Aaron Gordon trades grades: Magic star traded Nuggets for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a selection, report says

The Orlando Magic are trade forward Aaron Gordon and Gary Clark to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Gary Harris, RJ Hampton and a first-round pick according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The move ends years of speculation about Gordon’s condition in Orlando. The Magic have largely been a lottery team since they selected Gordon in 2014, and while they may have terminated him, it’s worth noting that he reportedly requested a trade in February. He continued to express his frustration over the situation after a loss on Tuesday, and will now continue his career with a new team.

The basketball world has long expressed interest in Gordon leaving Orlando because of the suboptimal way they used him. Gordon is a natural power forward who, in certain lineups, might even be better as a center in the modern game. However, Orlando’s crowded front court often forced him to play small forward in lineups with limited space. Orlando has had a hole at point guard throughout Gordon’s career, and without a playmaker to gear him up, the Magic have never really been able to capitalize on his remarkable athleticism.

For the Magic, this is just the last trade of the day to help them prepare for the future. Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier also left, and now Orlando can focus on his youth for the rest of the season. Trading impact players like Gordon, Vucevic and Fournier also put the Magic in a better position to land a top pick this year. With a 15-29 record, which is the fourth worst in the league, Orlando will have a decent shot at the first pick.

Let’s take a look at the business ratings of this deal.

Denver receives:

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Orlando receives:

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  • 2025 First Round Protected Selection

Nuggets Commercial Grade: B +

In Denver, Gordon has found an ideal situation in which to flourish individually. He never even had an average point guard to create shots for him with the Magic. The Nuggets have Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray to make it look good. At the very least, those two should be able to get him plenty of easy dunks on big passes, and the space they generate alongside Michael Porter Jr. should give him plenty of open 3-point attempts.

However, this was a trade made for the defense. Denver lost Jerami Grant this offseason, and without him, they have no real answer for the best forwards in the Western Conference. Gordon solves that. He’s been among the best defensive forwards in the NBA at times and should give them a realistic option to pitch players like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. At just 25 years old, he also fits perfectly into the Jokic-Murray timeline. Gordon is exactly the type of player the Nuggets needed.

Magic Commercial Grade: B

There were reportedly several suitors for Gordon prior to the deal made with the Nuggets, and the Celtics were seen as the favorites. It’s unclear exactly what the Magic could have gotten from the Celtics or any other team in the mix, but this is decent loot for the caliber of player Gordon. Hampton might end up being the most interesting piece of all the exchange packages they have racked up today, as he may have the highest ceiling as someone who was seen as a lottery high pick before falling to the No. 24 overall pick in the 2020. NBA Draft. He’ll get a bigger role in Orlando to show off his skills, and Harris provides a bit more depth in the backcourt, which has suddenly become very crowded for the Magic between him, Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony.

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