Like the NBA Trade Deadline approaching, the Denver Nuggets have explored all of their options to upgrade their roster. They make phone calls, poll offers, and consider every opportunity to add to a group they think could make some serious noise in the playoffs this year.
The leading player in the market, attacker Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, is a player who has been seriously chasing the Nuggets for the past few days.
The Nuggets aren’t the only team in the race, though. According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the boston Celtics have become the new front runners in the pursuit of Gordon.
Boston, multiple sources have confirmed, has offered two first-round picks. No other team on the board has yet to reach that bidding level. It is not yet known what types of protections are associated with those talks, but there is an assumption that there will be some, if not significant, protections for the first rounders.
Additionally, the framework involves Evan Fournier going to Boston, with the Celtics sending a player, the two picks, and using their Traded Player Exception from the Gordon Hayward trade.
Having missed an opportunity to add center Myles Turner in the off-season, the Celtics are seriously improving their roster ahead of the trade deadline. The Celtics have had a disappointing season so far, currently sitting at 21-21 and well away from opponents from the Eastern Conference contenders. Could Gordon change their fate? It is possible.
Having the flexibility to also defeat Evan Fournier using the trade exception generated by the Gordon Hayward mark and the off season trading gives the Celtics a nice trade token to entice the Magic. They wouldn’t have to take any extra money back in the exchange, and it would open up some roster flexibility for the Magic in the upcoming off-season, a roster currently capped following two-player extension with season-related injuries Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac before the season.
In order to acquire Gordon, the Nuggets would have to be willing to match Boston’s bid to the Magic. Orlando, behind closed doors of course, has expressed interest in a budding shooting guard replacement for Fournier, a young candidate, and a first round pick. The Nuggets can deliver all three, as Moore points out later in the article:
The Denver Nuggets are considered another serious contender with Will Barton, Bol Bol, and a draft fee on the assets on offer.
This is probably not the best offering from Denvers. If the Magic were more intrigued by Gary Harris as the shooting guard recurring in the deal, the Nuggets could offer Harris instead. Additionally, the Nuggets have two first-round 2020 picks in their roster: RJ Hampton and Zeke Nnaji, who have shown some interesting skills for the modern NBA.
Whether Aaron Gordon is the right player for the Nuggets to move all-in is unclear, but a move like the one above would be Denvers’s first significant trade acquisition in a long time, possibly since the Magic’s Arron Afflalo prior to the 2014-15 season or even Andre Iguodala prior to the 2012-13 season. None of these players lasted more than a year in Denver, and the Nuggets must be concerned about Gordon’s departure from the free duty in 2022 when his contract expires.
Still, the Nuggets owe it to their team, and Nikola Joki must try to win a championship for the season. If Denver can find a prize they can live with, Gordon would be a great addition to Denver on deadline and increase their chances of getting to the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers come playoff time. The risk would be high, especially in the short term during a strange season in the midst of a global pandemic; however, the reward could be the franchises first NBA Finals walk in franchise history. An extra first round pick seems to pay a small price at that point.
Make sure to read the Matt Moores article in full by clicking here.
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