OTG's Trade Deadline Marathon: Gordon Changes Scenery
Updated: Feb 2
ORL Receives: SF Mo Harkless, SG Rodney McGruder, PF John Henson, MIL 1st Rd (via Cle)
CLE Receives: PF Aaron Gordon, PF Al-Farouq Aminu, LAC 2nd Rd, DET 2nd Rd (via LAC)
LAC Receives: C Tristan Thompson, SF B.J. Johnson
Why Orlando Does It: This is a combination of now-and-later trade for the Magic. Aaron Gordon, though nominally a franchise ‘centerpiece’ in Orlando, appears to have stalled out. After looking like a superstar in the waiting in his 2017-8 season with a 17.6-7.9-2.3 statline, he’s regressed over the past two years to a 13.3-7.2-2.9 this year. Moreover, the Magic keep drafting on top of him, first with Jonathan Isaac, then with Chuma Okeke. Instead of watching Gordon’s value depreciate, the Magic get Harkless and McGruder to beef up the wings, and Henson to provide some frontcourt depth while really giving the Magic a get-out-of-jail-free card on the Aminu signing, which looks god-awful at this point. Saving nearly $10 million over each of the next two years isn’t quite enough to offset any difference in value from Gordon and his replacements, so the Cavs kick in Milwaukee’s first -- likely a low one, but still a first -- to seal the deal.
Why Cleveland Does It: Aaron Gordon. In a faster-paced offense not centered around a more traditional center like Vucevic, Gordon will have room to shine. Still 24 despite playing in his 6th season, Gordon remains in the proper age-range for the Cavs’ youth movement, and gives them a potential frontcourt star to go with the depth the Cavs have been building up in the backcourt and on the wings. Though Aminu has looked terrible in Orlando, the Cavs are thin upfront, so Aminu might actually be helpful there, and the Cavs have gotten the Henson contracts of the world specifically for this reason: to take on bad contracts in exchange for assets. This would certainly qualify as such. A couple of seconds from the Clippers mitigate the pain of the 1st rounder heading out the door.
Why Los Angeles Does It: They’re thin upfront. Perhaps dangerously so when looking at the West playoffs and who they’ll have to face: Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert -- in a long series, they just don’t have the beef. Enter Thompson, who doesn’t require anything run for him, has energy for days, and would relish the opportunity to prove to Khloe that he’s a star. For the pretty insignificant price of Harkless, McGruder, and some 2nd rounders who wouldn’t play any meaningful role in the Clippers’ championship chase of the next few years, LA’s other team would suddenly get a quality starting center. Pretty good.