NBA Trade Deadline 2021: Date, End Time, Hottest Rumors, Predictions and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

NBA Trade Deadline 2021: Date, End Time, Hottest Rumors, Predictions and More

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    The 2021 NBA trade deadline is rapidly drawing closer. Teams can still make in-season trades now, but that will change on Thursday, when the deadline strikes. After 3 p.m. ET on March 25, trades will have to wait until the offseason.

    Unsurprisingly, the rumor mill is running at full speed so close to the deadline. There aren't as many big names circulating as in years past, but this is largely due to the flurry of moves that occurred in the offseason and earlier in the year.

    James Harden, for example, made his way from the Houston Rockets to the Brooklyn Nets in January. He'd probably be the biggest name on the market right now if he hadn't already made his move.

    Still, some quality players are likely to change teams in the next 48 hours or so. Let's dig into some of the latest trade-related buzz.

Kings Looking to Move Marvin Bagley III

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    There has been some trade buzz surrounding Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III over the past month, but it's mostly been chatter and not active negotiation.

    "Rival executives say Bagley III is up for discussion in trade talks, but the interest in him is widely seen as minimal because of his struggles these past two seasons," Sam Amick and Jason Jones of The Athletic wrote.

    However, it appears Sacramento is now actively trying to move the 22-year-old before the trade deadline. According to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, the Kings were recently rebuffed by the Detroit Pistons.

    "The Sacramento Kings have made the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NBA draft available for a trade, with the Kings recently being turned down by the Detroit Pistons, having offered Bagley III for promising rookie Saddiq Bey, league sources told Yahoo Sports," Haynes wrote.

    While there may not be a ton of interest in Bagley at a high price point, it seems like at least one contender would be interested if the price reaches bargain territory. He hasn't been spectacular, but he was averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds heading into Monday night.

    Bagley should be viewed as a competent role player, and if the Kings are eager to deal him as such, they should be successful.

    Prediction: Bagley is traded before the deadline.

Mutual Interest Between Heat, Kyle Lowry?

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry remains one of the biggest names left on the trade market, though he isn't exactly eager to leave his current situation. If he is traded, though, he'd reportedly like to land with the Miami Heat.

    "Lowry recently said he wants to retire with the Raptors even if he needs to sign a one-day contract. But if he gets dealt, league sources say his preferred destination is Miami because of his close friendship with Jimmy Butler," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote.

    This should be music to the ears of the Heat, who have made some recent moves but maintain interest in Lowry.

    "The Heat remain active. They have kept tabs on Kyle Lowry, sources said, though it might be hard for Miami to cobble an attractive enough package given they cannot trade any first-round picks unless they lift protections on the 2023 pick they owe," ESPN's Zach Lowe wrote.

    The problem is, as Lowe pointed out, that Miami isn't loaded with draft assets it can trade. The Heat could look to include players in a package, but with the team firmly in playoff contention, moving a key contributor is almost certainly out of the question.

    Prediction: Miami does not acquire Lowry.

Teams Interested in Lonzo Ball

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball hasn't quite developed into a superstar, and his shot remains uneven—he's shooting just 42.5 percent from the floor. However, he could be a valuable role player for a contender.

    The 23-year-old is averaging 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

    According to O'Connor, the Pelicans aren't necessarily inclined to move Ball now, but teams are interested.

    "There's skepticism around the league that the Pelicans will move Lonzo Ball ahead of the deadline, but that won't stop teams from trying. League sources say the Bulls and Hawks are both in pursuit," O'Connor wrote.

    Obviously, a lot will hinge on what sort of offers come New Orleans' way in the next two days. However, now could be the right time to maximize Ball's trade value. The Pelicans are currently on the outside of the playoff race and may be inclined to cash in before he potentially leaves in the offseason.

    Ball will be eligible to receive qualifying offers after the season.

    Prediction: New Orleans moves Ball before the deadline.