The Boston Celtics might be on the verge of making a big move.
According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Celtics are now considered to be the front-runners to land Aaron Gordon from the Orlando Magic before this season's trade deadline on Thursday, March 25.
The Athletic's Sam Amick has since confirmed the report.
Sources: The Boston Celtics are the current frontrunners for Aaron Gordon, having matched the Rockets' offer of two first-round picks as part of a larger offer. Pick protections unknown. https://t.co/qSCjx4D6uv- Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 23, 2021
Let's look at what a potential trade might look like for both sides.
Why it would make sense for the Celtics: Gordon is an excellent defender who is shooting a career-best 40.2 percent from 3-point range and averaging a career-high 4.2 assists per game this season. He might not be the solution to all of Boston's problems, but he has the potential to fit in well alongside Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, much like how Gordon Hayward did last season. It helps that he's on a similar development timeline as the two All-Stars, having turned 25 years old on Sept. 16. Sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 21-22 record, Gordon could give the Celtics a much-needed boost on both ends of the court.
Why it would make sense for the Magic: According to Matt Moore of The Action Network, the Celtics have offered two first-round picks for Gordon. There would likely be more to the trade - the current framework reportedly involves Evan Fournier going to Boston and Marcus Smart going to Orlando, although the Celtics are said to be "reluctant" to part with Smart - but the draw for the Magic would be flipping Gordon for as many picks as possible, giving them an opportunity to rebuild through the draft.
With there being a number of teams reportedly interested in Gordon, the Magic are expected to field offers until the deadline.
Financial implications: The Celtics have a $28.5 million trade exception they can use to acquire Gordon. Where it gets complicated is the Celtics can't use their trade exception for more than one player, so this could turn out to be multiple deals if both sides come to an agreement. Either way, the Celtics have the means to acquire Gordon without having to match his entire salary of $18.1 million this season.
Following this season, Gordon's salary declines to $16.4 million in 2021-22. He's set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
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