their current — and soon to be former — clubs in several weeks, after decisions were made in both cases for the sides to simply move on amicably. Aldridge's buyout was finalized Thursday afternoon and the Cavaliers were working toward one with Drummond; those moves will make them free to sign with the club of their choosing.
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