The NBA All-Star game has come and gone, meaning the trade deadline is less than three weeks away. With a record-setting $28.5 million traded player exception at their disposal, the Boston Celtics will continue to be at the forefront of trade chatter until the deadline arrives.
One of the players readily linked to the Cs has been All-Star big Nikola Vucevic, who alongside Pistons forward Jerami Grant, is reportedly the apple of Boston’s eye per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Yet, any deal for Vucevic would be catastrophic in terms of compensation, a route Danny Ainge may be hesitant to take considering his team’s recent improved play and budding health. Instead, swinging a deal for Vucevic’s frontcourt-mate in Orlando, Aaron Gordon, could prove far more practical from Boston’s point of view.
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2 Young Celtics Wings Floated in Trade Package for Aaron Gordon
We all know Gordon could be had for a cheaper price than Vucevic. Yet, the question is, by how much? A panel of analysts at The Athletic recently gathered to unravel the answer, floating potential compensation that could yield Boston the former No. 4 overall pick in return.
Celtics beat writer Jay King believes that when framing a Gordon trade package, the Golden State Warriors’ offseason acquisition of Kelly Oubre Jr. is a good place to start for inspiration.
Kelly Oubre Jr. isn’t a perfect player comparison, but he’s close enough in age and production to Gordon that the framework of Golden State’s recent trade for Oubre feels relevant. In that deal, the Warriors gave up a heavily protected first-round pick, which could turn into two second-round picks.
While a handful of draft picks may be a good starting point in hopes of acquiring the versatile forward, it likely wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done. Magic beat writer Josh Robbins believes Orlando would require a starting player in return, preferably a shooting guard.
The Celtics don’t appear to roster a player that would fall under this category –– currently. So instead, King floated the idea of dangling two wings that could potentially grow into that role, in former lottery picks, Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford
The Celtics could offer that to absorb Gordon and his salary into their big trade exception. They may need to offer more. If the Magic are interested in young wings, Boston has two recent lottery picks in Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford. Those players are early in their development, and Langford has been hindered by injuries. The Celtics still seem high on the potential of their young wings, but shouldn’t consider either player off-limits in the right type of deal.
Gordon Out of Orlando’s Long-Term Plans?
While Gordon may already be in his seventh NBA season. At just 25-years-old, he theoretically still has room to grow. He’s shown this in glimpses in 2020-21, most notably as a passer and as a shooter from beyond the arc.
The 6-foot-9-inch forward is averaging a career-high 4.2 assists this season, albeit over just 19 games. Yet, he’s now averaged 3.7 assists over his last 159 games spanning over the past three years. Gordon’s passing abilities could prove to be a real asset for a team such as the Celtics, who currently rank 27th in the NBA in team assists per game (22.4). In terms of his improved shooting, Gordon is shooting a personal best 36.9% from three this season, a nearly 7.0% jump from his 30.8% career 3-point percentage entering the year.
Despite what Gordon brings to the table, the Magic currently has a logjam at power forward, which could make him expendable over these next few weeks. Aside from the former No. 4 overall pick, Orlando is set to have Chuma Okeke, Al-Farouq Aminu (player option) and Jonathan Isaac all under contract next season. The latter of which recently inked a four-year extension which will run through 2024-25.
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