This year’s NBA trade deadline didn’t disappoint. While a few of the bigger names stayed put—point guards Kyle Lowry and Lonzo Ball remained with their respective teams—the deadline still delivered plenty of theatrics with Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Rajon Rondo, Lou Williams, George Hill, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon and JJ Redick among players dealt at Thursday’s 3 PM ET deadline.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Thursday’s flurry of activity represented the busiest NBA trade deadline in 35 years. In total, 16 deals were brokered involving 23 teams and 46 players, not to mention all the draft capital that switched hands.
While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what led to Thursday’s unusually hectic deadline, this year’s expanded playoffs could have something to do with it. With the 7-10 seeds in each conference subject to a “play-in” round, fringe playoff teams like the Bulls see an opening that may not have existed otherwise, hence Chicago putting on the full-court press for Vucevic.
A logjam in the standings—seeds 4-10 in the Eastern Conference are currently separated by just three games—and the seeming vulnerability of injury-compromised contenders like the Lakers (LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both out indefinitely) and Sixers (Joel Embiid remains on the shelf with a knee injury) may also have been factors in Thursday’s whirlwind of trades.
With the trade deadline passed, teams will now turn their attention to the buyout market for upgrades. Former All-Star Andre Drummond and LaMarcus Aldridge figure to be the main attractions there with the latter expected to join Miami in the coming days.
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