Sources: Boston Celtics Emerge as Frontrunners to Land Aaron Gordon
Scott Audette/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic.
The Boston Celtics are considered the frontrunners to add Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon via trade, multiple sources confirmed to The Action Network Monday night. While the framework of a deal is in active discussion and considered the leading offer, sources say no deal has been agreed upon and the Magic are expected to continue to take offers up until Thursday's deadline.
The list of suitors for Gordon has increased in recent days, with the Nuggets, Blazers and Mavericks, along with long-time suitor the Houston Rockets, who had targeted Gordon in three-way conversations during the James Harden trade talks.
Houston, notably, and as previously reported by The Athletic, offered two first-round picks for Gordon recently but were unable to reach a deal due to Gordon's reticence to sign an extension with Houston, sources confirmed.
Boston, multiple sources confirmed, has offered two first-round picks. No other teams on the board have yet to reach that offer level. It's not known yet what types of protections are attached to those talks but there is an assumption there will be some, if not significant, protections on the first-rounders.
Additionally, the framework involves Evan Fournier going to Boston, with the Celtics sending a player, the two picks, and using their Traded Player Exception from the Gordon Hayward trade.
As to the player, negotiations continue with the Magic preferring Marcus Smart while Boston is reluctant to part with their longtime emotional heartbeat and All-Defensive Team guard.
Boston's Traded Player Exception is not eligible to be dealt along with another player, so sources suggest the framework would include multiple deals as part of a greater framework.
The Denver Nuggets are considered another serious contender with Will Barton, Bol Bol, and draft compensation among the assets offered. The Portland TrailBlazers are actively pursuing Gordon, but there is a growing sense from sources close to the talks that Portland won't be able or willing to match competing offers.
A trade involving Gordon for the Boston's Traded Player Exception would create another TPE for the Magic, giving them a trade asset they can use for future deals. There continues to be reticence from sources not involved in talks that the Magic will actually actively pursue trades involving their core.
Gordon becomes a free agent in the summer of 2022, giving teams a year and a half to evaluate his fit, or to sign him to a long-term extension. Gordon is averaging 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game for the Magic, while shooting a career-best 40.2% from 3-point range.