Aurélie SACCHELLI, published on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 11:19 p.m.
The last day of the NBA trading period started off strong, with the departure of two Orlando stars, Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic, to Boston and Chicago, respectively. Vincent Poirier, meanwhile, is heading to New York as part of a three-franchise trade, but he should be cut. Victor Oladipo, Rajon Rondo and JJ Redick also changed teams.
It was expected, it is now official (well almost, it is at least announced by the always well informed Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN): Orlando changes while separating from his two stars on the day of the end of the period Exchanges. Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic, great friends in life, leave the Magic to join Boston and Chicago respectively. The 28-year-old Frenchman, who landed in Florida in 2014 after two seasons in Denver, who drafted him in 20th position, came to the end of his contract this summer, and Orlando preferred to make him leave by recovering two second rounds of draft, rather than to leave it free in a few months. Fournier will therefore join a legendary team, the Boston Celtics, who are struggling at the moment (8th in the Eastern Conference), but who have good chances of playing the play-offs, which should not be the case for Orlando (again less without his Fournier-Vucevic duo!). Excellent in recent games, including the basket of victory against Phoenix on Wednesday, Fournier turns this season to 19.7 points, 3.7 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 26 games (he missed 18 games due in particular to a back injury). After the game against the Suns, he had made no secret of his emotion at the idea of leaving Orlando, but the full-back always said he wanted to join a team fighting for the title. That might not be the case this season, but if he stays in Massachusetts beyond this summer, that could change …
The big shot of the Bulls
Chicago, currently tenth in the Eastern Conference, struck a big blow by picking up Nikola Vucevic. The 30-year-old, two-time All-Star Montenegrin is averaging 24.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists this season in 44 games, and his association with Zach LaVine should put the Bulls on a milestone and find the play-offs, after four years of absence. Al Farouq Aminu (30, 5.5 points and 5.4 rebounds on average this season) also leaves for Illinois. In exchange, the Magic get Wendell Carter Jr (soon 22, 10.9 points and 7.8 rebounds), Otto Porter (27, 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds), and two first rounds of the 2021 draft. and 2023. The Florida franchise has decided to start from scratch, and a third major Magic player is packing his bags, in the person of Aaron Gordon. The 25-year-old winger, drafted by Orlando in 2014 (14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds on average this season), joins Denver, along with Gary Clark (26 years, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 rebounds) . In exchange, the Nuggets send Gary Harris (26, 9.7 points average), RJ Hampton (20, 2.6 points) and a first round draft in Florida.
McGee comes home, Powell to Portland
Before these big transfers, the first “trade” of the day concerned Denver and Cleveland. Indeed, the Cavs sent their 33-year-old pivot JaVale McGee (8 points and 5.2 rebounds averaging this season), to the Nuggets. This is a homecoming for the three-time NBA champion with Golden State (2017, 2018) and the Lakers (2020), since he had already worn the Denver jersey from 2011 to 2015. In exchange, the franchise Colorado sends German hub Isaiah Hartenstein (22, 3.5 points average this season) and two second round draft pickups in Ohio. Toronto, like Orlando, may change part of its roster this Thursday, and it started with the departure of Norman Powell in Portland, in exchange for Gary Trent Jr and Rodney Hood. The Blazers add a scorer to their roster with Powell, who runs 19.6 points and 3 rebounds average since the start of the season, but lose a Trent Jr who runs at 15 points, while Hood was only a player of complement (4,7pts). The Raptors also sent 26-year-old full-back Matt Thomas (2.7pts) to the Utah side, receiving a second-round draft in exchange. 23-full-back Terrence Davis is also leaving Canada, heading for Sacramento, in exchange for a second round draft. On the other hand, Kyle Lowry, the emblematic player of the Canadian franchise, will not finally leave.
Poirier at the Knicks in a three-way trade
In addition, a three-team trade has been concluded between Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and New York, which sends George Hill from the Thunder to the 76ers, Tony Bradley and two second round drafting from the 76ers to the Thunder, Austin Rivers from the Knicks to the Thunder, Iggy Brazdeikis of the Knicks to the 76ers, and Terrence Fergusson and Vincent Poirier of the 76ers to the Knicks. After only playing 22 games (6 minutes on average) for his first NBA season in Boston, the 27-year-old French hub failed to bounce back to Philadelphia, with just 10 games played and 4 minutes on average. The former Euroleague top rebounder would have liked to try to truly launch his NBA career in New York, where he should have reunited with compatriot Frank Ntililina, but according to ESPN, he’s going to be cut by the Knicks. Among the other trades of the day, we will also note the departure of Troy Brown and Mo Wagner from Washington, towards Chicago, which sends Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchinson towards the capital. In the process, the Bulls traded Mo Wagner on the Boston side, in exchange for Daniel Theis. Nemanja Bjelica leaves Sacramento for Miami, while Moe Harkless and Chris Silva go the other way. 31-year-old point guard Brad Wanamaker is leaving Golden State for Charlotte. The Warriors are also parting ways with 23-year-old strong winger Marqueese Chriss, who heads to San Antonio, to Spurs who unsurprisingly freed LaMarcus Aldridge from his contract.
Oladipo renforce le Heat
Arrived in January in Houston from Indiana as part of the four-team trade that led James Harden to Brooklyn, Victor Oladipo has finally played only 20 games with the Rockets (21.2pts, 5bds, 4.8rbds from average in Texas). The 28-year-old will indeed return to the Eastern Conference, on the Miami side. For its part, the Heat separates from Avery Bradley (8.5pts on average), arrived in the offseason from the Lakers, and Kelly Olynyk (10pts, 6.1rbds), who will discover the Western Conference after having wore the Boston jersey, and therefore Miami jersey since 2017.
A Rondo – L.Williams, Redick exchange in Dallas
Sacred NBA champion last season with the Lakers, Rajon Rondo returns to Los Angeles, but due to the Clippers. The 35-year-old point guard, who arrived in Atlanta last offseason, will have played 27 games with the Hawks, for 15 minutes of playing time on average (3.9pts, 3.5pds). He will know his eighth team in just over six years. Rondo will cross paths with Lou Williams (34, 12.1 points), who joins Atlanta, he who remains on a disappointing start to the season with the Clippers (whose jersey he has been wearing for three and a half years), with “only “12.1 points on average (18.2 last year). The California franchise is also sending a second round draft to Georgia. At 36, JJ Redick (8.7pts on average this season) will know his sixth franchise, leaving New Orleans for Dallas, which sends in exchange James Johnson and Wes Iwundu.