The trade season is already starting to get moving. Teams are reportedly monitoring Aaron Gordon, but the Orlando Magic aren’t budging yet.
Entering this season, Aaron Gordon was at the center of a lot of attention for the team.
The now-24-year-old forward had a strong season where he continued to show growth with his offensive game, established himself as the team’s best ball container and defender and improved his playmaking. At a certain point, the team seemed to be betting Aaron Gordon to do more for the team.
In a playoff series where the whole Orlando Magic team struggled, Gordon came out strongest. He did admirably trying to contain Kawhi Leonard and led the team in scoring with some big performances to keep the Magic competitive in that series.
The expectation around the league and internally appeared to be that Gordon was ready to take his star leap. It felt like for the Magic, his development was as important to anyone else for the team to take the next step and compete for home-court advantage and maybe a bit more.
That has not quite happened this season. As part of the Magic’s relatively slow 5-7 start to the year, Gordon has not quite made that leap.
He is averaging a moderate 14.0 points per game on a lowly 48.6 percent effective field goal percentage. Like most of the team, he struggled to shoot coming out of the gates. But his rebounding is also down to 6.3 per game and his assists ticked down slightly to 3.2 assists per game.
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The Magic’s slow start has already gotten them involved in the early trade market. With Gordon’s front-loaded contract, there is certainly interest still in the 24-year-old. If the Magic are going to make a major move — including ones they have already rumored to be pursuing — Gordon’s name is going to come up.
At this point though, it appears the Magic are not interested in dealing Gordon. Teams are gauging interest around the league and have Gordon in the crosshairs. They are ready to pounce if that changes, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
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.
None of this should be surprising. The Magic are going to be involved in a lot of trade rumors this season.
As a young team looking to grow and expand their game, and possibly find the perimeter star they are missing, it makes sense the team will be searching the market for anyone. The Orlando Magic have already been reported to express interest in San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan.
In order to get any of these deals done, it would likely cost Gordon. Both Gordon’s youth, defensive presence and front-loaded deal (he is owed $19.9 million this year and $34.5 million over the next two years) will make him an attractive trade asset.
Teams are not about to give up on Gordon, hoping a new environment could unlock any remaining untapped potential.
But the Magic are not likely actively searching for a deal at this point. And they are not likely to give up on Gordon either.
Gordon may not be the star offensive player some thought he could be, but he is still one of the team’s best defenders. Coach Steve Clifford often assigns him to defend the best perimeter player on the other team and he is very good at making their life difficult.
Orlando was right to be patient and see how its team got out of the slump it started the season in. The Magic knew their numbers would return to a normal. They have remained pretty competitive through it all.
Still, the Magic know there are weaknesses they have to make up for. Big weaknesses. And that might one day mean Gordon is on the table.
For now, teams are monitoring whether the Magic will reach that point. Like Orlando is, the league is still assessing what everyone else is thinking at this early stage of the season.
And for now, the Magic are not interested in making perhaps their most tradeable young asset available. They are willing to see how this team continues to come together.