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.
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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?
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: The Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic had discussed a trade featuring Russell Westbrook for a package centered around Aaron Gordon, but talks never progressed.
Mitch Lawrence: Orlando Magic turned down Portland’s offers to land Aaron Gordon, before the Blazers used similar assets to make their move for the Rockets’ Robert Covington, per sources. Gordon was said to be the Blazers’ No. 1 target.
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.”
Jeff Zilgitt: One option to explore: The Magic are getting calls about Aaron Gordon’s availability, I’m told.
Josh Robbins: Jeff Weltman also added: “Yes, we always anticipate getting a lot of calls on A.G. Yes, we have gotten a lot of calls on A.G. And I would say that that means he’s a good player.”
Some around the league always believed a Gordon for Dinwiddie trade with the Nets would make sense for both sides, but it has yet to come to fruition.
“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.
League sources say the Magic are attempting to move up into the lottery by packaging this pick with Aaron Gordon.
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.
So let’s dig into just two names on that list: Gordon and Turner. There’s been a little smoke on the Warriors and Gordon front. He’s about to finish his sixth season in Orlando and it’s starting to feel as if that partnership has become stale.
What would it take to get him? The Warriors, in this hypothetical, could offer the Johnson expiring contract and either young talent (like an Eric Paschall or whomever they draft with their upcoming top-five pick) or a future first-rounder. Minnesota’s 2021 first-rounder, owned by the Warriors, is appetizing to other franchises.
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.”
Six seasons into his career, Orlando still is trying to figure out how to maximize his talent. He’s still young (24) and wouldn’t mind, at all, being moved. Any deal likely would require some fancy financial finagling, but it’s conceivable.
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.”
David Baumann: *EXCLUSIVE* Source: Orlando Magic recently offered Vucevic & Aaron Gordon for Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (other assets involved). Offer denied.
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.
The only way that changes is if another team swoops in and makes an offer the Magic can’t refuse. But no offer of that kind is likely.
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Washington is expected to check in on Len if he does clear waivers, according to someone familiar with their plans. It is unclear how strong their interest would be, as they are exploring several options.
Your name has popped up in trade rumors a bit over the last year. Do you keep up with trade rumors or do you try to block them out? Kendrick Nunn: “I pretty much block them out unless my agent contacts and tells me that there’s a possibility that I could get traded. Anything on social media and stuff, obviously I’m on there so it comes up and I read it, but I try to just ignore it and stick to what my team tells me.”
Immediately after the game he went on TNT and had to hear Shaq, who said earlier in the night that Mitchell was just a scorer, say: “I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level. I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?” What did Mitchell have to say? “Aight.”
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on the comments from Shaq and Barkley on @NBAonTNT . “I hate to take a win like this and make it about what they said about me. Look at how we played, look at how we guarded. I’m happy.”
Eric Walden: Donovan Mitchell, on the TNT commentary: “We’ve won seven in a row. I hate to take a win like this and make it about me. … I’m here to play basketball and to win and to be the best teammate I can be. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it.”
Tony Jones: Rudy Gobert on the TNT crew and comments: “At the end of the day, whatever they want to call us, if we keep winning games, they will have to watch us anyway. Hopefully they have to watch us until July. And then they can call us whatever they want.”