NBA rumors: Celtics talks with Magic for Aaron Gordon ongoing; Boston not offering Marcus Smart

More on Aaron Gordon Trade?

The Rockets and the Magic have had serious talks on a potential Gordon deal, league sources said. The precise terms under discussion are not 100 percent clear, but best I can read the tea leaves, Houston would have to send out significant draft compensation -- multiple picks -- as part of any proposed Gordon deal.
And while Gordon would be a welcome addition, a source with knowledge of the situation said there are conflicting views internally when it comes to the price the Nuggets should ultimately be willing to pay. The Celtics, as noted below, are believed to have put two first-round picks on the table as part of a Gordon proposal that also includes them landing Magic guard/free-agent-to-be Evan Fournier.
Josh Robbins: (1/2) After tonight’s loss, @TheAthleticNBA asked Aaron Gordon if he still hopes for a trade before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. His answer: “I’m focused on tomorrow night. As of right now, I’m an Orlando Magic, and I’ve been here for seven years and ...
Just a little more on the Aaron Gordon trade front here. An NBA executive, watching from afar when it comes to the Gordon sweepstakes, says he’s not the only name the Celtics are chasing. If he was, the deal would be done. Executing deals with Boston can be tricky. Offers are often made out of Beantown for players not currently on the Celtics’ roster (meaning a third team has to get involved), which can frustrate colleagues looking to make a big deal.
The Boston Celtics are considered the frontrunners to add Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon via trade, multiple sources confirmed to The Action Network Monday night. While the framework of a deal is in active discussion and considered the leading offer, sources say no deal has been agreed upon and the Magic are expected to continue to take offers up until Thursday’s deadline.
Boston, multiple sources confirmed, has offered two first-round picks. No other teams on the board have yet to reach that offer level. It’s not known yet what types of protections are attached to those talks but there is an assumption there will be some, if not significant, protections on the first-rounders.
As first reported by Matt Moore of The Action Network (and confirmed by The Athletic), the Celtics are now considered the front-runners in the Aaron Gordon sweepstakes. A source with knowledge of the Gordon talks said the Celtics have indeed put two first-round picks on the table, and that the framework of the deal would also include Magic guard (and free-agent-to-be) Evan Fournier heading to the Celtics. (You can read additional coverage of a Gordon-to-Boston possibility here.)
Keith Smith: Sources: Aaron Gordon has put the Boston Celtics near the top of the list of teams he would like be traded to. Celtics and Magic remain engaged in trade talks. Boston has moved to Gordon as their primary target three days from the trade deadline.
Keith Smith: Orlando is talking Aaron Gordon trades with several teams, beyond just Boston. Magic are expected to take negotiations down to the deadline in an effort to get the best offer possible. Celtics first made their interest known in early-February per a league source.
One key party with knowledge of the talks disputed that it nearly reached the point of completion. It would have likely involved Victor Oladipo. However, any team that seeks a trade for the Orlando Magic versatile forward would prefer to have some assurances that Gordon would agree to an extension, sources said.
Talks have diminished between Orlando and the Portland Trail Blazers, a source said. The Denver Nuggets are still interested, but there isn't desperation to make a move, sources said.
Gordon addresses the Celtics’ most present priority of filling the hole left by Gordon Hayward’s departure with a dynamic wing approaching his prime and acquires a player with another year left of declining salary on his deal. Gordon both satisfies the desire to get a high-level complementary piece on the same timeline of its core while limiting the luxury tax pain next season. Depending on whether the Celtics make an additional trade and jump into the luxury tax this season — they currently have approximately $13.51 million of room below the tax, per league sources — they would not face the repeater tax until the ‘22-‘23 season at the earliest.
The Nuggets have sniffed around Gordon, sources said, and he could toggle between forward spots with Michael Porter Jr. on both ends depending on matchups and scheme. Gordon's declining contract expires after next season, right in time for Porter's next mega-contract to kick in -- meaning Gordon's eight-figure salary would only overlap with eight-figure deals for Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic, and Porter if the Nuggets choose to re-sign him.
The Houston Rockets and the Magic have had serious talks on a potential Gordon deal, league sources said. The precise terms under discussion are not 100 percent clear, but best I can read the tea leaves, Houston would have to send out significant draft compensation -- multiple picks -- as part of any proposed Gordon deal. No deal is imminent, league sources said. But the talks have been substantive.
The Wolves have long lusted after Gordon, sources said, and they have been perhaps the most active team in the league working the phones in the past month. If you can think of a power forward between the ages of 22 and 30 who might be available or theoretically available, you can bet Minnesota has inquired about him.
As far as the Gordon market, the Rockets and Magic have engaged in talks on a Gordon deal to Houston for two first-round draft picks, sources have told The Athletic. No deal is imminent on this front as of this writing, but there have been significant talks. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers remain interested in Gordon, sources say, but Orlando has held a firm value of its 25-year-old forward. Sources tell me and The Athletic’s Jared Weiss that the Celtics have interest in Gordon and have engaged in conversations with the Magic.
Jon Krawczynski: Have heard that Orlando is driving a hard bargain for Gordon. This is a steep price. We'll see if that ask holds as the deadline nears.
Denver has interest in Orlando forward Aaron Gordon ahead of next Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources told The Denver Post, and the Nuggets need to assess on-court fit and whether he’s a player capable of vaulting them past some of the other Western Conference powers.
At this point, six days from next Thursday’s trade deadline, a deal is still viewed as unlikely, according to a source. With so few quality players on the market, sellers have requested a premium on their returns. The cost for interested teams in Gordon is believed to be a young player or players, a draft pick, in addition to matching salary, league sources said.
As the Magic have sunk in the standings, they've expressed an interest in making players available, sources said, and Gordon has drawn plenty of interest. But it still isn't clear to teams whether the Magic are ultimately motivated to trade Gordon.
Aaron Gordon is one of the most talented players who has come up intrade rumors, but the price to obtain him is not cheap. To pry Gordon from the Magic, it would cost a first-round pick and a good young player, league sources told HoopsHype.
Michael Singer: My opinion: I’ve seen a lot of Aaron Gordon-Nuggets trade chatter today. While I don’t doubt Denver is interested in the prototype, I’d be stunned if Gordon landed in Denver. 1. He’d be expensive 2. Blocks MPJ’s development at PF 3. They’d have to pay him, a lot, in a year.
Acquiring him now would also allow Gordon's new team to evaluate him closely before he becomes a free agent in 2022. That's likely why the Rockets, Mavericks, Nuggets and Warriors all remain interested. With Denver, sources said its package would center around Bol Bol, yet there's an apparent hesitation from the Nuggets front office about having to potentially pay both Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. next summer. For Dallas, Dwight Powell has been rumored among league personnel as the centerpiece in any deal.
Gordon: The Magic have been open to listening to calls on Gordon, sources said, and Minnesota and Portland are among the teams showing interest.
Some lead members of New Orleans' front office are also quite high on Gordon, sources said, but it's Houston that appears particularly motivated to land him. In several conversations before the Rockets moved Harden, sources said Houston asked interested teams to engage Orlando as a means for the Rockets to ultimately net Gordon, similar to how they ended up acquiring Victor Oladipo.
Some rival teams believe Orlando can set the tone for this year's trade market, with Evan Fournier, Terrence Ross and—albeit to a far lesser extent—two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic each categorized as available. "They're listening on all those guys," one assistant general manager said. The name to watch closest of all: Aaron Gordon, considered to be particularly available, and the 25-year-old forward is also eager to welcome a change of scenery, sources said. "They should sell," an Eastern Conference executive added. "They own their first-round pick. If you can get that pick into the top five, and you're adding back Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz next season, all of a sudden things could look very different."
The front office likes him, but the fact remains that the Magic will have an overabundance of power forwards who will be under contract next season: Gordon, Jonathan Isaac, Chuma Okeke and Al-Farouq Aminu (assuming Aminu exercises his player option). Orlando could start Isaac at the four and start Gordon at the three next season, but while that alignment would be lethal defensively, it would be subpar offensively because of its limited floor spacing and shot creation. In addition, in December the Magic signed Isaac to a four-year extension that will run through the 2024-25 season. So it looks like Isaac is Orlando’s long-term choice at power forward, even though Isaac has struggled with injuries. Because Gordon will become an unrestricted free agent in 2022, I think the Magic will try to trade him before next season, most likely to find help on the wings.
Darren Wolfson: The Wolves had trade interest in Gordon last year, February-January of 2020. They talked to Orlando. They've been trying to trade for Aaron Gordon for a while. They view him as a really good fit next to Karl-Anthony Towns. So the Wolves have engaged Orlando in numerous talks. In fact, I'll advance it here by saying I'm told that the Wolves made Orlando a pretty nice offer before Gordon got hurt sometime earlier this calendar year. So they talked to Orlando around draft time. Then at some point after the season started. I'm told they made some sort of offer. I don't have specifics on what that offer entailed. Clearly, it wasn't enough to get a deal done.
Brian Windhorst: The Orlando Magic possibly could be willing to part with a guy like Evan Fournier. Maybe a guy like Aaron Gordon, that is being chatted around about executives.
The Minnesota Timberwolves pursued a trade for Aaron Gordon this offseason, league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN. The Wolves are thin at power forward with Juan Hernangomez and Jake Layman on the depth chart. Minnesota, however, is deep on the perimeter with D'Angelo Russell, Ricky Rubio, Anthony Edwards, Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie and Malik Beasley.
Other teams imagine this Gordon. Several -- maybe as many as 10, maybe more -- called Orlando to express interest in trading for Gordon during the recent transaction period, sources said. Minnesota was one, sources said, and Gordon would fit there in a supporting role alongside high-volume playmakers and one of the greatest shooting bigs ever in Karl-Anthony Towns. How might Gordon look in Portland, playing off two elite guards and a snazzy-passing center in Jusuf Nurkic? What about as the nominal center in small-ball Brooklyn lineups featuring Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and two other perimeter guys?
League sources say the Magic are attempting to move up into the lottery by packaging this pick with Aaron Gordon. If they stay put, Maxey would potentially provide lottery value and immediately inject life as an energetic presence and a hard-nosed defender. Though Markelle Fultz’s resurgence makes for a nice story, he’s still yet to prove he can reliably shoot the ball. Maxey is further along as a scorer off the dribble, which could push Fultz into his ideal role as a supercharged Shaun Livingston.
Josh Robbins: Magic's Jeff Weltman when asked about the frequent mention of Aaron Gordon in trade rumors: "It's no surprise. There have been a lot of calls on him. But as I always say, there's just an amazing amount of misinformation that circulates and is unfounded."
“I think everyone is fair game there minus Isaac,” as one Eastern Conference scout noted. After losing in the first round in consecutive seasons by 4-1 margins each time, a shakeup could be in play.
The leaguewide interest level in Aaron Gordon is murkier. Brooklyn discussed chasing him in prior years, but that is probably moot now. He makes sense in Portland, though NBA Twitter's beloved Gordon-for-CJ McCollum swap has never been discussed in any serious way, sources say.
Aaron Gordon on trade rumors: You know, it's not something I can really control. You know, my job is to just stay healthy and stay in shape. And really just continue to be a better basketball player and a better man. If I ended up getting traded then you know it is what it is. If I don't then I'm gonna do what I can for the Orlando Magic and continue to ball out.
Gordon was on the block at the trade deadline last February and there was interest from teams like Golden State and Phoenix, but nothing that got close to becoming a workable deal. Gordon bounced back after a rough start but still, the Magic want to give the team over to Jonathan Isaac and Gordon just doesn’t fit with that plan. He has a contract that lines up well for a trade, declining to $18.1 million next year and $16.4 million in the final year of the deal. Eastern Conference exec: “They were really trying to deal him before the deadline but they weren’t getting the assets back they wanted. It will be easier to move that contract when it’s only got two years left. He’s probably the most likely big name to be traded. He’s a good gamble—he is only 24.”
But the big thing I keep coming back to is this: The Magic need to shake things up with this roster, in my view. They have interesting pieces, it’s just that all of those pieces don’t fit all that well together. In my mind, their three best players are Nikola Vucevic, Isaac and Aaron Gordon. And unfortunately, you can’t play all three of those guys together at once at their optimal effectiveness. And in the backcourt, they still don’t have nearly enough playmaking and shot-making. That makes them ripe for a trade to try and move some of that talent from the frontcourt to the backcourt potentially. To me, Gordon is the odd man out, and I think they could actually get a pretty real trade package for him with two years left on his deal at a very reasonable cost due to the descending structure of his contract. That’s the route I’d look at, despite the fact that I think Gordon is probably the second-best asset on the roster behind Isaac.
VECENIE: I have one particular deal I’ve been kicking around for a while, and I’ve floated it to a few people around the league who have found it interesting. The Golden State Warriors seem primed to use the $17.2 million trade exception that they created in last summer’s Andre Iguodala trade to Memphis. Typically, within a trade exception, you can’t take back more than the amount of the exception in a deal. Given that Aaron Gordon is set to make $18.1 million next year, you’d think he’s out of the running. Not so fast, my friend. The Warriors could swing what would amount to a sort of three-team trade that functions as two separate trades in actuality to make someone like Gordon fit into that exception. They could take back a big contract on someone’s books — say, Minnesota’s James Johnson after Johnson picks up his player option for $16 million next season — into that trade exception and actually use that contract in a separate trade to acquire someone making more than $17.2 million.
There is no “clock is ticking” urgency with regard to Aaron Gordon, who played superbly after he returned to power forward. Gordon has two full seasons remaining on his contract. But the fact that neither Gordon nor Isaac are natural small forwards presents a problem offensively, and at some point, that situation almost certainly needs to be resolved. Hypothetically, the team could trade Gordon as soon as this offseason, although his recent stellar play should give the team pause.
The Suns also made a late push for Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, sources said. Gordon, who along with Derrick Jones Jr., put on a show at the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, has had a strong second half of the season. He is expected to be pursued in the offseason by multiple teams.
Could a package including Dinwiddie have landed a player like Aaron Gordon from Orlando? Is Gordon the kind of player that can help push Brooklyn into the East's upper echelon? Some execs believe a player like Gordon can help Brooklyn but wouldn't push them into the echelon of NBA title contender.
If Brooklyn has interest in trading for Gordon this summer, the club will probably have significant competition. The Pacers are among the teams that had a degree of interest in pursuing a deal for Gordon before the deadline, per SNY sources.
There’s little doubt that, ahead of last week’s NBA trading deadline, the Magic were beating the bushes to see what could be brought back in a trade for forward Aaron Gordon. Golden State was among the teams with whom the Magic discussed a Gordon trade. So were the Timberwolves. Those two wound up making the most significant trade of the deadline period, swapping D’Angelo Russell for Andrew Wiggins. Orlando had been interested in Russell last summer when he was a restricted free agent.
There was chatter, too, involving the Suns. But Gordon, the No. 4 pick of the 2014 draft, is still with the Magic. Perhaps not for long — executives around the league expect that Gordon will be back on the trade block in the offseason, too.
As one source told Heavy.com, “They were trying, and they tried hard to get something done with him at the deadline. All that gets brought back into focus once the season is over and you have a good idea what the market is for him.” Gordon has not been clamoring for a trade—he’s happy in Orlando—but he does not have a smooth fit with the Magic and where the team is headed in the future.
The Orlando Magic currently are in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and are seven games under .500. The fit of Aaron Gordon with the franchise has been a question for some time now. "Aaron Gordon is a player they've had some discussions about," said Adrian Wojnarowski. "I think t's a tricky one to trade him right now."
The Orlando Magic have reportedly discussed trading forward Aaron Gordon ahead of Thursday's deadline, but a deal is "tricky" because of injuries on the roster. "Aaron Gordon's a player they've had some discussions about," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast with Bobby Marks. "I think it's a tricky one to trade him now, with the season-ending injuries to Jonathan Isaac, to Al-Farouq Aminu. ... If you're going to move Gordon and you want to try to stick around in the playoff chase...you've got to get back a significant amount.
One team that makes sense for Gordon is Minnesota, which called Orlando about Gordon this season, according to league sources. It’s unclear what precisely was offered, but Minnesota is shopping Robert Covington. Just imagine Gordon rolling down the lane, then kicking it out to Karl-Anthony Towns, who could shoot a 3 or attack the closeout. The Wolves don’t have a true playmaker, but they could acquire one in Gordon.
The rumblings persist that Orlando might move on from Gordon, who signed a four-year, $76 million deal in July 2018 but who has regressed this season. As our Magic beat writer, Josh Robbins, wrote, the recent knee injury to big man Jonathan Isaac could change this landscape a bit (he’ll be re-evaluated in seven weeks). But long-term, Orlando’s front office of John Hammond and Jeff Weltman must decide whether Isaac and Gordon have too much duplication in their games. “There is chatter coming from Orlando,” one executive shared on Wednesday.
What about Gordon, who has two more full seasons on his contract, valued at $18.1 million in 2020-21 and $16.4 million in 2021-22? Because Gordon and Isaac are best suited to play the same position, power forward, many NBA insiders question Gordon’s long-term fit. But Friday, Gordon and his teammates offered a tantalizing glimpse of what they might be able to accomplish together — if, that is, they continue to play with the same tenacity on defense and the same attention to detail.
Multiple teams are monitoring Magic forward Aaron Gordon with interest should an opportunity present itself, but the Magic have shown no interest in moving him, sources said. Orlando is 4-7 and working to turn the corner early this season. Gordon signed a four-year, $76 million deal to return to the Magic in 2018.
The Pacers discussed a deal with him going to the Orlando Magic before the deadline, according to league sources, as they had strong interest in Aaron Gordon. The Magic pivoted, however, to acquire Markelle Fultz from Philadelphia and kept Gordon. The Pacers have also talked to the Atlanta Hawks about moving up eight spots Thursday to No. 10 but Holiday was requested in such a swap to bolster the Hawks' backcourt behind Trae Young and that discussion didn’t go anywhere, a league source said.
The Blazers love Al-Farouq Aminu. They would aim to keep him. Aminu fits best at power forward -- Gordon's position. Then again, is there really a difference between a Maurice Harkless-Aminu forward combination and a Gordon-Aminu pairing? What about the Spurs (more on them later)? Dallas investigated Gordon's availability before the Porzingis deal, sources have said.
The Magic have not shown any signs they are willing to trade Gordon, either, sources said. At 23 years old, Gordon has become a more efficient player under new coach Steve Clifford. In addition, the Magic are intent on pairing Gordon with Isaac in the lineup, as they have most of this season, to see how successful they can be together.
The growing concern over max deals has created a ripple effect heading into the trade deadline. Execs and agents I spoke to believe it explains the rise in trade chatter involving stars. Teams are more regularly gauging the value of their own centerpieces, and other teams are making more calls knowing they’ll listen. It’s why we’re hearing reports about Aaron Gordon and Kemba Walker being available.
The new regime of Jeff Weltman and John Hammond has left no stone unturned with the deadline approaching, including quietly gauging the trade market on Aaron Gordon, league sources told The Athletic.
The photo surfaced on Twitter on Monday after the Magic signed Patricio Garino out of the D-League. Garino’s agent took a picture of his client signing the contract. In the background, a wall-mounted dry-erase board listed potential Magic off-season trade and free-agency targets. The column devoted to trade targets included Saric’s last name and “for AG?” in parentheses next to Saric’s last name. “Typically, with rumors and stuff like that, we don’t really address them,” Vogel said today when asked about the photo. “But this is a unique situation, and I talked to him a little bit this morning, and everybody’s good. We’re ready to move on.”
“It’s ok,” Saric said after seeing a photo of the whiteboard. “Every team got rights to think about their future, to put it on board. But to comment, I don’t have something. It’s ok. To me, you are doing good if they have you on [their] mind like an option.” The irony is that Magic once had the rights to Saric. In the 2014 draft, the Sixers used the 10th overall pick on Louisiana-Lafayette point guard Elfrid Payton. Two picks later, the Magic drafted Saric. Then the Sixers traded Payton to the Magic for Saric, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2015 second-round selection.
Saric, who grew up in Croatia, played the past two seasons in Turkey before signing with the Sixers in the summer of 2016. He is a leading candidate to win the rookie-of-the-year award. “They trade me," Saric said of the Magic. "That’s life. … Sometimes you can have some option in life, you choose another one. They chose one way. I chose my own way.”
Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton and Nik Vucevic aren’t going anywhere. The Orlando Magic will not trade any member of their young nucleus before this season’s NBA trade deadline expires on Thursday afternoon, general manager Rob Hennigan told the Orlando Sentinel tonight.
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Ja Morant: 'I'm a Top 5 point guard'

Where do you feel you rank among the top point guards in the game? Ja Morant: Top 5. If you’re Top 5, who else is there with you? Ja Morant: Morant: Steph (Curry). I’m a big Chris Paul fan. I’d say Dame (Lillard) and (Russell) Westbrook. It’s tough. The point guard position is so loaded. Some guys have to get left out.
Your teammate, Jaren Jackson Jr., was the No. 2 breakout player, according to a poll of 15 NBA executives I did for HoopsHype. What do you expect from a healthy Jaren this season? Ja Morant: To me, personally, I think he’s No. 1 if he’s healthy. He’s been battling some injuries that set him back. A healthy Jaren is definitely the number one breakout player this season. He’s just a special talent that’s gifted. He’s 7-foot-1, can shoot the three, can put it on the floor, and can play inside. He does so much on the floor. As long as he stays healthy, which we need him to be, he’s definitely number one.