I have decided to never be surprised by any potential trade rumors involving new GM Troy Weaver even when it involves big game hunting. I’m not sure if the perennially interesting but never quite actually really good Aaron Gordon fits that bill, but a new report indicates the Detroit Pistons have inquired about the Orlando Magic veteran’s availability.
The price to trade for Gordon is “substantial,” according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who indicates the Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets and potentially the Portland Trail Blazers are or could join the Pistons in their interest of Gordon.
Gordon reminds me of Jerami Grant in a lot of ways, and if the interest in him is legitimate, Weaver must think he can unlock Gordon’s game similar to how Grant has blossomed in his first year in Detroit.
Gordon, like Grant is a veteran in the league but still just 25 years old. Gordon, like Grant, has never really developed into a well-rounded star, usually playing second-, third- or even fourth fiddle on offense behind players such as Nikola Vucevic, Terrance Ross and Evan Fournier.
The interest might also indicate that the Pistons don’t see power forward as Grant’s best position, as it seems pretty definitive at this point that Gordon is a power forward. He’s worst from the perimeter than Grant but a better rebounder. Really, though, the two players could be highly switchable and complementary.
Would it be worth the cost of trading for Gordon? As always, it depends on the price tag, and if the price tag is substantial then I would say buyer beware because there is little evidence in year seven that Gordon is a difference-maker, and he doesn’t have the 3-point proficiency to fall back on like Grant did.
Gordon has one year left on his deal after this one for $16.4 million and presumably any team trading for him would be hoping to convince him to sign an extension. It would be no surprise to see Sekou Doumbouya be a feature of any potential trade. The 20-year-old hasn’t looked good on the court this season and struggles to find any playing time in his second year. He’s also literally the last man standing from the roster from when Weaver took over the roster less than a year ago, so I’m sure he keeps a bag packed just to be safe. While this season looks lost on the court and development wise for young Sekou, his youth and the remaining years of team control would be appealing to other organizations.
The Magic’s goal might be a soft reset and not a full teardown. They might be looking to find someone to take on an Al-Farouq Aminu or a Mo Bamba, who have guarantees of $10 million and $7.5 million next season. The Pistons, meanwhile, don’t have any expiring deals outside of Rodney McGruder’s partial guarantee to join with Doumbouya, but could offer the smaller deals of players expiring next season like a Delon Wright ($8 million), Josh Jackson ($5 million) or Jahlil Okafor ($2 million). Those are players who could actually join the Magic rotation and help them compete next season.
If the Magic are more interested in a hard reset and maximizing future draft capital in a Gordon deal than I’m not sure a trade with the Pistons makes sense unless a third team got involved.
Detroit isn’t in a position to trade future first-round picks, the Magic aren’t in a position to turn their season around, and there are some intriguing possibilities but lingering fit issues with Gordon in Detroit.
It will likely amount to nothing, but it’s interesting to see what Weaver and the Pistons are reportedly interested in pursuing on this trade market.