Orlando Magic Trade Targets: Aaron Gordon Trade Scenarios

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Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine is one of the most dynamic scorers in the league. And the Chicago Bulls’ future seems to be in doubt. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine and Thaddeus Young

The final hypothetical deal is more radical than pragmatic, and unlikely to ever come to fruition. This is the kind of trade that would blow up Twitter for an hour.

The Chicago Bulls have found themselves wedged in a strange paradigm in the last two seasons. First, they fired their head coach 25 games into the 2019 season and replaced him with associate head coach Jim Boylen.

The players reportedly disapproved, and a coup was staged during a practice in the spring of 2019. The relationship was repaired to finish the season, but it seemed like the team was always working against its coach.

Not a lot changed last season. The Bulls were a mediocre 22-43 before the season was postponed, and were not invited to the NBA Bubble for its resumption.

Still, there were signs the Bulls were making progress. They finished the season with a top-10 defense by defensive rating. And adding Billy Donovan as the head coach this offseason could tie things together and make them a sneaky pick to make the playoffs.

It is hard to say which direction the Bulls plan to go. But they have a budding star in Zach LaVine.

Zach LaVine’s contract (2 years, $39 million remaining) is slightly more expensive than Aaron Gordon’s. The two have held similar career arcs, even when disregarding their matchup in the 2016 All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest.

LaVine has shown real promise offensively, particularly shooting the ball from outside, in his six seasons. The Magic would benefit from the additional spacing that his outside shot provides.

Thaddeus Young would also serve a crucial role for the Magic by both replacing Aaron Gordon and mentoring Jonathan Isaac and Mohamed Bamba. The Magic could use another veteran to lead the locker room alongside Nikola Vucevic.

Chicago Bulls
Chicago Bulls /

Chicago Bulls

Aaron Gordon’s fit in Chicago is slightly redundant with Otto Porter Jr., whose contract nearly guarantees he will remain with the Bulls until it expires.

It would be asking a lot of sophomore Coby White to assume the main offensive duties in the backcourt with LaVine gone.

Terrence Ross could fit into any roster on any team. The league has seemingly unlimited affection for long, athletic wings that have shown they can shoot efficiently from outside.

His offensive game does not replace LaVine’s, so the Bulls would be betting on Gordon assuming the lead offensive role alongside Porter.

That does not seem likely. The Bulls are probably going to try to see if LaVine plus their young core which will include the fourth overall pick in this year’s draft can make them a surprise playoff entrant.

This deal leaves too many what-ifs and questions to make sense for Chicago. (Counter: the Bulls have attempted wackier roster configurations in the past.)

For Orlando, it would be difficult to part with two cornerstone players that know the system and the culture the Magic have tried to commit.

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But ultimately this will be the decision the organization will have justify if they do decide to let Gordon go.