The Los Angeles Clippers already through the NBA for a loop by unexpectedly trading one marquee power forward, in Blake Griffin.
Could the Orlando Magic be readying a similar move? Yes, we’re talking about exactly who you think we’re talking about: Aaron Gordon.
The Magic are apparently testing his trade value around the league in advance of Thursday’s deadline, according to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto:
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.
Gordon is eligible for restricted free agency this summer, so Orlando could simply be doing due diligence.
As Scotto points out, the Magic could just be kicking around some tires before paying Aaron Gordon gobs of cash as a restricted free agent. But there’s also something to him being the draft pick, and soon-to-be-expensive centerpiece, of another regime.
Gordon has been good this season, Sportsbettingdime.com even raised his odds of winning the Kia Most Improved Player Award from 14/1 to 9/1, but his efficiency has dropped since his hot start. And while he’s the closest the Magic come to having a proven cornerstone, he’s hardly an established one. Paying him what figures to be north of $15 to $18 million per year when they have no clear-cut direction stands as a major gamble. And what are they to do if another team comes over the top with a max offer sheet, just for the hell of it? Cap space is expected to be in short supply, but crazier things have happened.
Maybe the Magic keep Gordon no matter what. They could view whatever deal he signs next, no matter the price point, as tradeable given his age and upside. And in that case, it becomes much easier to sit on him now, then re-evaluate his market next February.