OS: A perception is that the Magic cannot afford to lose Aaron and not have anyone to show for the years that preceded your arrival. Is that accurate? Weltman: I don’t think of it in those terms. I just [ask], “Is it a good match for the player? Is it a good match for the team, both on the court and organizationally?” And if so, you can find a way to make things work. That’s generally what happens, and I believe that those things line up well in this situation. And we just hope for the best.
OS: How do you plan to approach Aaron Gordon’s pending restricted free agency? Weltman: We’ve worked hard to establish a relationship with Aaron and learn him and he learn us. And, obviously, a big part of this is just having relationships with his representatives and just having discussions with him as we move forward and start to see if there’s a middle ground that we can reach and strike a deal. And we’re hopeful that we can do that.
Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports joined Chris Mannix on the Chris Mannix Show to begin discussing free agency and said the executives around the league largely expect the Magic to match any offer for Gordon — even a max offer sheet. “I think both teams are aware they need to go to max numbers for them,” Charania says about the impending free agency for Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine. “But the question is will they make them go get a sheet. The sentiment I’ve gotten is if Zach LaVine goes and gets a max, we have too much invested in them. Same with Aaron Gordon.”
The Orlando Magic power forward, who will become a restricted free agent in July, was asked this question Thursday: “What would be the ideal situation for you in a contract in the offseason?” “Ideal is max,” Gordon answered, referring to a maximum-salary contract. “God, that would be ideal: three letters.” “Here?” the reporter asked, referring to the Magic. “Yeah, definitely here,” Gordon said.
“Hopefully, we just wrap it up with Orlando,” Gordon said. “It would be a beautiful thing to go from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best teams in the league. It’s a beautiful story. It’s a challenge, and that’s something that I look forward to and I accept: that challenge, along with the teammates that we have here. I think that if we keep building, we have the capability.”
“We face a few free-agent issues, and obviously Aaron would be at the top of that list,” Weltman said. “I can’t comment too deeply on that other than to say Aaron has a lot of potential. He’s a hard worker. And we will have substantive talks with his agent. Whether we can get something done, we’ll see. But I know that he wants to be here and we’d like to keep him.”
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 21, 2021 | 9:35 pm EDT Update
Landry Shamet: Happy Retirement my friend. Showed me what it meant to be a pro the first day I met you. Forever grateful for you taking me under your wing. Thank you @jj_redick ✊🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/Fw997NAglH
Keith Smith: Kevin Pangos got part of the Non-Taxpayer MLE from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a two-year deal: 21-22: $1,669,178 22-23: $1,752,637 Second season is fully non-guaranteed, becoming fully guaranteed on on the league-wide date of 1/10/22. @spotrac
Shams Charania: LeBron James organizing Lakers team minicamp in Las Vegas ahead of training camp – a similar chemistry-building function to the one hosted before the 2020 title season. Details: pic.twitter.com/Z9c4JnSW1E
The Vertical: Steph and Ayesha Curry renewed their wedding vows and their daughter Riley officiated 💕 (via @ayeshacurry) pic.twitter.com/UuqD0NruCc