Aaron Gordon Trade Rumors: Celtics Viewed as Front-Runners for Magic Star

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Boston Celtics' Daniel Theis (27) and Semi Ojeleye (37) defend against Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon (00) during the first half on an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

Rumors of an Aaron Gordon trade to the Boston Celtics are heating up.

On Monday night, Matt Moore of the Action Network reported that the Celtics are "considered the front-runners to add ... Gordon via trade." Moore added that "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."

Sam Amick of The Athletic added that "the Celtics have indeed put two first-round picks on the table, and that the framework of the deal would also include Magic guard (and free-agent-to-be) Evan Fournier heading to the Celtics."

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Sources: Aaron Gordon has put the Boston Celtics near the top of the list of teams he would like be traded to. Celtics and Magic remain engaged in trade talks. Boston has moved to Gordon as their primary target three days from the trade deadline.

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

Boston sees Aaron Gordon as a player who can help them return to the "switch everything" defenses they have been most successful with under Brad Stevens. Celtics like the idea of a closing defensive group featuring Gordon with Smart, Tatum, Brown and either Theis or R. Williams.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported that the Houston Rockets were willing to trade first-round picks for Gordon, but talks fell through when it became clear the star forward would be reluctant to sign a long-term extension with Houston, per Moore.

As for the Celtics, Joe Vardon of The Athletic offered more context on the talks with the Magic:

"An NBA executive, watching from afar when it comes to the Gordon sweepstakes, says he's not the only name the Celtics are chasing. If he was, the deal would be done. Executing deals with Boston can be tricky. Offers are often made out of Beantown for players not currently on the Celtics' roster (meaning a third team has to get involved), which can frustrate colleagues looking to make a big deal."

Gordon, 25, is having another solid season for the Magic, averaging 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the field and a career-high 40.2 percent from three. He's the type of multi-positional defender who is highly valuable come the playoffs, and his improved shooting this season would allow the Celtics to space the floor. 

Something needs to change in Boston. The Celtics have limped to a disappointing 21-22 record, a surprising mark for a team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last year. 

As for what Boston would give up in any Gordon pursuit, Marcus Smart would potentially be heading the other way. Losing the sturdy defender would hurt, though Gordon would be a more natural fit with players like Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. 

If Smart is on the move, however, that would mean shooting guard Fournier would be heading to Boston in the deal. For a Celtics team dramatically underachieving this season, righting the ship would be worth a major shake-up like dealing Smart.