NBA Rumors: Latest on LaMelo Ball, Warriors' Interest in Aaron Gordon

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2020

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 30: LaMelo Ball of the Hawks in action during the round 9 NBL match between the New Zealand Breakers and the Illawarra Hawks at Spark Arena on November 30, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

While most of the NBA is focused on the league's restart at the end of the month, there are some unfortunate teams who are left staying at home looking ahead to the offseason. 

With the offseason not really taking place until October, they've got some time. There's a lot of ground to cover in that period, though. The 2020 draft class is filled with unknowns, free agency could be more difficult to navigate than ever with an unclear cap moving into next year and play in the bubble might not reveal much about what team's actually have given the unique situation. 

More than three months away from the offseason, there's still bits of information coming out that could play a major role in how things shake out in October. That includes one of the biggest enigmas in the draft class in LaMelo Ball and Aaron Gordon's future with the Magic. 

         

Scouts Impressed by LaMelo Ball's Maturity

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A few minutes of watching LaMelo Ball's many highlights shows his tantalizing potential. Much like his older brother, Lonzo, there's more to his draft stock than what he does on the court.

When the older Ball brother came out of UCLA, it wasn't his abilities on the court that were scrutinized. It was the question of how involved his father, LaVar Ball, would be and how he would handle that. The same question is assuredly going to be brought up again now that LaMelo is considered a top draft prospect. 

Ball has grown up in the spotlight, and his highlights have been viral sensations since he started in high school.

However, it appears teams have liked what they've seen so far from the 18-year-old, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic:

"Scouts I talk to have been encouraged by LaMelo's maturity. He still has a lot of developing to do as a player, but I haven't heard teams express the kind of concern about inviting the circus to town with him that many did when Lonzo was coming in. I was in Vegas at Lonzo's first summer league game, and let me tell you it was absurd. LaVar was preening for the cameras and stealing the show, and you just had the feeling that it was going to be hard to sustain."

In many ways, LaMelo will have Lonzo to thank if he goes No. 1. While the older brother hasn't quite lived up to expectations, he has put up respectable numbers and proved to not be a distraction to his team. He's putting up 12.4 points and seven assists per game with the Pelicans in his third season. 

Ball has come a long way from the young man in high school who would pull up from half-court, or who scored 92 points in a game by eschewing defense. He had the opportunity to play in a professional league with grown men and put up 17 points, seven assists and 7.5 rebounds a game doing it. 

This year's class is marked by questions, so the race to be the top pick isn't exactly filled with great competition. James Wiseman only played three games with Memphis last season, while Anthony Edwards might be the safest of the big three but has questionable defense. 

The lottery could dictate who goes first overall this year, and the prospect who can minimize the questions surrounding him in the pre-draft process might just have the edge. Reports like this one are a good sign for Ball heading into the long road to October. 

         

Aaron Gordon Open to Being Traded

Given the unforeseen cap ramifications in the current league landscape, it might be difficult for teams to get much better in free agency. So the trade market could be the key for teams looking to get better. 

One player who may become available when the trade market heats up is Aaron Gordon. The Orlando Magic forward is completing his sixth season with the club, but it could be his last. 

Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area mentioned Gordon among possible targets for the Golden State Warriors this offseason and also noted that the 24-year-old could be on board to leave Florida next season:

"Six seasons into his career, Orlando still is trying to figure out how to maximize his talent. He's still young (24) and wouldn't mind, at all, being moved. Any deal likely would require some fancy financial finagling, but it's conceivable."

Gordon has been up-and-down with the Magic in his career thus far. His best season came in 2017-18 when he put up 17.6 and 7.9 rebounds per game with roughly a block and steal per game. Those numbers have fallen off in each of the two previous seasons as the team brought in Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba to be the frontcourt of the future. 

That leaves Gordon without a clearly defined role moving forward. A team like the Warriors would give him a chance to be on a contender for the first time in his career. 

There may not be many impact talents available to teams through free agency or trade in the fall, so Gordon figures to be one of the highest-profile assets if he becomes available. 

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