Who the Orlando Magic could target for a trade in the Atlantic Division

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Gordon Hayward, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, Aaron Gordon
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has been a thorn in the Orlando Magic’s side for much of his career. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

Boston Celtics: Gordon Hayward

Trading with the Boston Celtics will be difficult for any team this offseason. Brad Stevens’ team could still win an NBA Championship and have many young, talented players who could make Boston contenders for years to come.

Trades for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would be near impossible. But if the Orlando Magic were to target a Boston Celtics player, Gordon Hayward is someone that could provide a boost to Steve Clifford’s team with his shooting and scoring ability.

This deal would be dependent on Hayward taking up his player option with the Celtics for next season. If he does, Orlando could look to use Aaron Gordon in a straight swap for the former All Star, with perhaps some draft considerations exchanged to make the financial hit less for Orlando or to make up for Hayward’s star potential.

Gordon has been a good player for the Magic over the years but is yet to reach the heights many would have hoped for when he first entered the league in 2014. He is strong defensively and a decent scorer, averaging 14.4 points per game last season, so would help Boston out right away. At 25, he is experienced in the league but also has plenty of time left to develop.

Boston Celtics
Boston Celtics /

Boston Celtics

For Orlando, this would go at least some way to addressing their weaknesses. Hayward made 38.3 percent of his three-point attempts and also averaged 17.5 points per game in the regular season and could potentially score more in a team without Tatum and Brown and where he would likely get more shots.

With Jonathan Isaac out for next season after re-injuring his left knee during the season restart, Hayward would be able to step into his spot at small forward. The 30-year-old is tremendously efficient, shooting 50 percent from the field over the regular season, and has the experience to help the team’s younger players on and off the court.

But his history with injuries recently is a concern. Hayward played in 72 games last year as he recovered from a horrific leg injury and struggled to find his rhythm. This season, he found it, but still appeared in only 52 of the Celtics’ 72 regular-season games. He missed all but Game 1 of the first-round series and Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals with an ankle injury.

He is a former All-Star and good offensive talent in the league. He would undoubtedly improve the Magic’s offense but his hefty salary of $34 million next season means the Magic would really have to be sold on him to take it on.

Depending on what happens with Boston this season, they could decide to keep Hayward around for another year to go for a title should he activate his option. It would also depend on how they feel about Gordon as a player but should they be a fan, they would have him for at least two more years.

There just may not be this kind of a major deal. But if Orlando is looking to go all-in for a star-caliber player, Hayward may be the kind of level of player they would be chasing to make things work.