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NBA teams make controversial trades

Photo used with permission from All-Pro Reels/Flickr
Ex Houston Rockets guard James Harden dunks on Washington Wizards player Davis Bertans. Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets this year. The Nets are currently second in the East with a 37-18 record, according to the NBA Website.

Following the NBA trade deadline March 25, some teams positioned themselves to fight for an NBA championship, while others made poor trades that could severely affect them in the future.

Best trade: Rajon Rondo to the Clippers

After last year’s disappointment in the playoffs, as well as other teams like the Lakers and Nets strengthening, it seemed as though the Los Angeles Clippers’ title chances were slowly fading. However, after trading Lou Williams for Rajon Rondo, the Clippers have reinserted themselves back into the title conversation. 

Despite having a great roster, the Clippers lacked a true playmaking point guard. Rondo not only has great experience, but he’s also an incredibly smart guard. In addition, Rondo played for the Lakers last year, so he understands their playbook, which could prove to be vital for the Clippers if they have to play them in the playoffs. 

Also, Rondo is known for elevating his game in the playoffs, something every team could use. Overall, he is the missing piece the Clippers needed and boosts their chances of a championship, making this the best trade. 

Worst trade: Nikola Vucevic to the Bulls

In attempt to start a rebuild, the Orlando Magic traded Nikola Vucevic to the Chicagof Bulls in what I think was the worst deal this trade deadline. The Bulls will love this deal because they picked up a two-times All-Star, who averages 24 points and 11 rebounds, per Basketball Reference. However, the Magic got very little in return for Vucevic. According to ESPN, in the trade the Magic received Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two future first round picks. When trading someone with Vucevic’s skill and production, the team needed to receive more in the trade. 

According to Sportac, Porter Jr. will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning unless the Magic want to pay up for a big contract – which Porter Jr. will want –  they will lose him to another team.

 Moreover, considering the Bulls now have Vucevic and Zach Lavine, they are more likely to be competitive for a playoff spot. This is relevant because it’s not as though the Magic are receiving top 10 draft picks; the picks they’ll receive will most likely be anywhere from the 15-30th overall pick.

Therefore, the Magic traded their star center Vucevic for a young, yet unproven Wendell Carter Jr., two late first round picks and Otto Porter Jr., who will likely leave in the summer. I was incredibly unimpressed with the Magic on this trade; this has to be the worst move this trade window. 

I was incredibly unimpressed with the Magic on this trade; this has to be the worst move this trade window. 

Most surprising moment: Kyle Lowry stays with Toronto

Kyle Lowry staying with the Toronto Raptors shocked me. Lowry is an excellent point guard in the NBA, and his talent is being wasted on the 11th place Toronto Raptors, per the NBA website. An aging point guard like Lowry should not stay on a team that clearly won’t make the playoffs, especially when he would be extremely valuable to any playoff teams looking to push for a championship. 

According to Basketball Reference, this year, Lowry averages over 17 points per game and seven assists. Along with his great skill on the court, Lowry also offers playoff experience having won a championship with the Raptors in 2019. A team like the Philadelphia 76ers or the Los Angeles Lakers should have traded for Lowry because he would have skyrocketed their chances of winning the championship this year. 

Also, a trade for Lowry would have as they would have been able to receive players/picks for an aging Lowry, as well as clear up cap space. Cap space is a max on how much teams can pay their plays, and with more cap space it would allow the Raptors to rebuild. Any trade involving Lowry would have been a win-win for both sides.

 Due to the value of Lowry, and the Raptors poor record this year, I was really surprised that Lowry wasn’t traded before the NBA trade deadline. 

My favorite move: James Harden to the Nets

My favorite trade made this season is James Harden going to the Brooklyn Nets. Not only did the Nets solidify themselves as championship favorites, they gave up very little in the trade.

 As part of the Harden trade, the Nets traded Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince to the Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as Caris LeVert, Rodions Kurucs, three first round picks and four first round pick swaps to the Houston Rockets, per the NBA Website.

Right now Harden is the best offensive player in the NBA. According to Basketball Reference he averages 25 points per game, eight rebounds per game and 10 assists per game. With the addition of Harden, the Nets are currently the best team in basketball due to their unmatched offensive talent. The Nets kept their core players throughout the trade period and added one of the best players in the NBA to their roster. This makes the Nets clear championship favorites, making the Harden trade my favorite move this season.

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About the Contributor
Spencer Towfighi
Spencer Towfighi, Lead Sports Editor
SSpencer Towfighi (’23) is the Lead Sports Editor for The Standard. Towfighi is entering his second year as an editor, and he enjoys writing sports features and articles regarding social justice issues in sports. Outside of The Standard, he spends his time playing football and tennis, working on the Social Justice Council and spending time with his friends.

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