Aaron Gordon Trade Rumors: 'There's Been a Little Smoke on the Warriors'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) gets a dunk against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

While the Golden State Warriors don't have an obvious trade piece, there reportedly has "always been a little smoke" to their interest in Aaron Gordon.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported Gordon could become a target as they explore using their $17.2 million trade exception. The exception, which comes from their trade of Andre Iguodala last offseason, must be used by Oct. 24.

Gordon has been off and on the trade block for years, with no team matching the Magic's demands when he became available.

His departure seemed increasingly inevitable as Jonathan Isaac emerged this season, but Isaac's torn ACL puts strong odds on Gordon sticking around. Gordon isn't the player who will push Orlando into the next tier, but the franchise surely isn't looking to return to the lottery.

Gordon is under contract with a de-escalating salary through the 2021-22 season. The Magic can at least theoretically afford to wait until the summer of 2021 to move him, though Isaac's free agency could further complicate matters. Isaac will become a restricted free agent in 2021 after missing the entire 2020-21 season recovering from his knee injury.

The Warriors don't have time to wait for the Magic to map out their offseason plans. They need to strike quickly with the exception, assuming the team is willing to add more salary amid the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic makes it more possible the Warriors could allow the exception to expire rather than increase their tax bill.

Regardless, Isaac's injury makes it more likely than not Gordon stays in Orlando.