Since the early stages of the 2019-20 NBA season, both Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon and San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan have been a staple of trade rumors and have often individually featured in multiple hypothetical deals. There has also been some talk of both stars getting traded for each other, with the latest such recommendation suggesting the Spurs acquire both Gordon and veteran forward Al-Farouq Aminu in exchange for DeRozan.
As detailed by Bleacher Report‘s Andy Bailey on Wednesday, it would be advisable for DeRozan to pick up his $27.7 million option for the 2020-21 campaign, considering how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the NBA’s financial outlook and how San Antonio appears to play better when he’s sitting on the bench. As such, the 30-year-old could serve as a “centerpiece” of a potential trade involving Gordon.
As Gordon will be making $18.1 million next year, Bailey pointed out that the Magic will need to include Aminu in the deal for salary-matching purposes. As shown on the team’s Basketball-Reference page, the 29-year-old has played only 18 games in 2019-20, averaging 4.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and one steal per game while shooting only 29.1 percent from the field. Gordon, meanwhile, has posted averages of 14.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 58 games while converting on 43.3 percent of his field goals so far this season.
Regarding Gordon’s potential impact if traded, Bailey wrote that moving him to San Antonio would be a “long-overdue nod to the future” after the organization received flak for trading superstar Kawhi Leonard to the Toronto Raptors for DeRozan in 2018. He added that the former No. 4 overall draft pick could be a good fit alongside guards Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, and Derrick White as part of the team’s young core.
“Filling out a lineup with those three, Gordon and Jakob Poeltl would give the Spurs a shot at a top-10 defense. And more offensive responsibility for all five could foster growth.”
Despite his tendency to avoid shooting the ball from long range, DeRozan (22.2 points per game) was described as a solid presence on offense and a “proven” No. 1 scorer who could fill a need for Orlando. His subpar play on the other end of the floor, however, was brought up as his primary weakness, though Bailey suggested the former University of Southern California star could benefit from playing alongside quality defenders such as Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, and Mo Bamba. He also noted that Magic head coach Steve Clifford has been known as someone who could “successfully hide” players’ weaknesses on defense.