2021 NBA Trade Deadline: Who Adds Their Missing Link?


FOX Sports

Left: Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors Middle: Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic Right: Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards


This year’s NBA Trade Deadline ends on March 25th, 2021, at 3 pm eastern time. The overall purpose of a trading deadline is to level the competitive balance towards the end of the season, and the NBA’s version is no different. Plenty of teams could make moves that could push them into the playoff picture, or make them championship contenders right now, and there are several players that could help those teams fill that role. Here is a list of the top ten players, in no particular order, that NBA teams should be looking to add to their rosters.


1. Nikola Vucevic: Orlando Magic – Vucevic was already a good player for the Orlando Magic, as he made his second all-star team this season, and he is also a great three-point shooter. In order for the Orlando Magic to make this move, it would take a lot of money and a lot of draft picks in order for this to follow through, which is why most people don’t expect this to happen. But, Vucevic would be a valuable asset to any roster because of how improved his game has become.


2. Victor Oladipo: Houston Rockets – Victor Oladipo was involved in the four-team trade that ultimately sent James Harden from Houston to the Brooklyn Nets and sent Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers to the Houston Rockets. Ever since James Harden was traded, the Rockets have been a dumpster fire, losing twenty straight games at one point. Even though Oladipo has a concerning injury, it looks like the Rockets’ roster is about to blow up, so some teams might be cautious, but Oladipo could be on the move soon.


3. Bradley Beal: Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal is one of the best scorers in the game today, but it’s his misfortune that he’s playing on one of the worst teams in basketball in the Washington Wizards. Washington has continued to maintain its position that Beal isn’t going anywhere. Beal is averaging over 30 points a game and is shooting nearly 60% from the field. He’s 27 years old and is starting to enter the prime of his career, so It’s understandable that the Wizards would do everything in their power to keep him, but if they got an offer like the Houston Rockets got for James Harden, would they really turn that down?


4. Lauri Markkanen: Chicago Bulls – As a Bulls fan, it pains me to put Lauri Markkanen on this list, but when you’re 7ft, can shoot from 3, and are an unrestricted free agent after the season, you become a valuable asset to a number of NBA teams. Markkanen is still a liability on defense, though, and can go through periods where he’s wildly inconsistent. If Chicago intends to make the fourth overall pick from this past year’s draft, Patrick Williams, a full-time starter, a Markkanen trade would be the easiest way to get there. 


5. DeMar DeRozan: San Antonio Spurs – It seems like DeMar DeRozan has been put up consistent all-star numbers for the better part of a decade, and has had an All-Star-caliber season this year with the San Antonio Spurs, once again making improvements as a passer and attempting more shots from three. The Spurs rarely make in-season trades, which most likely assumes that DeRozan isn’t going anywhere, but unless the Spurs plan on re-signing him, they have to at least look at the market and discuss the potential offers that they could receive.


6. Kyle Lowry: Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry is also been a perennial all-star ever since he got traded to the Toronto Raptors, and now has valuable championship experience. The Raptors’ slow start led other teams to assume that Lowry might be on his way out. If Lowry tells Toronto that he doesn’t plan on re-signing as a free agent, the Raptors front office would try to move him. The main players in the Kyle Lowry sweepstakes are the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers, and most believe that Lowry will be traded very soon.


7. Lonzo Ball: New Orleans Pelicans – Lonzo Ball has made great strides since the Los Angeles Lakers selected him as the number two overall pick in the 2017 draft out of UCLA. He was involved in the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Since the beginning of February, Ball has shot 43% from the 3-point line on eight attempts per game, and the Pelicans‘ offense has soared. Given his continued brilliance as a passer and a defender, New Orleans might be content on keeping him. The price has gone up exponentially, and championship contenders may be looking the Pelicans’ way to get that missing piece.


8. Andre Drummond: Cleveland Cavaliers – Andre Drummond is one of the better defensive players in this league, but he hasn’t played since Feb. 12th. His days in Cleveland were numbered ever since he became involved in the James Harden trade. There is an abundance of NBA teams that can use the 27-year-old center, provided that he is willing to accept a significantly smaller offensive role than the one he’s been playing. The problem is that he makes almost $29 million and the NBA has rules about salary-matching. Last year, the Detroit Pistons dumped him to the Cavs for expiring contracts and a 2023 second-round pick. Now, Andre Drummond is on an expiring contract, and it’s hard to imagine a team giving up real assets for such an expensive player. 


9. Aaron Gordon: Orlando Magic – Aaron Gordon has been on lists like this for almost two years now. He is on the second-to-last year of his contract and is making $18.1 million this season and would make $16.4 million in 2022. He’s been out since the beginning of February with a sprained ankle, but at his best, he’s an elite defender capable of guarding any player in the league, and he would become more efficient with a smaller role on a better offensive team.


10. Norman Powell: Toronto Raptors – Norman Powell is one of the best role players in the NBA. For the championship contenders in need of a scoring punch, Powell would be a home-run addition. In 86 games from the beginning of the 2019-20 season to this year’s All-Star break, he averaged 20.7 points per 36 minutes on 62.3 percent true shooting, and his numbers got even better when he became a starter. Toronto could decide to keep him and try to upgrade the roster to make a playoff push, but this comes with a huge risk: Powell is probably going to decline his $11.7 million dollar player option next season, and, at 28 years old in a player-friendly market, he will be expensive to bring back in free agency.