Happy trade deadline day! The deadline for deals is noon on the West Coast, and as of this morning we did get an intriguing swap between Chicago and Orlando.
The Bulls landed big man Nikola Vucevic and Al-Farouq Aminu in exchange for Otto Porter Jr., Wendell Carter and two first-round picks. As of now, they are reportedly pursuing Lonzo Ball as well, clearly trying to make a push for their first postseason berth since the 2016-2017 season. Vucevic is a solid scorer who can stretch the floor, and will fit very well alongside Zach LaVine running pick-and-pops that will force opposing centers to come out to the perimeter.
How much this improves the Bulls’ chances to win an Eastern Conference that has a clear gap between the top three and the rest of the conference remains to be seen, but clearly Chicago is focused on competing for a seat at the table now.
Updated injury reports can be found here.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
*Indicates team is on the second leg of a back-to-back.
The Main Event
Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat (-4, 218.5)
The offense for Miami has completely disappeared. During this 0-4 SU and ATS slide, the Heat's offensive rating of 102.6 is last in the league, and as a team they are shooting 27.7% from beyond the arc. The Heat’s shooting being an issue is not necessarily a surprise(they are 28th in 3-point shooting at 34.7%, but what has been surprising is the struggles at the basket. Miami is the league’s second-best team in terms of rim shooting (68.6%), but over this four-game losing streak the team has hit just 55.2% (64-of-116) of their attempts within four feet. These struggles matter in a matchup with Portland, because the Trail Blazers really have trouble keeping opponents out of the paint.