It all came down to one word: frustration.
"There's been times where I just expressed my frustration to management and the frustration with the losses, the injuries, the way we've been playing," Gordon told reporters after Tuesday's 110-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets. "How we've been playing and how many losses have accumulated over the years. So it's just my frustration kind of boiling over, I would say. I think a lot of people share that sentiment with me, a lot of frustration."
Gordon is in his seventh season with the Magic and has been to the playoffs just twice—each appearance ending with a first-round loss in five games.
Yet the Arizona product kept his head down and kept battling.
Then things got worse this season. Through 43 games, the Magic (14-29) are second-to-last in the Eastern Conference ahead of only the Detroit Pistons and have reportedly told clubs looking to deal that they're willing to trade anyone on the roster except Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz.
Trade rumors are nothing new for Gordon, but its increasingly clear his future in Orlando does not involve him as the face of the franchise for much longer.
The forward has one year and $16.4 million remaining on his contract before he reaches free agency in 2022. A trade to a contender now would show that he's still capable of producing at a high-level for a championship-caliber team before he seeks his next contract. It would also give him some more—and much-needed—postseason experience before he's officially on the free agent market.
That won't happen in Orlando. Certainly not this year.
While Gordon remains consistent on the floor with 14.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists through 23 games, the Magic aren't close to contending.
That would be frustrating on its own in any year, let alone one following Gordon's first two playoff appearances.