Kyle Lowry wound up staying with Toronto after all. Victor Oladipo is finally in Miami, a destination he's eyed in the past. And Rajon Rondo is headed back to Los Angeles, though not with the team he helped win the NBA title last season.
The trade deadline has come and gone. And now, playoff pushes can really begin.
Miami, Denver, the Clippers, Portland, Dallas, Boston and Atlanta were likely among the teams feeling convinced that they improved on deadline day after a flurry of moves Thursday, though the best player — at least this season — might have been landed by the Chicago Bulls. They got All-Star forward Nikola Vucevic from Orlando, a move that ushered in the start of a big-time rebuild by the Magic.
“Anytime you trade a player like Nikola, it is a tough decision to make," Magic President Jeff Weltman said.
Vucevic is the only player from this season's All-Star Game to be traded at the deadline. It was a steep price; Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu went to the Bulls for Otto Porter, Wendell Carter Jr. and two future first-round selections.
“Usually, you don’t get too many chances at All-Star-level players," Bulls executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas said. “And we were fortunate to get it done."
The Magic traded three of their four leading scorers; in addition to the Vucevic move, Evan Fournier was sent to Boston and Aaron Gordon is headed to Denver. Acquiring Gordon was part of a bold day for the Nuggets, who also got JaVale McGee — part of three of the last four NBA championship teams, two with Golden State and last year with the Lakers — through a trade with Cleveland.
And Toronto made one move of significance, sending Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers for Rodney Hood and Gary Trent Jr. But Lowry — a free-agent-to-be and considered perhaps the biggest prize on this year's trade market — did not get traded, the Raptors apparently unable to find enough assets to their liking.