Danny Ainge doesn’t believe that the Boston Celtics have the “characteristics of a really good team.” Vastly underperforming this season and currently sitting in eighth place in the East, the optics would certainly back that notion.
One of the quickest ways to alter the quality of the C’s roster would be to swing a trade. With mere days until the March 25 trade deadline, sellers have begun to show themselves and asking prices have emerged. One of those potential sellers is the Orlando Magic.
ALL the latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Magic’s Steep Asking Price for Aaron Gordon
Owners of the league’s fourth-worst record, the Magic may be willing to cut ties with some of their more prominent players — although they apparently won’t come cheap. While Nikola Vucevic remains a dream get for the Celtics, the likelihood of such a deal taking place looks to be unlikely. Instead, Vooch’s frontcourt mate, Aaron Gordon, seems like a far more reasonable candidate to don a C’s uniform post-March 25. Yet, what might it take to yield the former No. 4 overall pick in a trade?
According to The Denver Post’s Mike Singer, the Magic are believed to be seeking “a young player or players, a draft pick” and matching salary in exchange for the versatile forward.
This report was essentially echoed by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, who claimed “it would cost a first-round pick and a good young player” to pry Gordon from Orlando.
The 25-year-old forward is coming off a monster 38-point performance in an upset victory of the Brooklyn Nets. He’s currently averaging a well-rounded statline of 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, while shooting a career-best 41.1% from beyond the arc. He offers good size at 6-foot-8-inches and has the ability to serve as a small-ball center, as well as guard multiple positions on the defensive end.
Gordon is three years into his four-year $80 million deal and is set to earn a base salary of $16.4 million next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Is Evan Fournier the More Realistic Trade Target?
The Celtics as a whole currently average 12.2-made three-pointers per game (19th-most in NBA). Maybe Magic wing Evan Fournier and his 39.0% three-point percentage could help boost those numbers.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported last month that Orlando “possibly could be willing to part” with Fournier. The 28-year-old would potentially be nothing more than a one-year rental as his contract is set to expire at the end of this season — although as Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale recently noted, that’s not exactly a bad thing.
“Fournier should playoff-proof their offense,” Favale wrote. “And they have the runway to climb up the standings. They may send the Magic a pick in the 20s. Bringing Fournier’s Bird rights into free agency is also a win for a team that won’t have cap space, and his salary will still leave them with more than $10 million to use from their Gordon Hayward trade exception.”
Fournier would add a solid scoring punch (likely) off the bench for Boston, helping ease some of the hefty offensive workload placed upon both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
The nine-year pro has battled back spasms in 2020-21, limiting him to just 23 games. Yet, when he’s available he’s produced. Fournier is averaging a career-best 19.3 ppg this season. Over his last three contests, that number jumps all the way up to 26.6 ppg.
- Trade Talk: Celtics Labeled ‘Top Landing Spot’ for 5x All-Star
- Wild 4-Team Trade Proposal Sends NBA Champ to Celtics
- Jaylen Brown Floated as Trade Piece to Lure NBA’s Leading Scorer to Celtics
- Trade Proposal Sees Celtics Reunite With 5x-All Star, Deal 2 Starters‘