We’ve reached what is likely the final 24 hours of the Aaron Gordon era in Orlando.
The Magic are expected to hold on to Gordon until the final hours, or even minutes, of Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline in hopes that the bidding war between interested teams drives up the asking price and eventual return.
With multiple teams reportedly expressing interest, and with Gordon confirming his recent trade request, we thought it would be a good idea to reach out to our sister sites at SB Nation that cover the teams most interested in Gordon to find out:
- What their best – and most realistic – trade offer would be for Aaron Gordon
- What they like about Aaron Gordon
- What they envision Aaron Gordon’s role to be if he is in fact traded to their team
Odds are that one of the trades listed below – from the Celtics, Nuggets, Rockets, Warriors, Timberwolves, or Blazers – will be taking place at any minute…or at least some variation of it.
So, here are the Aaron Gordon trade packages to choose from….
Adam Spinella of CelticsBlog:
What is the Celtics best (realistic) offer for Aaron Gordon?
Robert Williams, Romeo Langford and a lottery-protected 2022 1st-round pick
Over the last month, Robert Williams has emerged as a legitimate rim protector and energy big off the bench. For the Magic, who might be moving on from Nikola Vucevic in the next few days, getting a high-value rim protector and lob-slammer who can play a meaningful 18-24 minutes a night is a pretty good haul. The lottery-protected first, which is just insurance for a major disaster in Boston, gives the Magic more youth. Langford is a unique piece who hasn’t been healthy in his pro career for long stretches, but was a tantalizing scorer in high school.
While the Magic are looking for a big haul, this deal with the Celtics enables them to get a bigger haul elsewhere. They only take back two players, generate a lot of cap space and create a traded player exception that can eventually skyrocket them over the cap. All three pieces help rejuvenate the youth movement for the roster. Seems like a solid haul.
What do you like about Gordon?
I’ve long believed Gordon has hidden potential as a facilitator, where his game has climbed each of the last four seasons. He’s a multipositional wing defender with freakish athleticism, solid handling and has turned himself into a very good shooter. I also love that he’s still only 26, with his best days ahead.
What would Gordon’s role be on the Celtics?
The Celtics need an option at the 4 who can stretch the floor, rebound and guard the other team’s best forward while Marcus Smart hounds the guards. Whether Gordon starts or comes off the bench is irrelevant. He should play 28-32 minutes a night, knock down open shots, hit open teammates and breakdown weak defenders when other teams inevitably try to hide them on him.
The Celtics don’t need him to come in and be a scorer. Make a couple open threes a night, finish in transition and attack the occasional mismatch. If he averages 12, 7 and 4 while playing stellar defense, it’s a win for Boston and the maximization of his potential.
Ryan Blackburn of Denver Stiffs:
What is the Nuggets best (realistic) offer for Aaron Gordon?
ORL receives: Gary Harris OR Will Barton, R.J. Hampton, Bol Bol, 2021 first rounder, rights to swap 2026 first rounder
DEN receives: Aaron Gordon, James Ennis
What the Nuggets can offer seems to be in line with what the Magic would be expecting to receive in a deal. One of Gary Harris or Will Barton would represent the starting shooting guard the Magic would need to replace Evan Fournier. Denver also sends out R.J. Hampton, an athletic combo guard with a high defensive ceiling because of his quickness, as well as Bol Bol, a prospect with a high ceiling and low floor the Magic might be willing to take a chance on. In addition, Denver’s 2021 first rounder will likely fall in the mid twenties, while the 2026 first round pick swap could amount to anything. Denver also takes on additional salary in Ennis (a good player whose future probably isn’t with the Magic) giving Orlando extra wiggle room for a Fournier trade at the deadline.
What do you like about Gordon?
Gordon is the exact hybrid forward the Nuggets should be interested in if they plan to go deep in the playoffs. He can play small forward and power forward, has had success filling multiple roles, and has the talent on both ends of the floor to be impactful in the playoffs against the best in the NBA. His three-pointer feels like it’s rounding into form, but Gordon’s best trait is his versatility. At 6’8”, Gordon can guard different types of forwards, rebound, be a playmaker, and even score a little bit on his own. He has few weaknesses in his game that can be truly exploited, making him a viable option in the playoffs against just about any team.
What would Gordon’s role be on the Nuggets?
The Nuggets have a star pecking order already established with Nikola Jokić as the leading MVP candidate and Jamal Murray as the lead ball handler. With Michael Porter Jr. coming into his own as a starter, it appears Denver has their third option as well. Defensively is where Denver could use Gordon mostly. Jokić, for all of his abilities offensively, has some weaknesses defensively that can be exploited. Adding Gordon’s physicality, athleticism, and defensive acumen to Denver’s starting unit would be the last piece to take them from competitor to contender. The Nuggets will most likely have to face the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers in the playoffs, and bringing in Gordon to reprise the role that Jerami Grant played would be the best way for Denver to match up with those two teams. Denver has the offense covered no matter what, but Gordon would add another big option on the wing to take advantage of mismatches, keep the ball moving, and do it all defensively. Basically, Gordon’s the perfect option for the Nuggets if he’s willing to accept that role.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Brady Klopfer of Golden State of Mind:
What is the Warriors best (realistic) offer for Aaron Gordon?
It’s really hard to know what the Warriors would actually be willing to give up — they’re not very quick to part with assets as they try to retool. Right now they’re in the classic Spurs pickle of trying to re-open a championship window, while also trying to ensure that they’ll still be contenders 10 years down the road.
Truthfully, what they’re willing to give up depends largely on how comfortable they are moving forward with Kelly Oubre Jr. If they’re not comfortable with that, then here’s the offer I’ll put forth: Oubre, Eric Paschall, and Minnesota’s 2021 first-round pick (top-three protected, if it doesn’t convey then 2022 unprotected). Maybe some second rounders as well. I’m hesitant to believe that the Warriors would actually be willing to give that much up, yet I doubt that’s close to enough for Orlando, which is why I’m having a hard time seeing a trade work out here.
What do you like about Gordon?
Pretty much everything. He’s exactly what the team looks for in a defender: long, athletic, smart, and capable of defending three or four positions. He would be highly disruptive in the Warriors defensive scheme, and would play a big role towards Golden State returning to elite status on that end of the court.
Offensively, he’s turned himself into a very good shooter, which the Warriors are always in need of (despite the team’s historically great shooters, they’ve always struggled with having good shooting beyond their stars). His athleticism would shine when the team gets out in transition, and it’s reasonable to think that his efficiency would skyrocket on a team that asks him to do a lot less offensively than Orlando does.
I’m salivating thinking of small ball minutes with Gordon at the 4 and Draymond Green at the 5; it’s just a dreamy matchup. He brings a lot of what Andre Iguodala brought to the Warriors championship teams, just with worse playmaking and better shooting.
What would Gordon’s role be on the Warriors?
Most championship-caliber teams have one player who is good enough to be a starter (and often better than many of their starters), and plays starter minutes, but comes off the bench. That would likely be Gordon’s role, unless the team is able to unload Andrew Wiggins’ contract at some point.
Gordon would start for the rest of this season, but next year’s lineup is likely penciled in as Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and James Wiseman, despite the fact that Gordon is pretty clearly better than two of those players. But Gordon would still get starters minutes, and likely be in the closing lineup more nights than not. He’d be a secondary scorer tasked with playing defense all over the court, and pushing the ball. Both a luxury and a weapon.
Coty Davis of The Dream Shake
What is the Rockets best (realistic) offer for Aaron Gordon?
With rumors that Aaron Gordon isn’t interested in a trade to the Houston Rockets, this is one problem Rafael Stone doesn’t have to worry about as a general manager. Acquiring Gordon always seemed like a daunting task for the Rockets. On one hand, they have the draft capital the Magic are seeking in return for Gordon. But giving up a quality first-round pick for a player who has likely hit his ceiling as an NBA player is a price a tad too steep for Houston. On the other, their recent 20-game losing streak proved the Rockets need talent. And Gordon’s could be enough to keep the Rockets above basketball purgatory. If the Rockets were to continue their pursuit of Gordon, the best-case scenario would be to add a third team with the intent of them sending their first-round draft pick to Orlando. While the Rockets receive Gordon, the grand prize for the third team involved would be acquiring Victor Oladipo — the former face of the Magic’s franchise.
What do you like about Gordon?
In my recent article, Does Trading for Gordon makes sense for the Rockets, I spoke on his talent as an underrated playmaker — which is my favorite part of Gordon’s game. It’s never a bad thing to have too many playmakers on the court at the same time. And I’m sure he would excel as a point-forward in Stephen Silas’ system. But next to his playmaking, I would have to say his athleticism and how it pertains to his ability to rebound the basketball. The Rockets are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league — 28th to be exact. And Gordon’s niche to clean the glass is a problem Houston can solve by his potential acquisition.
What would Gordon’s role be on the Rockets?
I could see Gordon playing several roles in Houston, ranging from the team’s second or third scoring option to their primary rebounder. But if I had to choose just one, I could see Gordon taking the helm as the Rockets defensive anchor. Much like his playmaking, Gordon’s defense is a bit under the radar. And if given the appropriate opportunity, I can see Gordon developing into Houston’s best defensive stopper. He already possesses the capability to defend positions one through five, which is the top trait for a team whose defensive scheme relies upon a healthy amount of switching.
Kyle Theige of Canis Hoopus
What is the Timberwoles best (realistic) offer for Aaron Gordon?
Outside of the two most untouchable players on the roster (Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards), the Timberwolves continue to remain steadfast that players like D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jaden McDaniels are off limits in current trade talks (it was rumored that Minnesota turned down an offer of Beasley and a future first round pick for John Collins earlier this week). With that said, I’d imagine the most “realistic” offer Minnesota could put together (without including a third team) would be Jarrett Culver, Juancho Hernangomez, Ed Davis, and a future lottery protected first for Aaron Gordon. That type of offer probably doesn’t move the needle for you or any other Magic fan, but considering the fact that the Wolves already owe a future first to Golden State as part of the Andrew Wiggins/D’Angelo Russell swap, there’s no way they can mortgage two more future firsts in any deal before the deadline.
What do you like about Gordon?
Without speaking for the entire fanbase, I’d say opinions on Aaron Gordon are fairly mixed over on our end. AG is clearly a super talented player, and would finally resolve the PF issue this team has had pretty much since trading away Kevin Love many years ago. With that said, if the team were to also keep Russell, Towns, ANT, and Beasley, squeezing Gordon in and making everything work without adding more basketballs to the court seems nearly impossible, even for our new wizardry head coach Chris Finch. Gordon would obviously fit very well next to Towns, and could provide additional play-making in this new and improved offense, so he would be a massive upgrade over what Minnesota is currently throwing out at the PF spot, but I fear we would have too many mouths to feed and not enough snacks if we did indeed land him in a trade.
What would Gordon’s role be on the Wolves?
Piggy-backing off of question #2, the “ideal” way to incorporate AG onto the Wolves would obviously be the cliché “Draymond Green” role where Gordon becomes a defensive anchor next to KAT and provides playmaking ability without having to be feed double-digit shots on a nightly basis. While I know Gordon wants to win, I’m not sure any 25-year old wants to see their offensive ceiling capped (especially when he would instantly become one of the older veterans on this super young roster), but for this to work I think Gordon would have to be the one to transition his role a bit since he actually has the skills to do so (unlike more offensive-minded players like Russell or Beasley who haven’t shown as much defensive upside as AG).
Overall, I know Minnesota is thirsty to improve the PF spot, which is why they’ve been rumored for Gordon, Collins, Larry Nance Jr., etc. Like any trade deadline deal, the issue becomes price, and for now it appears like other suitors (primarily Boston and Golden State) have far more assets to include in a deal with the Magic than the Wolves do. But if you’re feeling generous and want to kick the tires on another high-lottery pick who hasn’t quite figured it out (Jarrett Culver), you know who to call!
PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS
Steve Dewald of Blazer’s Edge
What is the Blazers best (realistic) offer for Aaron Gordon?
The Blazers are between a rock and hard place when it comes to making competitive offers at the deadline. Portland committed two first-round picks to the trade package that landed Robert Covington in the offseason. Due to the protections on the second of those two picks, the Blazers would have to get creative in order to include a pre-2027 first-round pick.
Outside of draft assets, the Blazers’ best offer would include promising third-year guard Gary Trent Jr. The former Duke standout has blossomed into a consistent contributor, but his fit is clunky with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum already in the backcourt. On top of Trent, the Blazers would have to add in a few veteran contracts to make the cap gymnastics work. Rodney Hood and Derrick Jones Jr. are two short-term options that offer trade flexibility.
What do you like about Gordon?
The Blazers have not had a multi-dimensional forward threat in the rotation since Nicolas Batum departed. Gordon’s size, athleticism and offensive touch would add a much-needed wrinkle to coach Terry Stotts’ system. From a contract standpoint, Gordon’s remaining deal fits perfectly on Portland’s two-years-or-bust timeline.
What would Gordon’s role be on the Blazers?
The Lillard era has featured plenty of highs and a handful of noteworthy lows. The Blazers’ high-octane offense is too often silenced in the postseason when the ball is forced out of Lillard’s hands. Adding Gordon, who has shown the ability to create for himself and others, could address the void that the Blazers have desperately tried to fill since LaMarcus Aldridge’s departure. Gordon is a significant step up from Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe and Kent Bazemore. Ideally, Gordon would help carry the scoring load alongside McCollum when Lillard is smothered.
Special thanks to one and all for taking the time to answer our AG questions during one of the busiest times of the NBA season.
Magic fans, which trade offer do you like best?