Rumors of the Orlando Magic trying to trade high-flying forward Aaron Gordon have been prevalent in recent years. Gordon stagnated and even regressed in some areas for the Magic in his sixth year with the team, notching just 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. His shooting efficiency dropped as well, knocking down just 43.7 percent of his field goals and 30.8 percent from downtown.
The Magic actually had faith that Gordon could be their franchise star when they gave him a four-year, $80 million extension in 2018. However, the franchise is now entertaining offers for the 6-foot-8 athletic marvel. While Jonathan Isaac’s knee injury may ultimately lead to Orlando keeping Gordon for a while longer, it’s no secret that he could still be dealt.
Gordon should have no shortage of suitors this offseason, even if he hasn’t lived up to that potential just yet. The University of Arizona alum, after all, is just 25 years old and maybe just needs a fresh start.
Let’s visit the five best trade scenarios the Magic should consider for Aaron Gordon.
Golden State Warriors
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has expressed his desire to have a more athletic lineup next season, and Gordon is arguably one of the best pure athletes in the game right now. The Bay would be an ideal situation for AG, considering he wouldn’t be asked to do too much offensively. Plus, a potential Draymond Green-Aaron Gordon frontcourt for Golden State does seem intriguing. There have been been Gordon-Warriors rumblings in the past.
The Warriors have an expendable big contract in Andrew Wiggins to use in a deal. The Magic would almost certainly want a sweetener to take on that massive Wiggins contract, though, so youngsters like Eric Paschall or Jordan Poole could also be on the table. There would also likely be other moving parts to match salaries and make it a fair trade. Losing Paschall might sting for the Dubs, especially after being one of the few bright spots from their disastrous 2019-20 campaign.
Still, Golden State should pull the trigger if it means getting a forward of Gordon’s caliber.
The Nets are reportedly aggressively seeking a third All-Star to pair with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving next season. Bradley Beal’s name often comes up at the top of Brooklyn’s list, but it might be tough to get him. The Nets do have a need for a proven slasher in that starting lineup, and Aaron Gordon would fill that void perfectly. The high-leaping forward would have a field day catching lobs, especially with defenses clamping on Durant and Irving.
Granted he hasn’t made an All-Star team just yet, but Gordon’s skill set might actually be a better fit for the Nets next season. The Magic have long been looking for a go-to scorer in the backcourt, and Brooklyn could give them a walking bucket like Spencer Dinwiddie. Benchwarmers like Dzanan Musa and Nicolas Claxton could be added to sweeten the deal and satisfy the cap rules.
Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon’s names will forever be intertwined after that iconic duel in the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest. The Bulls might look to shake things up a bit with a new front office in town and Billy Donovan now holding the coaching reins. A potential LaVine-Gordon pairing would easily give Chicago one of the most athletic lineups in the league. Gordon is also an underrated defender who would make the Bulls more versatile on that end.
Chicago actually has several assets it could offer for Gordon. Orlando would probably love to get its hands on Coby White, but it’s hard to see the Bulls going for that. Perhaps a swap involving either Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr. plus more salary (Thaddeus Young or Tomas Satoransky) would do the trick.
The Timberwolves are keen on acquiring Devin Booker to reunite him with good friends Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. The Phoenix Suns, however, have shown no indication that they will let go of Book. Minny might as well go for another young guy who’s actually on the market. Aaron Gordon’s supreme athleticism would fit well with the Timberwolves’ young nucleus. He’d be a fantastic third option for head coach Ryan Saunders, who could maximize his physical gifts to the fullest.
From a salary standpoint, the Wolves could use James Johnson as trade bait for a Gordon deal. But for this to happen, Johnson must first exercise his $16 million player option for 2020-21 — which he will likely do anyway. Of course, the Magic would require much more value than this, so they would then likely look for a young talent and/or a first-round draft pick in addition to make it worth it.
San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan reportedly isn’t in love with San Antonio, so perhaps something could be worked out here. A straight-up Aaron Gordon-DeMar DeRozan swap probably doesn’t get it done, so Orlando could just add Al-Farouq Aminu to make the numbers work.
While Gordon is not the superstar San Antonio needs to return to its glory days, he would be a nice piece moving forward. Plus, it would be interesting to see if the great Gregg Popovich could unlock Gordon’s true potential. AG’s athletic prowess could make him a terror on both ends of the floor under the right guidance.
All signs point to DeRozan picking up his $27.7 million player option next season, so this trade scenario could actually come to fruition.