If you were going to bet on one player to be moved before the trade deadline, Orlando forward Aaron Gordon would be a good bet.
His name is popping up in trade buzz all over the league, with multiple reports of teams interested.
From Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
The seven-year veteran is open to a change of scenery, with the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons inquiring about trading for the versatile high-flyer, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
A dark-horse squad that could join the Gordon pursuit: the Portland Trail Blazers, sources said.
This from Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report:
Until Gordon’s left ankle sprain that sidelined him for six weeks, the Timberwolves and Magic were nearing an agreement on a package for Gordon that centered on Ricky Rubio and future draft capital, sources said.
Houston, Dallas, Denver, and Golden State have also expressed notable interest in Gordon dating back to November’s draft. Orlando’s asking price appears reasonable, seeking a combination of picks and young players.
While he would be a good fit, don’t bet on Denver being part of the mix, reports Nuggets beat writer Mike Singer.
Gordon is averaging 13.6 points and seven rebounds a game for Orlando this season, but there is a sense around the league he could play a bigger offensive role in the right system.
Gordon is making $18.1 million this season, and that decreases to $16.4 million next season — relatively easy salary to move — then after that he will be a free agent at age 27, just entering his prime. This gives Gordon some leverage in the deal — if he says he will not re-sign with a team in 2022, they will offer less in a trade.
Dallas would make a lot of sense, especially if the longer-term plan is to move on from Kristaps Porzingis, as is rumored. Gordon setting picks for Doncic and then having the ability to roll or pop — and the fact he’s a good defender — would work well in their rotation. Golden State would be interesting if they wanted to go small and have Gordon, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins along the front line (unless Wiggins was part of the trade back to Orlando, but he is not a young player on the Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz timeline for the future).
Maybe Gordon stays put, but there is a lot of smoke around his name right now. And where there’s smoke…