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2021 NBA Trade Deadline: Four Canadians on the move

The 2021 NBA Trade Deadline saw a record four Canadians on the move. Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph, Mfiondu Kabengele and Ignas Brazdeikis will have new starts with new teams.

Canadians On The Move 2021 NBA Trade Deadline
Canadians On The Move 2021 NBA Trade Deadline - illustrations: Edilson J. Silva

The NBA Trade Deadline has transcended from a relatively low-key event, to becoming a must attend social Twitter gathering.

Fans, players, analysts and the community at large congregate on the social media network awaiting the next #WojBomb or #ShamBomb.

Emoji culture in full effect like a March Madness full court press, goodbyes and welcomes have all become a part of the #NBATwitter fabric — that not only has kept the social platform relevant, but also helped the NBA reach and deliver their brand message to a younger audience.

As the number of Canadians in the NBA continues to rise, the marquee date will not only grow in relevance, it will become “must watch social news”.

The 2021 NBA Trade Deadline day involved a total of 16 trades, featuring 23 teams and 46 players — the most ever in each category in the past 35 year. On the Canadian side of thing, a record four Canadians switched teams. Below is a quick recap of all the players that were involved in trades.

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Cory Joseph – Detroit Pistons

Sacramento Kings Cory Joseph Traded To Detroit Pistons
Sacramento Kings Cory Joseph defended by New Orleans Pelicans’ Nickiel Alexander-Walker. The Kings traded Cory Joseph to Detroit Pistons – Photo: NBA

The highly anticipated 24 hours kicked in the early hours with the Sacramento Kings sending the ten-year NBA veteran and two 2024 second-picks to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Delon Wright.  

Joseph is midst of having a productive season contributing 6.7 points, 2.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game in 21.5 minutes of action. The veteran Canadian guard played spent two seasons with Sacramento appearing in 116 total games. The Pistons will be his fourth NBA team after he began his career with the San Antonio Spurs in 2011-12.

Mfiondu Kabengele – Sacramento Kings

Mfiondu Kabengele 2019 Nba Draft
Canadian forward Mfiondu Kabengele at 2019 NBA Draft – Photo: NBA

It hasn’t exactly been the start that most expected for Kabengele. The Los Angeles Clippers have been stacked in the front court and opted to traded Mfiondu Kabengele, a future second-round pick and cash to the Sacramento Kings for a protected future second-round pick. According to league source, the Kings are expected to release forward/center Mfiondu Kabengele.

Kelly Olynyk – Houston Rockets

Miami Heat Kelly Olynyk Blows By Lakers Lebron James
Miami Heat Kelly Olynyk Blows By Lakers Lebron James – Photo: Miami Heat

The Miami Heat and Houston Rockets pulled the trigger on a last minute trade that sent Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Victor Oladipo.

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Olynyk is having arguably the best year of his NBA career averaging 10 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists in 43 games with the Heat. The Kamloops, British Columbia native started a career-best 38 games with the Heat this year and is shooting 43.1% percent from the floor and .317% from three-pointer as per the 2020-21 BasketballBuzz Canadian NBA Stats Tracker.

The trade will mark Olynyk’s third NBA team since being selected by the Boston Celtics in 2014.

Ignas Brazdeikis – Philadelphia 76ers

New York Knicks Ignas Brazdeikis Box Out Against Toronto Raptors
New York Knicks Ignas Brazdeikis Box Out Against Toronto Raptors

Ignas Brazdeikis, selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft is on the move. The Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder agreed on a three-way trade that will send the left-handed Lithuanian/Canadian native to the Philadelphia Sixers, his second team since joining the NBA

Most recently, Brazdeikis led all nine Canadians assigned to the 2021 G League Bubble, posting a near double-double with 20.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 12 games with the Westchester Knicks.

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