NBA Trade Deadline 2021: Time, Latest Rumors and Predictions

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IMarch 25, 2021

NBA Trade Deadline 2021: Time, Latest Rumors and Predictions

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    By 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, the landscape of the NBA could look different—because that's the time of the trade deadline for the league's 30 teams for the 2020-21 season.

    Rumors have been swirling about potential deals, and they will likely continue right up until the deadline. Some could come to fruition, as big-time players may end up changing teams. But there could also be some that don't materialize into trades, leaving some players staying put heading into the final two months of the regular season.

    Here's some of the latest buzz surrounding several top players, along with predictions for which team each will be on after the trade deadline passes.

Will Lowry Be Leaving Toronto for New Team?

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Kyle Lowry's NBA career began with the Memphis Grizzlies and was followed by a stint with the Houston Rockets. However, he will largely be remembered for his time with the Toronto Raptors, who he's played for the past nine seasons. But the 35-year-old point guard could soon be on the move for the first time in nearly a decade.

    According to Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer, the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have remained in pursuit of Lowry. But Fischer points out that Lowry has a salary of $30 million this season, and the Raptors would likely want a large return.

    ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said, "don't rule the Lakers out" of a Lowry trade during an appearance on the Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special on Wednesday (h/t Bleacher Report's Tyler Conway). And Fischer reported that Los Angeles "became open to discussing" Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with other teams.

    Toronto is 18-26 this season, and Lowry is set to become a free agent this summer. So it would make sense for the Raptors to deal him now, if they're able to find the right trade partner.

    Who could that be? The prediction here is that it will be the 76ers. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a league executive believes the 76ers could acquire Lowry in exchange for Danny Green, Tony Bradley, Mike Scott, Tyrese Maxey and a draft pick, with Philadelphia being willing to include a first-round selection. That's a deal that could make sense for both sides, and the 76ers would be getting a strong player to help them make an NBA title push.

    Prediction: Lowry traded to 76ers

Where Will Drummond Be Heading Next?

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Having not played since Feb. 12, Andre Drummond has very likely played his final game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 27-year-old center has been out of action while the team explores potential trades, and if he isn't dealt, he'll be a potential buyout candidate.

    There continue to be rumors of teams having an interest in trading for Drummond, though. On Wednesday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that the New York Knicks had "emerged as a serious potential destination" for Drummond. But would the Knicks want to add a player who would likely take playing time away from center Mitchell Robinson?

    If Drummond ends up not getting traded, has his contract bought out and becomes a free agent, it appears plenty of teams would be interested. Wojnarowski said during Wednesday's Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special that the Lakers, Heat, Nets, Clippers, Celtics and Mavericks would be interested (h/t Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors).

    While Drummond has continued to play at a high level when he's been on the court, he's making $28.75 million this season and is set to become a free agent this summer. So it seems quite possible that he won't be traded and the Cavaliers will buy out his contract.

    Should that happen, the prediction here is that Drummond will sign with the Lakers. Not only will Los Angeles get a dominant big man to add to its rotation, but Drummond will have an opportunity to try to win the NBA title for the first time in his nine-year career.

    Prediction: Drummond gets bought out and signs with Lakers

Is Oladipo Going to Be Leaving Houston?

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    On Wednesday night, Wojnarowski reported that the Houston Rockets had continued to "be engaged on several fronts in trade talks" for shooting guard Victor Oladipo. So, after getting dealt from the Indiana Pacers in a four-team trade on Jan. 13, Oladipo could soon be on the move again.

    If the Rockets opt to trade the 28-year-old Oladipo, they could get a decent return. Wojnarowski noted during the Woj & Lowe Trade Deadline Special that he believed Houston could acquire a mid-first-round draft pick in exchange for Oladipo (h/t Adams).

    During that special, Wojnarowski noted that the Knicks are unlikely to be a potential suitor for Oladipo. However, the ESPN reporter shared that the Portland Trail Blazers had been "very active" in trade talks and that they could potentially have interest in Oladipo.

    While Wojnarowski reported that Oladipo has a "long-term interest" in heading to Miami, there's been a reluctance from the Heat to trade for him, as they could instead pursue him when he becomes a free agent after the season.

    With Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum already in its guard rotation, Portland's lineup could become even stronger with the addition of Oladipo. So while the Heat remain a possibility, the prediction here is that Oladipo will be dealt to the Trail Blazers, who will then make a strong push into the postseason.

    Prediction: Oladipo traded to Trail Blazers