Orlando Magic Rumors: The league is waiting on Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

The Orlando Magic enter the season with playoff hopes but a lot of questions about the team's future beyond it. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic enter the season with playoff hopes but a lot of questions about the team's future beyond it. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Orlando Magic will have a lot to weigh at the trade deadline this year.

There are the clear choices that have to be made — both Evan Fournier and Khem Birch can become free agents this offseason and there are reasons not to retain either player beyond this season. Those decisions are about getting what a team can get for an asset that might have diminishing returns.

And then there are the choices the team has to make to secure their future.

These are probably the far more interesting choices that will actually take some skill as a manager and leader in the front office. Knowing when to pull the trigger on a deal, when a team is ready to shake things up and push others to the front or hit the reset button.

After the Magic have fallen on their faces thanks to the injuries this season, the Magic are at a point where they have to make some decisions about their roster and their direction. Sitting on their hands is not an option.

And with a roster that when healthy is a low-level playoff team, there are plenty of teams around the league eager to see if they can pick apart the team some and get quality players.

Quality players like Aaron Gordon.

Aaron Gordon was at the center of several rumors — some of them conflicting — that suggest there is a deep market for the Magic forward with less than 10 days to go until the trade deadline. Teams have by all accounts been trying to figure out what the Magic want and the Magic have continued to survey the market.

And the Magic appear to be holding their cards close to the vest, listening and talking but not revealing much. The league seems to be in the dark still on what the Magic are looking to do.

They are all waiting on the Magic to signal their move. And the whole trade market might shift based on what the Magic might do.

The Orlando Magic are staying fairly quiet as the trade deadline nears even as teams are knocking on their door and creating a market for their players. All at a time the Magic are surely ready to make a move.

The Aaron Gordon situation is at the heart of this and is illustrative of how Jeff Weltman and his staff operate. Among the reports about Gordon from Monday:

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported Gordon is “open to a change of scenery” with the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons and Portland Trail Blazers all expressing interest.

Many fans latched onto the “open to a change of scenery” line but that may be more of an indication that everyone senses this veteran group has run its course. And it is clear the Magic have put their investment in Jonathan Isaac more.

Josh Robbins of The Athletic wrote in a post breaking down all the Magic’s players and their likelihood of getting traded that Gordon has never expressed dissatisfaction with the Magic. There has been no public statement or sign Gordon wants out of Orlando.

No one should take this as a trade request.

But there was plenty more when it came to Gordon.

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reports the Orlando Magic had discussions with the Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors dating back to the draft in November. He confirmed reporting that had been floating around that the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves were close to executing a deal involving Ricky Rubio and several draft picks before Aaron Gordon’s injury in late January knocked him out of the lineup for six weeks.

Who knows if those discussions would pick up again now that he is sort of back. But that is seven distinct teams connected to Gordon in just one batch of rumors in one day.

That is a market the Magic can seemingly use to play teams off each other and get a good deal.

The question for the Magic has always been what do the Magic want in return. That has been the thing that is most difficult to figure out when it comes to this front office. And nobody seems to have a clue where the Magic actually stand on this subject.

Fischer’s reporting on what other executives are saying about the Magic and their posture seems to suggest the Magic are still expecting a lot in return.

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  • Certainly, the Nikola Vucevic market has dried up completely — if it ever existed — with the Magic hoping for a king’s ransom to actually move him. Although, it is logical the Magic will pick up the phone and listen to just about any call.

    The going thought observing how Weltman has worked to build his team is that the Magic are trying to position themselves to make the playoffs. It can be then widely assumed the Magic passed on deals during the offseason that saw them netting a return of only young players and picks rather than players who could impact the roster immediately.

    The question then the league is trying to figure out as they approach the Magic is whether this posture has changed. Are they now willing to accept future prospects, draft picks and salary dumps to move.

    In this way, Orlando holds all the cards. the team can dictate to potential suitors what they want in return.

    They may not be able to ask for the moon, there is a breaking point to everything, of course. But the Magic should be able to get what they want within some reason with the market that has developed. So long as the team does not wait too long.

    Assessing the market is the most difficult part of anyone who trades. The Magic have to know when and for what the right time to sell is.

    If that is a young prospect and picks, that should be available. If it is a prospect and a rotation-level veteran, that should be available.

    There are enough teams reportedly in the mix for that to happen.

    But the Magic seem like their negotiation tactic is to let teams talk to them and gather information before pursuing a deal. Teams do not seem to have a real sense of what the Magic are actually going to do. There seems to be some skepticism the Magic will do anything at all.

    Then again, everything always happens right at the deadline. There is not much time, but there is time. Deals do not get done this early.

    It is clear though Orlando needs some change. And with the promise of a high draft pick oncoming, the Magic are in a perfect position to retool and rebuild. The Magic seem to be assessing what their best opportunities are to do so.

    What has become clear is the rest of the league is trying to figure out what the Magic are planning on doing and what it will take to get the team to move.

    Next. Orlando Magic showing their lack of offensive investment. dark

    The Magic have 10 days to make a call and decide to pull the trigger.