Most of the trade chatter surrounding the Boston Celtics of late has been in regards to the possible acquisition of three-time scoring champ, James Harden. However, could Danny Ainge have something else up his sleeve?
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Aaron Gordon the ‘No.1 Target’ for the Celtics?
Host John Karalis of the Locked On Celtics Podcast believes so. With a traded player exception (allows teams to exceed the salary cap while trading for a player), plus rookie Aaron Nesmith soon to be eligible to be dealt, Karalis believes that the “timing is right” for the Celtics to acquire the high-flyer from Orlando.
The Boston Celtics have a traded player exception, we all know that. Aaron Gordon on the Orlando Magic, I believe, is the number one target and Danny Ainge needs to make this trade as soon as he’s able to. Now in about a few days, Aaron Nesmith will be eligible to be traded. In about a month or so, some of the other guys that are signed are going to be able to be traded whenever it’s possible. Within these deadlines, Danny Ainge needs to use this traded player exception to get Aaron Gordon.
Gordon is fresh off a 20-point outing in the Magic’s season-opener, a 113-107 victory over intra-state rivals, the Miami Heat. The former fourth-overall pick did see a slight dip in production in 2019-20 compared to his usual output. His 14.4 ppg were 2.4 points fewer than he had averaged over the prior two seasons combined. While his .484 effective field goal percentage was the lowest in his NBA career since his rookie campaign (.478). Still, he’s talented enough and young enough (25-years-old) to warrant hefty interest on the trade market.
In fact, league sources have told ESPN’s Zach Lowe that the Minnesota Timberwolves had even thrown their hats into the Gordon market, pursuing a trade for the power forward this offseason.
How Would Gordon Fit With Celtics?
With the Celtics eyeing an NBA-record 18th championship, Boston’s most likely scenario to hoisting another Larry O’Brien trophy may be to move off of future draft picks in order to best supply star players such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown with proven, veteran commodities.
Gordon tends to moonlight as a perimeter scoring wing with the Magic, yet with Boston he’d likely slide into a more standard stretch power forward role, manning the four spot next to either Daniel Theis or Tristan Thompson. The latter of which put forth an impressive Celtics debut on Wednesday night, totaling 12 points and eight total rebounds in 22 minutes of play.
Gordon currently has two seasons remaining on a contract that is set to earn him a smidge over $18.1 million this season before dropping down to $16.4 million in 2021-22.
As Karalis pointed out via The Sports Daily, Gordon’s contract falls right into place with Boston’s current cap situation:
Gordon fits perfectly within the Gordon Hayward Traded Player Exception. His $18.1 million salary is at the high end of what the hard-capped Celtics can acquire, and the contract goes down to $16.4 million next year. The sooner the Celtics can pull off a deal, the more time they’ll have to see how well he adapts to this situation.
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