Josh Robbins: Aaron Gordon was asked what an “ideal” contract would be when he becomes a restricted free agent in July. His answer: “Ideal is max. That would be ideal. Three letters. … Definitely here.”
With Aaron Gordon headed toward the uncertainty of restricted free agency, the talented 22-year-old forward could have been playing his final game with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night – a potential proposition that he not only doubted, but also refused to entertain. ``Not even in the least bit,’’ Gordon said. ``It’s a short time between the (June 21) draft and when free agents are available (July 1), but at the same time it’s a long time if that makes sense. There’s a lot that can happen within two-to-three months. But (Wednesday), I’m just looking to have fun.’’
The restricted-free-agent market might have more realistic targets for the Spurs. Aaron Gordon and Jabari Parker are intriguing options; the Spurs could fit either into their cap space (even if they extend Leonard) if they choose not to re-sign any pending free agents and the players with options decide to test the market.
League sources told Sporting News this week that the Suns are expected to be suitors for Gordon, who starred at Arizona for one memorable season. Phoenix has ample cap room and a roster in need of more proven players.
Another team with interest in Gordon, according to sources, would be the rebuilding Mavericks, who have been eager to find a budding star to fill in alongside Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr., softening the blow of Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement, which could come in just months.
The Pacers intend to investigate restricted free agents, too, hoping to add young talent to an improving roster. Still, if any team makes a formal offer, the Magic can match it.
The prevailing thought around the Magic is that forward Aaron Gordon is going to be retained this summer and that deals involving him would have to return a proven All-Star. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards. The dream scenario would be to offload the contract of Bismack Biyombo, but no one is taking that contract off the Magic’s hands.
The improvement comes as Gordon is poised to become a restricted free agent this summer, but Hammond sounds convinced that both Gordon and the Magic will be able to come to terms on a long-term contract keeping him in Orlando. "You look at a guy like that and say, 'He's one of those guys as you move forward with, that you got to have,'" Hammond said. "And we feel that way."
There are other financial reasons for Orlando to sign the floor-spacing big man to a deal as opposed to matching an offer sheet. If Gordon signs with another team, forcing the Magic to match in order to keep him, that would give him an automatic no-trade clause for the first year of his deal, as well as a trade kicker, which would force Orlando to pay him a percentage of his contract even if they decided to trade him. Whenever the Magic decide Gordon is their guy, it makes more sense – both fiscally and emotionally – to sign him straight up, and not let his potential flirtation with other teams get too intense.
Many players in the Class of 2014 already have been washouts. There is one — Magic forward Aaron Gordon — who has significantly upped his play in the early going this season and is in line for a big payout next summer. Orlando had talks with Gordon about an extension last month, but there was not much urgency. The Magic’s new front office was willing to wait to see what they had with Gordon this year before committing big money, and Gordon was willing to gamble on a breakout season that would guarantee him something in the range of a max deal next summer.
September 27, 2021 | 3:37 pm EDT Update
Kelly Iko: Stone says John Wall sacrificed a ton for the team last year. “Part of our conversations were making sure everyone ends up in a good place.”
September 27, 2021 | 3:31 pm EDT Update
Anthony Chiang: Victor Oladipo said he hopes to be back on the court “sooner rather than later” but did not give a definitive timetable for his return from May knee surgery. pic.twitter.com/gIM6P4ZA1z