First things first, you have to feel badly for Orlando Magic fans. When it was all said and done following the busiest NBA trade deadline in history, Orlando had traded five players, including their two biggest stars, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. While the Magic got some decent players in return, the team is clearly looking ahead to a full rebuild, hoarding a bevy of first and second round picks through the 2025 draft. Until then, Orlando, much like its theme parks, is pretty much on hold.
Elsewhere in the league, things were a lot more magical. The Denver Nuggets were the big winners in the trade bonanza, as they added Gordon to their already formidable starting lineup. Denver also bolstered their bench by adding big man JaVale McGee, who played with the team from 2012-15. The Chicago Bulls also made moves for the postseason, adding Vucevic from the Magic, then acquiring Daniel Theis and Troy Brown Jr. as part of a three-team deal with the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards. And after arriving in Houston as part of the James Harden trade, Victor Oladipo is on the move again, this time to Miami.
Those were probably the splashiest trades, but several smaller deals could pay off come playoff time. Boston upgraded its shooting with the acquisition of Evan Fournier, the surging LA Clippers copped a key piece of last year’s Lakers’ title team—Rajon Rondo—from the Hawks, and Portland added depth behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum by trading for Raptors guard Norman Powell. Speaking of Toronto, it looked like they would be trading arguably the most popular player in franchise history, Kyle Lowry, but according to NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, they couldn’t get a can’t-miss offer for the veteran. Raptors fans probably don’t mind.
When it was all said and done, there were 16 trades involving 23 teams and 46 roster players, all of which were NBA trade deadline day records. So the NBA begins this week looking quite different than it did just a few days ago. To help familiarize yourself with the new landscape, check out this week’s national TV schedule below. To get the most NBA basketball on Sling, sign up for Orange + Blue with Sports Extras using the link at the bottom of this page.
National TV games March 29-April 4
|Monday, March 29|
|7:30 PM||Pelicans at Celtics||NBA TV >|
|10:00 PM||Bucks at Clippers||NBA TV >|
Tuesday, March 30
|9:00 PM||76ers at Nuggets||NBA TV >|
Wednesday, March 31
|7:30 PM||Mavericks at Celtics||ESPN >|
|10:00 PM||Bucks at Lakers||ESPN >|
Thursday, April 1
|7:30 PM||Hornets at Nets||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||Nuggets at Clippers||TNT >|
Friday, April 2
|7:30 PM|| Mavericks at Knicks
||NBA TV >|
|10:00 PM||Bucks at Trail Blazers||NBA TV >|
Sunday, April 4
|3:30 PM||Lakers at Clippers||ESPN3 >|
|7:30 PM||Warriors at Hawks||NBA TV >|
|10:00 PM||Magic at Nuggets||NBA TV >|
*All games subject to blackout
Find a full schedule of NBA games HERE >
For more on watching NBA Basketball, including with NBA LEAGUE PASS and NBA TEAM PASS, find information HERE >
Upcoming Game of the Week
Denver Nuggets at LA Clippers
Thursday, April 1, 10pm ET, TNT
As mentioned above, the Nuggets were the big winner at the trade deadline, and based on Sunday’s thrashing of the Hawks, early results are very promising. With Nikola Jokic now the favorite to win MVP and Michael Porter Jr. emerging as a major offensive threat, Denver is filthy with individual talent in their team-oriented system.
Thursday’s game against the Clippers could provide a window into the Nuggets’ potential. After struggling with injuries around the All-Star break, a mostly-healthy Clippers squad has won six in a row, including decisive wins over Eastern Conference powers Philly and Milwaukee. Denver’s stunning comeback over the Clippers in last year’s playoff bubble adds a little extra spice to an already delicious showdown.
Primetime Performance of the Week
The middle of the East is a mess, with just four games separating the Hornets in fourth and the Bulls in tenth. At 23-24, Boston is currently in the center of that mushy middle, but Friday night against the Bucks, Jayson Tatum did his part to lift his team, leading the way with 34 points in a win that snapped Milwaukee’s eight game winning streak.
Dunk of the Week
With apologies to Ja Morant, who has been dunking like there’s helium in his shoes, Giannis gets the nod this week. Tacko Fall is 7’5”; it should be physically impossible to dunk on this man. So, hitting the lane at full speed, Giannis simply Eurosteps around him for an impossibly athletic jam. Tacko’s bewildered face says it all. Same, bro. Same.
Smart Choice Assist of the Week
With a new generation of young point guards on the rise, we’ve been some gorgeous passing this NBA season. But, similar to the Giannis dunk above, sometimes brute force is all you need. Case in point: De’Aaron Fox simply chucking the inbound pass all the way up to Harrison Barnes at the three-point line, who drained the buzzer-beating shot to give Sacramento the win. After the game, Fox let reporters know, “I did play quarterback growing up.” We could tell, De’Aaron.
LOL of the week