Grading Every NBA Team's 2021 Trade Deadline
The 2021 NBA trade deadline did not disappoint.
With 17 total trades stretching out across 23 teams, there was plenty of action, including a complete tear-down of the Orlando Magic.
Aaron Gordon, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, George Hill, Norman Powell, Evan Fournier, Gary Trent Jr. and JJ Redick were some of the biggest names on the move, while the Toronto Raptors surprised nearly everyone by holding on to Kyle Lowry.
Only five of the 30 teams failed to make any sort of the deal in the last week, meaning there are only a few incomplete marks to be handed out here.
For the other 25 squads, here's how their 2021 trade deadlines graded out.
The Nets already pulled off the biggest trade of the season when they acquired James Harden, so limited assets meant a quiet deadline in Brooklyn.
Using Spencer Dinwiddie's contract as a salary-matcher offered some flexibility, but keeping him around for next year is a smart long-term play. Like with the Blake Griffin signing, expect Brooklyn to be one of the premier destinations for players who get bought out.
The Pacers' big move was also in the James Harden deal, flipping Victor Oladipo for Caris LeVert, a move the Houston Rockets surely regret now.
Myles Turner could have brought back a nice return, but he's still young and under contract until 2023, so there wasn't any rush to move him. Just getting a healthy LeVert back should be a big plus, and Indiana now gets to evaluate its new core for the first time before making any major roster shakeups.
Los Angeles Lakers
Like the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers are low on trade assets but will be one of the most attractive landing spots for those (Andre Drummond?) who get bought out.
There was some Kyle Lowry noise for a while, but it was hard to imagine other teams couldn't easily beat whatever package the Lakers put together.
At 21-20, the Grizzlies were stuck between being buyers and sellers but chose to keep their young core together while awaiting the eventual return of Jaren Jackson Jr. from knee surgery.
Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson would have helped championship contenders, but the Grizzlies must not have liked the return for either enough to make a deal.
Despite showing interest in young power forwards like John Collins and Aaron Gordon, the Wolves made no moves to add talent. And despite owning the worst record in the NBA, they surprisingly didn't trade any away, either.
After being one of the most active teams a year ago, the Wolves seem perfectly fine trying to get their young core healthy and see how everything meshes together first.
Additions: G Lou Williams, 2023 second-round pick, 2027 second-round pick, cash
Losses: PG Rajon Rondo
Perhaps the Hawks' most important move is something they didn't do: trade John Collins.
While there was some buzz about trading the restricted-free-agent-to-be, Atlanta's recent success (8-2 in its last 10 games) meant moving the team's second-leading scorer without a massive return may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the guys.
Keeping Collins and figuring out his contract this offseason was the right call.
As for their lone trade, getting Williams and draft compensation for Rondo was a huge win. A three-time Sixth Man of the Year, Williams is averaging 14.9 points, 3.8 assists, 1.1 steals and is shooting 38.9 percent from three over his last 22 games.
The Hawks are 29th overall in bench scoring this season (31.2 points per game) and now get $7.5 million of cap space next season by flipping Rondo for Williams.
Additions: G/F Evan Fournier, F/C Mo Wagner, C Luke Kornet
Losses: $17 million in trade exception money, F/C Daniel Theis, PG Jeff Teague, SG Javonte Green, $1.3 million, two second-round picks
While names like Aaron Gordon, Harrison Barnes and other power forwards were brought up before the deadline for Boston to use its $28.5 million trade exception on, settling for Fournier, another wing, feels unsatisfying.
The 28-year-old is having a fine season (19.7 points, 3.7 assists, 38.8 percent from three), but he's likely to become a backup unless the Celtics want to use Jayson Tatum at power forward again. Gordon would have been a far better addition, especially since Boston had the capability to top the Denver Nuggets' offer.
While the asking price for Fournier (two seconds) was fairly low, losing the majority of the exception for a player who doesn't fill a huge need and can walk as a free agent after the season seems like a risk.
Theis was a solid starter for Boston, one who now becomes a casualty of ownership not wanting to dip into the luxury tax.
At 21-23, the Celtics had to do something, but not addressing the frontcourt was a mistake.
Additions: PG Brad Wanamaker
The Hornets didn't make any all-in moves at the deadline despite sitting in fourth place in the East, a likely result of LaMelo Ball's recent wrist surgery.
This didn't stop Charlotte from making any moves entirely, however, as getting Wanamaker for basically nothing gives the Hornets another ball-handler off the bench.
While he's been awful for the Golden State Warriors this season, Wanamaker was an effective backup last year behind Kemba Walker with the Boston Celtics. While Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier will run the show in Charlotte, Wanamaker gives them an insurance policy for a team that's still chasing the playoffs.
The 31-year-old isn't going to make a big difference, but the Hornets didn't have to give up any draft picks or players for him, either.
Additions: C Nikola Vucevic, PF Al-Farouq Aminu, F/C Daniel Theis, SF Troy Brown Jr., Javonte Green, $1.3 million
Losses: C Wendell Carter Jr., F Otto Porter Jr., C Daniel Gafford, C Luke Kornet, 2021 first-round pick (top-4 protected), 2023 first-round pick (top-4 protected)
Already looking like a play-in team, the Bulls showed they're serious about making the playoffs in the East this season and for years to come.
Vucevic—a 2021 All-Star putting up 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 steals and shooting 40.6 percent from three—is the best player to switch teams at the deadline. He's a massive upgrade over Carter and someone the rest of the Bulls can play through.
While Carter rarely ventured outside the three-point line, Vooch is a terrific floor-spacer. His passing should open everything up for a Bulls team lacking a traditional floor general and that ranks 25th this season in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.63).
Theis becomes a reliable backup, and Brown, 21, was the 15th overall pick in 2018 who carries upside. Getting top-four protections on both first-round picks was particularly important as well.
Chicago essentially loses its 2021 cap space, but getting Vucevic (who's under contract until 2023) is worth it.
Additions: C Isaiah Hartenstein, 2023 second-round pick (top-46 protected), 2027 second-round pick
Losses: C JaVale McGee, C Andre Drummond (buyout)
The Cavs made their big move in January by bringing in Jarrett Allen, so all the attention now became focused on their other centers in Drummond and McGee.
Cleveland got good value for McGee, who they originally were given a future second-round pick for taking on. Hartenstein, 22, fills the backup center role behind Allen that McGee was playing and has some upside as a shot-blocker and finisher around the rim.
Not finding a trade partner for Drummond is disappointing, even if Cleveland only had to give up a future second-round pick for him a year ago. In the end, choosing not to trade him for a draft pick was fine if it meant taking back a significant salary in return. The Cavs can certainly use the $28.8 million in salary relief this offseason.
Take the Allen trade out of the equation (which was the season's best move), and the Cavs' deadline was just OK.
Additions: SG JJ Redick, PF Nicolo Melli
Losses: PF James Johnson, F Wesley Iwundu, 2021 second-round pick
Despite saying Dallas wouldn't make a move unless it was for a game-changing star, Mark Cuban and the Mavericks added a role player in Redick.
Redick should be a nice addition to the Mavs when he returns from a heel injury, as the 36-year-old was shooting 46.4 percent from three over his final 15 games with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Meli gives Dallas a veteran floor-spacer off the bench, one who hopefully rediscovers his shot after a brutal year with the Pelicans thus far.
The Mavs missed the floor-spacing that Seth Curry provided them with last year, an area Redick can certainly make up for. That's worth a second-round pick.
Additions: PF Aaron Gordon, C JaVale McGee, F Gary Clark
Losses: SG Gary Harris, SG RJ Hampton, C Isaiah Hartenstein, 2025 first-round pick (top-5 protected, converts to 2026 and 2027 with same protection), 2023 second-round pick (top-46 protected), 2027 second-round pick
The Nuggets, one of the big winners of the deadline, put themselves in contention for a legitimate run at the NBA Finals.
Gordon is the kind of strong, athletic switchable defender Denver will need against the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, DeMar DeRozan and others in the playoffs, and he's a willing passer who's shooting a career-high 37.5 percent from three. He and Michael Porter Jr. make a dangerous forward combo between Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
McGee is one of the league's best backup centers, an effective shot-blocker who complements Jokic perfectly.
Adding Gordon and McGee while keeping Porter, Bol Bol and only giving up one draft pick of value is a huge win.
Additions: PG Cory Joseph, 2021 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick
Losses: PG Delon Wright
While there were sure to be nice offers for Jerami Grant, kudos to the Pistons for keeping their prized free-agent acquisition on the roster.
Moving Wright for Joseph keeps a veteran point guard on the roster for Killian Hayes to learn under, all while adding a pair of picks to the rebuild.
Trading Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in February and later buying out Blake Griffin took some of the sizzle out of the deadline for the Pistons, who relied on a small but sensible deal instead.
Golden State Warriors
Additions: Draft rights to C Cady Lalanne, cash
Losses: PG Brad Wanamaker, F/C Marquese Chriss
Choosing to hang on to Kelly Oubre Jr. was surprising, as the Warriors are now in danger of losing the free-agent-to-be for nothing this offseason. Well over the luxury tax, Golden State won't have cap space to sign a replacement, either.
The Warriors smartly held on to both James Wiseman and the Minnesota Timberwolves' 2021 top-three protected pick with no superstars available, focusing on trimming down their tax bill instead.
Moving Wanamaker and the injured Chriss cut $11 million off the luxury tax and created two small trade exceptions for Golden State moving forward, per ESPN's Bobby Marks.
With Klay Thompson missing the season because of injury, the Warriors weren't interested in going all-in just yet, but doing nothing to improve a 22-23 roster in danger of missing the playoffs was disappointing.
Additions: SG Avery Bradley, F/C Kelly Olynyk, PG DJ Augustin, PF DJ Wilson, 2022 first-round pick swap (with Miami Heat), 2023 first-round pick (via Milwaukee Bucks), right to swap 2021 second-round pick with Milwaukee Bucks 2021 first-round pick
Losses: SG Victor Oladipo, P.J. Tucker, F Rodions Kurucs, 2022 first-round pick
This was the Rockets' last chance to load up on assets before Oladipo and Tucker hit free agency, yet Houston can't walk away feeling good about what it got in return.
The Tucker trade was OK, essentially letting Houston move up in this year's draft while swapping the Bucks' 2022 unprotected pick for their 2023 version. With his reasonable salary number ($8 million) and defense appealing to nearly every contender, the Rockets probably should have gotten more for Tucker.
The whole Oladipo situation was a disaster. Caris LeVert is 26, on a team-friendly contract until 2023 and is starting to put up big games for the Indiana Pacers. The Rockets chose Oladipo instead of LeVert in the James Harden trade and now have essentially nothing to show for it.
Both Bradley and Olynyk aren't going to be part of a rebuild, and the pick swap is a joke. There's zero chance the Rockets finish with a better record than the Miami Heat next season, meaning the swap will be useless.
Houston was easily the biggest loser of the deadline.
Los Angeles Clippers
Additions: PG Rajon Rondo, 2022 second-round pick (protected)
Losses: G Lou Williams, 2022 second-round pick (top-55 protection), 2023 second-round pick, 2027 second-round pick, Mfiondu Kabengele, cash
While Kyle Lowry would have been a dream target, the Clippers just didn't have the assets to get him or even Lonzo Ball for that matter.
Rondo mostly coasts through the regular season at this stage of his career, but we've seen him turn in clutch playoff performances time and time again. This move isn't going to bump the Clippers up in the standings but could pay big dividends in the postseason.
With Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Reggie Jackson at point guard this season, the Clippers have ranked just 24th in team assist percentage. Rondo gives them a willing ball-mover who makes life easier for Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Losing Williams hurts, as he was coming on strongly over the past month following a slow start. Having to attach a few draft picks seemed excessive as well, given that Williams is probably the better player overall.
The Clippers were desperate for playmaking and this was their most affordable path to it, even if they gave up too much. A straight Williams-for-Rondo swap was more than fair for Atlanta.
Additions: SG Victor Oladipo, F Trevor Ariza, PF Nemanja Bjelica
Losses: SG Avery Bradley, F/C Kelly Olynyk, F Maurice Harkless, F/C Meyers Leonard, F Chris Silva, 2022 first-round pick swap (with Houston Rockets), 2027 second-round pick
The Eastern Conference officially became a four-team race.
While the Heat are still 7.5 games away from catching any of the top three seeds, this is a team no one will want to face come playoff time.
Getting Oladipo for essentially nothing was a no-brainer, especially if Miami was the destination he wanted to go to all along. A rejuvenated Oladipo who doesn't have to play a primary role should thrive, and this gives the Heat a trial run to evaluate his fit before any big contract gets handed out this offseason.
Ariza is 35 but should be well-rested after nearly a year away from basketball and could become a valuable rotation piece come playoff time. Bjelica helps make up for the floor-spacing lost by trading Olynyk. All three players are on expiring deals, helping Miami make a title run now while keeping cap space open this summer.
Getting three quality players while only giving up a second-round pick six years from now is about as good as it gets.
Additions: PF PJ Tucker, F Rodions Kurucs, 2022 first-round pick, cash
Losses: PG DJ Augustin, PF D.J. Wilson, F Torrey Craig, 2023 first-round pick, right to swap 2021 first-round pick with Houston Rockets 2021 second-round pick
While the Bucks didn't do anything on deadline day, getting Tucker last week from the Houston Rockets still makes them a winner going into the stretch run of the season.
The Bucks were low on tradable assets, and agreeing to move back in the 2021 draft was smart. They also received their own 2022 first-round pick back (in exchange for their 2023 version), setting up potential draft-day upgrades a year earlier.
A frontcourt of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tucker is devastating defensively, with either able to switch between playing and defending the 4 and 5.
Losing Augustin is unfortunate, and the Bucks should be eyeing the buyout market for potential replacements (Jeff Teague?) for a new backup point guard.
New Orleans Pelicans
Additions: PF James Johnson, F Wesley Iwundu, 2021 second-round pick
Losses: SG JJ Redick, PF Nicolo Melli
With Lonzo Ball's name popping up in trade rumors, the Pelicans made the smart move by holding on to their 23-year-old point guard. With Zion Williamson on his rookie contract until 2023, an extension for Ball isn't going to ruin the franchise financially and shouldn't have been a reason to move him.
Redick looked like he was headed toward a buyout at some point, so kudos to David Griffin and Co. for getting a second-round pick in this year's draft for him.
Johnson is on an expiring deal, and Iwundu is only owed $1.8 million next season. Both have rotation potential for now.
The Pelicans are loaded with future first-round picks and young talent whenever the next superstar comes on the market, but for now they were fortunate to get anything in return for Redick, especially with other veterans (Andre Drummond, LaMarcus Aldridge) getting bought out.
New York Knicks
Additions: SF Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, 2021 second-round pick
Losses: G Austin Rivers, SF Iggy Brazdeikis
With Andre Drummond's name being linked to the Knicks, New York settled on a much smaller deal that found Rivers a new home while bringing in some minor assets.
Drummond can still be signed using the team's nearly $15 million in cap space following his buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers, meaning the Knicks get a win just for not giving up anything in a trade for him.
Ferguson is still just 22 but has shown nothing offensively now in his fourth year in the NBA. He's played a total of 49 minutes for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, making one of his seven total shots. It would be a surprise to see him even make the rotation.
Getting a second in this year's draft gives the Knicks four total selections, giving them some flexibility to move up.
Previously trading for Derrick Rose was the big move for New York. Given the tiny price the Miami Heat had to trade for Victor Oladipo, however, it's worth wondering why the Knicks didn't bring in the two-time All-Star as well.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Additions: C Tony Bradley, G Austin Rivers, 2025 second-round pick, 2026 second-round pick, 2027 second-round pick
Losses: G George Hill, F Trevor Ariza
At some point, this draft pick compiling has to stop. For Sam Presti, deadline day was not that day.
Tacking on three second-round picks to his collection means the Thunder now have 17 first-round picks and 17 second-round picks over the next seven drafts.
Hill and Ariza were never part of the franchise's long-term plans, so getting some draft capital back was a natural conclusion. Rivers gives OKC a usable vet in the backcourt before he's inevitably traded for more picks, and Bradley is a young center you can build your franchise around (at least according to Joel Embiid).
Nothing too wild here for the Thunder, who are eventually going to trade up to No. 1 overall in every single draft.
Additions: C Wendell Carter Jr., SG RJ Hampton, F Otto Porter Jr., Gary Harris, Jeff Teague, 2021 first-round pick (top-4 protected, via Chicago Bulls), 2023 first-round pick (top-4 protected, via Chicago Bulls), 2025 first-round pick (top-5 protected, converts to 2026 and 2027 with same protection, via Denver Nuggets), two second-round picks
Losses: C Nikola Vucevic, PF Aaron Gordon, G/F Evan Fournier, PF Al-Farouq Aminu, F Gary Clark
The Magic finally did what they should have done a year or two ago, getting themselves out of basketball purgatory and charging full-steam ahead at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Trading Vucevic was a tough decision, but he's at the absolute pinnacle of his value. Chicago's pick is currently 10th overall and will almost certainly stay out of its protection range, giving the Magic three picks in the top 34ish overall.
While the three first-round picks coming back are nice, the play of Carter and Hampton will truly tell how these trades end up for Orlando. Carter was the seventh overall pick in the draft just three years ago, with injuries delaying any real progress thus far. He and 2018 sixth overall pick Mo Bamba give the Magic two young, high-ceiling centers to build around now.
Hampton is extremely raw but can play three positions. A backcourt of he, Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony should be fun to watch, even if there's a lot of bumps along the way to becoming a contender.
One underrated addition is the $17 million trade exception picked up from the Fournier trade, one that Orlando now has a full year to use.
Overall this was a pretty solid return, especially if Carter and Hampton become stars.
Additions: G George Hill, SF Iggy Brazdeikis
Losses: C Tony Bradley, SF Terrance Ferguson, C Vincent Poirier, 2021 second-round pick, 2025 second-round pick, 2026 second-round pick
Not getting Kyle Lowry is a disappointment for a team that has to compete with the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the East, but Philly should be thankful no one else got the six-time All-Star, either.
Settling for George Hill has its perks as well. The 76ers didn't have to trade Danny Green to match salaries for a player like Lowry and turned three rarely used backups into an important rotation piece in Hill instead.
Getting a veteran point guard allows Ben Simmons to be used both on and off the ball, and Hill is a proven floor-spacer who led the NBA in three-point shooting a year ago (46.0 percent).
The Sixers didn't have to sacrifice any first-round picks, and Hill is on a team-friendly $10 million deal for next season ($1.27 guaranteed).
Philly got better without sacrificing any current or long-term flexibility. While Lowry would have been the ultimate prize, there's nothing to dislike about this trade for Hill.
Additions: F Torrey Craig
The Suns were able to get Craig from the Milwaukee Bucks without giving up any players or picks in return, giving them a versatile defender who can play up and down the lineup.
The results through three games have been solid.
Craig is averaging 7.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 15.7 minutes, starting 9-of-15 from the field (60.0 percent) and 4-of-5 from three (80.0 percent).
The 30-year-old brings 33 games of playoff experience over the past two years (14 starts) to a Suns roster that's lacking on postseason trips. At 29-14, Phoenix didn't need to make any major moves, so picking up Craig for next to nothing was a smart play.
Portland Trail Blazers
Additions: SG Norman Powell
Losses: SG Gary Trent Jr., SF Rodney Hood
Aaron Gordon would have been an ideal target for Portland. Going after a veteran point guard to help spell Damian Lillard was a need as well.
Instead, the Blazers still got a great player in Powell, although one who isn't a perfect fit for the roster.
The 27-year-old is enjoying a career year with 19.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals and is shooting just under 50 percent (49.8 percent) for the season. His 43.9 percent clip from three is 10th-highest in the NBA.
While the Blazers can certainly use his production, Powell lacks the size to play small forward (6'3", 215 lbs), meaning he'll have to come off the bench or else Portland is going to be extremely small with a three-guard lineup.
Giving up Trent is risky as well. The 22-year-old was a restricted free agent, meaning his return to the Blazers next season was essentially guaranteed. Powell carries a player option, one he'll likely not opt into while looking to cash in on the open market as well.
Trent was the Blazers' best young trade asset, so they need Powell to work (and stay) or they've made a terrible mistake.
Additions: PG Delon Wright, F Chris Silva, SF Maurice Harkless, SG Terence Davis, Mfiondu Kabengele, 2022 second-round pick (top-55 protection, via Atlanta)
Losses: PF Nemanja Bjelica, PG Cory Joseph, 2021 second-round pick (via Memphis), 2021 second-round pick (via Lakers), 2022 second-round pick, 2024 second-round pick
Why is Buddy Hield still in Sacramento?
If anyone needed a change in scenery it was Hield, whose numbers have slipped for the third consecutive season. Perhaps teams are hesitant to take on his contract, but there's no reason for Hield to stay with the Kings with rookie Tyrese Haliburton playing so well.
Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III stayed put as well, making it a somewhat boring deadline for the Kings. At 20-25, Sacramento did little to improve the roster while also failing to add any significant young talent or draft picks.
Wright is an upgrade at the backup point guard position, but he does nothing to make this a playoff team.
The Kings keep spinning their wheels.
San Antonio Spurs
Additions: F/C Marquese Chriss, cash
Losses: F/C LaMarcus Aldridge (via buyout), draft rights to C Cady Lalanne
The Spurs finally made a midseason trade!
Marking the first time since 2014, the Spurs technically agreed to a deal even though Chriss may never play a game for San Antonio while he heals from a broken leg before becoming a free agent this offseason.
Taking on Chriss's contract helped shave money off the Golden State Warriors' tax bill while netting the Spurs some cash in the process.
San Antonio was unable to find a trade partner for Aldridge (although he might as well have been flipped for Andre Drummond, another buyout guy), so getting nothing for the seven-time All-Star was a disappointment.
The Spurs made no upgrades to a roster that desperately needed some to make it past the first round of the playoffs, assuming they make it that far. DeMar DeRozan can also walk as a free agent this offseason now, as the Spurs neither traded nor extended the veteran wing.
San Antonio didn't really get better or worse and won't last long in the playoffs as a result.
Additions: SG Gary Trent Jr., SF Rodney Hood, two future-second round picks
Losses: SG Norman Powell, SG Terence Davis, SG Matt Thomas
The stage was set for Kyle Lowry's exit from the Raptors, one that will be put on pause at least until this offseason. Not finding a trade partner was surprising, especially considering how much the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat could offer.
Dumping Davis and Thomas to open up a pair of roster spots seemed to signify a multiplayer trade involving Lowry was coming as well.
Moving Powell for Trent was a smart move, given the latter is five years younger and will be a restricted free agent this offseason. He and Fred VanVleet have the makings of a terrific backcourt for years to come and give the Raptors insurance in case Lowry walks as a free agent now.
At 18-26, the Raptors are in a weird position by not trading the 35-year-old Lowry, especially with the Chicago Bulls sitting a game ahead of them and clearly going for the playoffs by adding Nikola Vucevic.
Getting Trent still makes this a good day for the Raptors, even if holding on to Lowry ends up being a mistake.
Additions: SG Matt Thomas
Losses: 2021 second-round pick (via Golden State)
With the Toronto Raptors looking to clear roster spots, presumably for a Kyle Lowry trade return, the Jazz took advantage and got Thomas for a second-rounder.
For a team that already ranks second in the NBA in three-point shooting (39.7 percent), the rich get richer.
The 26-year-old Thomas has hit 45.7 percent of his threes over a two-year career, giving Mike Conley Jr. and Donovan Mitchell a target to kick out to.
With the NBA's best record at 32-11, the Jazz didn't really need much. Adding a wing defender would have been nice, but teams aren't exactly looking to give those away.
Given how little they had to give up, this was a "why not?" move for Utah.
Additions: C Daniel Gafford, SF Chandler Hutchinson
Losses: SF Troy Brown Jr., F/C Mo Wagner
The Wizards held on to Bradley Beal as expected, meaning we should get a few months of quiet before trade chatter involving the star shooting guard picks back up again.
Washington simply moved some young players around and was smart to grab Gafford, a 22-year-old center who should immediately start. He has elite shot-blocking potential and is a strong finisher around the rim who rarely leaves the paint on offense. Gafford is on his rookie deal until 2023, and the Wizards have time to develop him.
Losing Brown and Wagner isn't fun, but the former just couldn't crack the rotation with Deni Avdija now on board. Wagner showed floor-spacing potential, but the Wizards needed a rim protector next to forwards Davis Bertans and Rui Hachimura more.
The trade does nothing to get Washington out of the bottom of the East this season, but Gafford has a shot at being the team's center of the future.