Aaron Gordon’s trade request has forced Orlando Magic’s hand

The Orlando Magic's opening two wins have shown tons of promise thanks to clutch playmaking down the stretch. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Orlando Magic's opening two wins have shown tons of promise thanks to clutch playmaking down the stretch. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Rumors often trail reality.

Things leak for a reason and are usually designed to push some narrative or some action. Front offices, as the information-gathering outfits that they are, know things long before the public does. There are always motives behind why something leaks.

The motive then from Monday should be absolutely clear. What was an unusual trickle of information has become a deluge, flooding the rumor mill.

The Athletic is among the outlets reporting Aaron Gordon formally requested a trade from the Orlando Magic in February. This only backs up the rush of rumors that have come out involving Gordon in the last week and leads to only one conclusion:

The Magic are preparing to shift the core of their franchise and are ready to move Gordon.

Aaron Gordon’s trade request has revealed an unavoidable truth now. It is time for the Orlando Magic to begin their change and deal their prized forward prospect.

The leaking of this specific trade request only affirms that conclusion. The Magic’s leverage in trade negotiations will never be higher than it is now with Gordon having one more year left in his contract.

Perhaps Gordon’s representatives have sensed that and are putting this trade request out there to push the Magic closer over the edge of moving him. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reported Gordon desires to be on a playoff-contending team and that this reticence to sign an extension with whomever acquires him may have halted talks with the Houston Rockets.

Gordon is not a player who can likely dictate to the Magic where he goes. He is not of the Dwight Howard-level of player who can use his upcoming free agency to maneuver to a desired location.

While this might scare off a team like Houston, a team at the bottom of the standings and starting a longer rebuild, it is probably not enough for other teams in the hunt. Everyone likely believes they are a piece away from competing for the playoffs and convincing Gordon he can stay.

That is why now is the best time to trade Gordon. Teams have that year to convince Gordon to stay or they can cash out at next year’s deadline if things are not working out.

What has become increasingly clear is there are a lot of teams interested in him too. That should allow the Magic to maximize the market.

The Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be connected to Gordon. There are frameworks for a deal with almost all those teams.

Something may well happen.

The finality of a trade request does not increase the urgency, but it does punctuate the finality of Gordon’s tenure coming to an end.

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  • After seven seasons with the Magic, things may have just run their course. Orlando has done all it can with Gordon and Gordon has done all he can with the franchise. A change is necessary.

    It might well be necessary for both.

    Orlando is more heavily invested in Jonathan Isaac as his extension kicks in as he recovers from a torn ACL. And Gordon never quite took the star leap the team hoped for.

    Gordon will have plenty of great memories with the Magic — from his dunk contests as the People’s Champion to the defense he played as he began to blossom as an all-around player under Steve Clifford these last three years. But it never coalesced or came together to deliver the progress the Magic were always hoping for.

    Orlando could never find the right way to use Gordon’s varied talents. The team always relied on him as one of its top offensive options, but his shooting never really caught up. Gordon always seemed best as a complementary piece and Orlando always needed more from him.

    Injuries did not help — a foot fracture during his rookie year, broken jaw in the summer after his first season, a sprained ankle during training camp before his fourth year. There were very few major injuries that kept him out for so long, but always enough to knock him back.

    Perhaps Gordon realized a change of scenery was the best way for himself to grow. Just as the Magic in putting him on the market seemingly so aggressively realize it is time to cash in that chip and add something new to the roster.

    It feels like the Magic are ready to turn the page and begin a new era of the franchise. Trading Gordon is almost certainly the first and biggest step to starting over.

    Now is the time to do this too. The Magic hold the most trade leverage at this point.

    They can wait until the draft to make this move. Orlando is still being careful and patient with how it builds. But it is undoubtedly time to pull the trigger and begin this change.

    Waiting will not change the decision that has become inevitable. Gordon, even if it is at the lowest level possible, is no longer committed or bought into this team’s future. He is looking elsewhere. And a player of that much importance to a team cannot succeed if he is not bought in.

    By Thursday, the Magic should be prepared to deal Gordon and begin that change.

    Everyone senses it. With the team bottoming out and the promise of a high draft pick, it is necessary.

    Next. Orlando Magic's character will be cemented, tested this year. dark

    And Gordon is first in line to help bring that change. It will be best for everyone.