7 trades involving Aaron Gordon and the Orlando Magic

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Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves, Washington Wizards
Feb 27, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Minnesota The Orlando Magic have been linked directly with Ricky Rubio to help shore up the Orlando Magic’s point guard position. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Minnesota Timberwolves

There were seven teams connected to Aaron Gordon in some way during that flurry of reporting and rumors that came out Monday. That suggests there is a market and the Orlando Magic will have offers to consider and the ability to pick the one or two they want to pursue more seriously.

Jeff Weltman could even end up playing offers off each other to squeeze out a bit more whether at the deadline or next season.

The place to start is the lone concrete rumor that was reported. It has been one that has been floating around for a while now.

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ interest in Gordon has been well reported. The question was always what it would take to get him.

Most fans would probably want D’Angelo Russell, but with the team already invested in Markelle Fultz and plenty of legitimate questions about whether Russell works as a first option (especially with his lack of defensive reputation) to go on top of Russell’s long-term contract, that always seemed like a pipe dream.

It feels like the Timberwolves were more focused on adding to a core they think is fairly close to the playoffs — despite holding the worst record in the league this year. Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards are a core to start with. But their clock is ticking to compete with all the money they have invested.

Instead, the rumor centered on veteran point guard Ricky Rubio. And the report was the teams were pretty advanced in their talks before Gordon’s injury in late January put him on the shelf for six weeks.

Rubio alone — 8.2 points per game, 6.5 assists per game and a 44.1-percent effective field goal percentage — is not enough to get a deal done. Rubio is a solid point guard who help nurture young guards and provide stability — he would be a perfect replacement for what D.J. Augustin gave the team — but is not enough to get the Magic to move.

The rumor had the Magic also picking up draft picks from the Wolves. And certainly, because Rubio’s contract essentially matches Gordon in amount and years, the Magic would need a bit more.

Minnesota does not have a ton of young players it would be willing to give up and would interest Orlando. Josh Okogie is intriguing, but he has not lived up to his billing, dropping to 4.9 points per game this year (a career-low).

Orlando probably would have to put another in the deal to try to get Jaylen Nowell out of it. Nowell has been a surprising player this year, averaging 10.3 points per game and hitting 40.9-percent of his threes off the bench.

Some on social media would push for the Magic to add Jarrett Culver instead. Culver is averaging 7.2 points per game and has shot worse than 30-percent from beyond the arc in each of his first two seasons. That does not pique my interest as much.

The Rubio-for-Gordon swap with the Magic receiving some picks with protections is the framework for the deal. It works on its face. But that deal also smacks of a team trying to save its season. It does not feel like it fills the Magic’s needs or helps the team return to the playoffs in 2021.

The time for that deal has probably passed.