Certain teams face difficult decisions over the coming weeks: whether or not to sign prospective restricted free agents to long-term extensions before the league-imposed deadline at the start of the 2017-18 regular season. If these franchises choose to pass, they will be forced to haggle with players’ agents next offseason; feelings could get hurt, offers sheets could be signed and overall, the circumstances get a bit stickier. We explore these situations in depth.
Today: Aaron Gordon
Why would Orlando extend Aaron Gordon?
Aaron Gordon is known best for the show he put on during the 2016 NBA Dunk Contest.
However, don’t be mistaken: The guy isn’t solely an athletic specimen.
Gordon is coming off the most productive season of his young career. He averaged 12.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per contest.
And the Magic were 9.3 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the floor.
Frank Vogel played him at small forward for a large portion of last year, but his best position is power forward, where he can use his ball-handling and athleticism to blow by traditional big men.
When used properly, Gordon can be a truly versatile weapon.
Why would Orlando pass on extending Gordon?
Gordon’s raw averages were solid, but his efficiency was terrible. The Magic forward shot 28.8 percent from three on the year. And he made just 45.4 percent of his shots overall.
Can he refine his outside shot enough to become a threat from three?
It’s difficult to envision a career 28.9 percent three-point shooter improving enough to change his career outlook.
Will Vogel use him correctly going forward, playing Gordon at power forward as opposed to on the wing?
That will ultimately decide whether he can be anything more than just a role player.
What deal makes sense for both parties?
Gordon is talented and possesses unique athleticism. But he has struggled to produce during his time on the floor.
Based on his play thus far as a pro, a two-year, $22 million extension, with a player option after year-one, would be fairest.