Aaron Gordon Trade Rumors: Nuggets Did 'Fair Amount of Research' on Magic Star

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) looks to pass the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets reportedly are performing due diligence on Orlando Magic star Aaron Gordon ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline. 

The Athletic's Sam Amick wrote the Nuggets "make a lot of sense as a Gordon landing spot" and reported the franchise "has done a fair amount of research on Gordon to try and better assess whether he'd be a good fit within its system and culture."

Amick and Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported earlier in the day Gordon told Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman he wants to leave ahead of the deadline.

"The 25-year-old wants to be in a winning situation that will help him fulfill his basketball potential and maximize his profile by being in a large market with plenty of branding opportunities," the report said.

The Nuggets would qualify for the former but may not qualify as a major media market to help Gordon grow his brand. One could reasonably argue going on a deep playoff run with the Nuggets would be more than enough to help his image.

Gordon is averaging 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists through 23 appearances. He's also shooting a career-best 40.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Adding the veteran power forward wouldn't necessarily make Denver the clear favorite in the Western Conference but would address one concern heading into the playoffs.

Michael Porter Jr. is averaging 15.9 points on 52.3 percent shooting. The 22-year-old can clearly hold his own offensively. On defense, opposing teams might successfully exploit his weaknesses over the course of a seven-game postseason series. According to NBA.com, the Nuggets' defensive rating climbed from 110.4 to 116.2 when Porter was on the court in the 2020 playoffs.

Gordon would be a defensive upgrade and slot nicely into the role Jerami Grant occupied during last year's run to the Western Conference Finals.

The Athletic's John Hollinger speculated a trade package of Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a 2021 first-round pick could be enough to get the Magic to blink at the negotiating table.