NBA Trade Rumors: How do Trades Affect Top Shot Value?
by Jordan Kligman
The NBA season is over, but we didn’t have to wait long for the action to pick right back up. We’re already in the midst of offseason chaos, with non-stop trades and free agent acquisitions, with many players finding new homes.
From what we saw during Series 2 at the trade deadline on March 25, when a player gets traded or moves teams, their value can shift rapidly on NBA Top Shot.
During the NBA Draft, when Russell Westbrook was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, we saw the same results. Westbrook’s Series 2 Base Set Moments jumped 97 percent in total transactions compared to the days prior. And this trade is just the beginning of an exciting NBA offseason.
In Top Shot terms, get ready to see some prices fluctuate between certain players and their Moments based on the teams they’re moved to, though often this fluctuation is reactive and short-lived.
Today, we’ll be reviewing two examples of Moments from players traded before the 2020-2021 trade deadline and four potential players on the move during free agency who could shift the Top Shot market to a degree.
What happens to Moments when a player gets traded?
But first, if you don’t know what happens to players’ Moments when they get traded or change teams, here are the basics:
- Moments change from “Circulating Count” (CC) to “Limited Edition” (LE), which means those Moments will stop being minted.
- If a player gets traded while they have a Moment still hidden in packs (and already minted), they will continue to be distributed.
- These Moments do not get burned.
Now that we understand the fundamentals, let’s look at what happened to two players’ debut Moments when they were dealt at the deadline.
Trade Review: Center Nikola Vučević traded to the Bulls
Nikola Vučević is one of the most underrated and least talked about centers that we have in the league today. But that’s what playing in Orlando for nine seasons will do to you. He can post up, hit the three, hit free throws, and defend.
Last season, Vučević put up 23 points a game while hauling in 12 boards. In fact, in two of his past three seasons, Vučević has averaged a 20 point double-double (averaged 19.6 points in 2019-20) and led the Orlando Magic to the Playoffs in 2018 and 2019. He has quite the resume for how little he gets talked about.
But, when the Chicago Bulls made a move for Vučević at the trade deadline; immediately, collectors took notice. Like every other Moment, Vučević’s Series 1 debut was dipping after the late February surge, but suddenly, it saw a spike.
As you can see, Vučević’s debut Moment was plummeting until he got traded, when there was a surge of transactions. Knowing that no more Moments would ever be minted of Vučević in a Magic jersey, collectors rushed to pick up his debut Moment. After sales around $200 the day before he was traded, the floor soared to nearly $500 ($490 for #1,347) after the trade.
As seen in the chart of sales prices above, the trade temporarily halted the declining price and set a temporarily floor around $350 in the days after the trade. But after the news had passed, the price continued to depreciate with the rest of the market.
But, some of you might argue, “Vučević is a well-known player, so obviously collectors would pounce on his Moment right when they heard the news.” Well then, let’s look at a role player and see if his Moment had any effect when he was traded, as well.
Trade Review: Guard Delon Wright traded to the Kings
At first, this section was supposed to be about Victor Oladipo, but like Vučević, he could be a little too well known, too. So, I went out looking at all the role players traded before the deadline and stumbled upon Delon Wright, who only has four Top Shot Moments. Certainly, role players don’t see as large of an uptick relative to their prices the same way as All-Stars — right? Wrong.
Now, when you compare Vučević to Wright, there’s a stark difference in their stats and career. Wright is what you call a journeyman in the NBA. Despite only being in the league for six seasons, Wright’s been on five different teams compared to Vučević’s three teams in ten seasons. And for his career, Wright only averages eight points a game, with his best season being this year, averaging 10 points.
Yet despite this, when Wright was traded from the Pistons to the Kings, his debut Moment saw the same results as Vučević’s: an instant increase.
Again, like Vučević’s debut Moment, Wright’s debut Moment had started its descent. And those two increases after the gargantuan February spike? The first is the day Wright was rumored to be traded, and the second is the day Wright was traded. On the day he was traded, the floor ascended from $79 to $121, with three-digit sales as high as $135.
This shows that no matter the player, whether they’re an All-Star or a role player, when a player switches teams, their Moments — especially their more limited debut Moments — often see substantial growth. However, just a few days after the trade, the Moment will begin to move with the market again.
NBA Players with Trade Rumors in the 2021-22 Offseason
Now that we’ve acknowledged that Moments often increase when players are traded — let’s look at some of the bigger names that could be swapping threads, paired with their best Moments on Top Shot. We’ve already seen some big trades, like Russell Westbrook to the Lakers, Devonte’ Graham, Kemba Walker to the Thunder,
Lillard has grown disgruntled in Portland with their inability to build a winning roster around him, and rumors have swirled everywhere. If you think Lillard is on his way out and don’t have a Moment of his in your collection, I’d look at his Series 1 Moment against the Golden State Warriors for $110. In the Moment, he drains a game-tying three, finishing the affair with a franchise-record 61 points and eleven threes.
It seems like the only likely scenario between the Portland Trailblazers is they either: keep Lillard and McCollum, trade only McCollum, or trade them both. McCollum is an enticing trade chip if the Trailblazers are looking to give Lillard reinforcements, as McCollum’s averaged 20 points the last six seasons, but no team has bit.
McCollum has a plethora of flashy Moments on Top Shot, but the one that strikes me is his Series 2 MGLE for $106. In it, he drains a game-winning three, with a cheeky celebration in the end. You can also get his Top Shot Debut, minted to 3,999, for only $49.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, “the Sixers continue to canvass the league for Ben Simmons trades – armed with a steep asking price.” It sounds like Simmons’ time is finished in Philadelphia, but he should be an enticing trade asset to a team like Portland, potentially in a deal for Lillard. For Simmons Moments, my favorite has to be his debut Moment, minted to 1,359, where he sends the game to overtime after a missed free throw.
Buddy Hield is a flat-out sharpshooter. In the last three seasons, he’s continued to find himself in the top five in total 3-pointers made, finishing second in that category the last two seasons. Apparently, a deal was already in place for Hield to join the Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, but the Lakers quickly pivoted to Washington, where they acquired Russell Westbrook instead.
But with the Kings selecting Davion Mitchell, they now have a backcourt comprising: De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Mitchell, and Hield. With that crowded backcourt, one’s surely gotta go, and Hield seems to be the most likely. Right now, you can get Hield’s Top Shot debut Moment for only $35, with legit star potential for this 28-year-old if he can make his way out of Sacramento.
Have questions about NBA Top Shot or potential NBA offseason moves? Find me on Twitter: @TopShotTips.