Hours ahead of the NBA trade deadline, the Orlando Magic are officially having a fire sale. Nikola Vucevic is on his way to the Chicago Bulls, and now Aaron Gordon is joining the Western Conference Playoff race, with a trade to the Denver Nuggets.
The Magic have been fielding calls for Gordon for a few days now. The Boston Celtics, who wound up trading for the Magic’s Evan Fournier, Dallas Mavericks, and Portland Trail Blazers were all involved. Now, less than three hours before the deadline, he is heading to Denver.
The Magic are stocking up on young assets and draft picks. After getting a pair of first-rounders for Vucevic, they add a third for Gordon, the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. They also bring in wing Gary Harris and young guard R.J. Hampton.
Gordon should be a useful piece for Denver. The explosive forward is still just 25 years old, and is averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
Denver and Orlando have agreed on the Aaron Gordon deal, sources tell ESPN. Among the players on the way to Orlando: Gary Harris.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
The Denver Nuggets are in fifth place in the Western Conference, at 26-18 on the season. Last year in the Orlando NBA bubble, Denver made a surprise run to the Western Conference Finals, after coming back from 3-1 series deficits against both the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers. They lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in five games, one round from the NBA Finals.
Gary Harris is an interesting inclusion in the deal. In 2017-18, he looked like a future star, averaging 17.5 points per game on 48.5/39.6/82.7 shooting. His production has fallen off greatly in the years since, and he is currently averaging just 9.7 points per game, his lowest mark since his rookie season in 2014-15.
R.J. Hampton, the No. 24 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, has appeared in 25 games for the Nuggets, averaging 2.6 points per game.
Center Nikola Jokic is having a potential MVP-caliber season for the Nuggets, and Jamal Murray continues to emerge as a young star guard. Aaron Gordon gives the team an athletic, versatile wing that it has missed with the offseason departure of Jerami Grant.