Report: Nuggets get their forward with Aaron Gordon trade
The Nuggets lost standout defensive forward Jerami Grant last offseason.
They still want to make a deep playoff run in a Western Conference that goes through Lakers star LeBron James and Clippers star Kawhi Leonard.
So, Denver will replenish by trading for Magic forward Aaron Gordon.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Denver is trading its a protected 2025 first-round pick in the deal, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 25, 2021
Gordon isn’t as sharp defensively as Grant was. But Gordon has the requisite size and athleticism to credibly match up with the elite big forwards who inevitably advance deep in the playoffs. Gordon also might defend more effective on a winning team.
Gordon should take a smaller role offensively with the Nuggets. His high-flying finishing could shine playing with Nikola Jokic. Gordon’s up-and-down 3-point shooting will be a swing skill. But Gordon shouldn’t have to create much on his own.
Denver got Gordon – who’s locked for next season at a relatively cheap $16,409,091 – for a reasonable cost.
Gary Harris has quietly struggled amid injury the last few seasons. Due $20,932,143 next season, he probably carried negative value.
A protected first-rounder and R.J. Hampton isn’t a high price for acquiring Gordon and unloading Harris.
The Nuggets owe the Thunder a lottery-protected first-round pick in 2023, 2024 or 2025. Denver can’t send its first-rounder to Orlando until two years after the prior pick conveys to Oklahoma City.
The No. 24 pick in last year’s draft, Hampton has dazzling upside. But 20-year-old is quite raw.
The Magic probably waited too long to move Gordon for major value. They got only a couple first-round losses to show for delaying. But at least Orlando got a decent return for Gordon now.
More importantly, the Magic have a clear direction.