The Magic have again clinched a playoff spot in the East this year, although a first-round match-up with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks isn’t exactly a reflection of a sweet dream. Making it to the playoffs is one thing, but going on a deep postseason run is another thing that Orlando is still far from achieving.
Having said that, one can’t help but already look ahead at the looming offseason for the Magic. Aside from starting point guard D.J. Augustin entering unrestricted free agency, the team will ultimately retain its roster should they stand pat. However, it was recently reported by Anthony Slater of The Athletic that Aaron Gordon is gaining the interest of the Golden State Warriors. Before the trade deadline this year, it was widely known that the Magic front office placed the high-flying forward on the trading block, and it won’t come as a surprise if they find more suitors for Gordon this offseason.
Orlando needs a star-caliber point guard
Magic fans should already be fed up in seeing too many holes in their team’s backcourt depth. Their starting point guards for the past few seasons are Augustin, Elfrid Payton, Brandon Jennings, and Markelle Fultz. This is not to discount the efficient Augustin and the young budding Fultz. However, those two names only speak back-up guard credibility.
The Magic front office should not wait for the apples to fall anymore. They have to switch up the roster, find an interested trade suitor for Gordon, and receive a multi-dimensional guard in return. If they can’t get an All-Star in exchange for a package centering on Gordon, they should aim for a borderline star who can be a solid pick-and-roll partner for Nikola Vucevic.
Speaking of Vucevic, time is ticking for the Magic to make him feel happier. They have locked him up until the 2022-23 season, but we have seen numerous superstars force their way out of a losing situation. If they still view Vooch as the cornerstone of their future, then it’s time for the Orlando management to find a shot-creating, playmaking guard to pair with the sweet-shooting big man.
Gordon’s bargain contract could bring in solid returns
With all the intangibles that Gordon brings on the table, the athletic combo forward will only make $18 million next season, and $16 million the following year. That is indeed a bargain contract for a versatile forward like Gordon, whose value climbs higher in today’s positionless basketball.
The fact that a free-flowing, up-tempo team like the Warriors are interested in him speaks volumes on how the league views Gordon’s versatility. Three-point shooting continues to be an inconsistent asset in his skillset, but it’s not like AG’s shooting form is broken or irreparable.
On defense, Gordon has the potential to be a game-changer. His athleticism and mobility allow him to guard every position, and it’s just a matter of developing better instincts for him to tap into his defensive prowess.
For the Magic, they have the upper hand in negotiating a Gordon trade. It’s not likely that they will settle for future draft pick assets, given the Vucevic situation. But there’s no doubt that they could bag a borderline star in exchange for Gordon’s Swiss Knife skillset.