Aaron Gordon

Nuggets Notes: Porter Jr., Luxury Tax, Gordon, Barton, Green

The Nuggets are hoping to reach a rookie scale extension agreement with Michael Porter Jr. this offseason, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. Porter had a breakout season, averaging 19.0 PPG and 7.3 RPG and president of basketball operations Tim Connelly is eager to lock up his combo forward long-term.

“He’s basketball-obsessed. His work ethic is an A-plus. It’s fun when you see guys like that where he had to battle through adversity and all the injuries,” Connelly said. “We’ll sit down with Michael’s representation. Our M.O. is when we can, we try to lock guys up and reward them for what they’ve done.”

We have more on the Nuggets:

  • Connelly said that the luxury tax is not a factor in keeping the team competitive, as he told Singer. “We have no financial restraints in terms of trying to further develop a championship-level roster,” he said. Singer notes team salary would likely surpass the tax threshold during the 2022/23 season if Porter is signed to an extension.
  • Porter might be more valuable as a trade chip than a fixture in the Nuggets’ lineup, Denver Post columnist Mark Kiszla opines. While Porter is an elite scorer, he has ball-handling issues and is an obvious defensive liability. If Denver can get a star such as Bradley Beal and Zion Williamson in a trade involving Porter, Connelly shouldn’t hesitate, Kiszla adds.
  • Along with Porter’s contract situation, the Nuggets must decide this offseason whether to pursue an extension with Aaron Gordon and whether they want to re-sign Will Barton and JaMychal Green if they decline their player options, Singer writes in an offseason outlook. Adding backcourt depth is also a priority until Murray returns from his knee injury.

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Barton, Porter, Offseason

The Nuggets became the latest NBA team to be eliminated from the postseason, as the Suns completed a four-game sweep on Sunday night in Denver. This season’s Most Valuable Player, Nikola Jokic, wasn’t on the court for the last quarter of his team’s season, having been ejected after being assessed with a flagrant two for a hard foul on Suns guard Cameron Payne. Head coach Michael Malone wasn’t thrilled with the decision, as ESPN’s Royce Young writes.

“I just didn’t feel like it warranted a flagrant two ejection because he’s making a play on the ball,” Malone said. “There’s marginal contact to Cameron Payne’s nose, I believe. So I was shocked. I’m still a little bit shocked that they called a flagrant two and ejected the MVP on such a play.”

Suns head coach Monty Williams said that he didn’t believe there was any “malicious” intent on Jokic’s part. But whether or not the star center had been ejected, the Nuggets were on the ropes and were unlikely to climb out of a deep hole in the series against Phoenix.

While Denver would’ve liked to advance further in the playoffs, the club was pleased with what it accomplished this season, including a first-round victory without standout guard Jamal Murray.

“The whole season was great, I think,” Jokic said. “Until the last four games.”

Here’s more out of Denver:

  • Nuggets guard Will Barton has battled toe, adductor, knee, and hamstring injuries since the 2019/20 season began and has had to mourn the death of his cousin, who was shot and killed in December 2019, writes Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. Barton admitted after Sunday’s loss that the last 18 months have been “tough for me, physically and mentally,” but vowed to “keep fighting.”
  • Barton will have to decide in the coming weeks whether to pick up his $14.7MM option for 2021/22 or decline it to seek a new contract. According to Keeler, Barton said on Sunday that if he opts out, he’ll want to end up somewhere where he can “play my game” and be in a “winning environment.” A new contract with the Nuggets is a possibility, since it sounds like he views Denver as a place that meets those criteria. “I definitely believe we’ve got the pieces,” Barton said. “And if we’re healthy, I feel like we can win it. And that’s all I’ll say about that.”
  • Barton’s potential free agency will be one of the biggest decisions facing the Nuggets this summer, but there will be plenty of others, according to Nick Kosmider of The Athletic, who points to JaMychal Green‘s contract situation, a possible extension for Aaron Gordon, and Paul Millsap‘s free agency as some other issues the organization will have to address.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) also previews the Nuggets’ offseason, with a focus on how the team will handle a potential rookie scale extension for rising star Michael Porter Jr.

Northwest Notes: Gordon, Clarkson, Dort, Wolves

In a conversation with Sam Amick of The Athletic, Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon spoke about how he impressed he has been with Nikola Jokic during his first few weeks in Denver, and said his team still has championship aspirations this season, even with Jamal Murray unavailable for the postseason.

Additionally, acknowledging rumors that the Celtics tried hard to acquire him at last month’s deadline, Gordon said he would’ve enjoyed playing in Boston, but stated that he views the Nuggets as an ideal fit for his skill set.

“Obviously Boston has those guys with (Jayson) Tatum and (Jaylen) Brown, and they would have been hell of fun to play with,” Gordon told Amick. “But I feel like Denver was just the best fit to showcase my well-roundedness as a ballplayer, the defensive aspect and the offensive (aspect) — basically just (the) glue that I can bring. The guy who can fill in, do a little bit of everything on the offensive end and then lock up the other team’s best player, or at least make their night hard, make it a frustrating night for them.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson is considered the frontrunner for this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award, but he tells Mark Medina of USA Today that his “main goal” is trying to win games and to win a title — but he’d be honored to win the award. “If the Sixth Man of the Year award comes and I don’t get it, I don’t need the validation because my teammates, coaching staff and a lot of my peers gave me that,” Clarkson said. “They’re telling me, ‘I respect what you do’ and all of that. So, I know that goes a long way as well. But it’s definitely something I want to get accomplished one of these years. Hopefully it’s this year.”
  • Thunder wing Luguentz Dort expressed interest in representing Team Canada in the Olympic qualifiers this summer, tweets Steven Loung of Sportsnet. While Dort said he was willing to “try out” for the team, it’s a safe bet that Team Canada would welcome him onto the roster if he wants a spot.
  • As we wait for Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor to work out a sale agreement with potential new owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore, Lee Schafter of The Star Tribune explains why he thinks Taylor’s pledge to keep the team in Minnesota should be successful, while Chris Hine of The Star Tribune looks at the roadblocks that would be in the way of the new ownership group attempted a move.
  • While the plan is for Rodriguez and Lore to begin as limited partners before they eventually assume majority control of the Timberwolves, sources told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic last week that the new owners will still have a “significant influence” on the team’s basketball and business operations right away. Krawczynski also heard that the Wolves’ financial situation isn’t in bad shape, signaling that the NBA remains viable in the market.

Western Notes: Gordon, Redick, Walker, Little

Aaron Gordon asked the Magic to trade him because he had grown weary of trying to change that franchise’s culture, he explained to Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Gordon is thrilled to play for a prime contender like the Nuggets.

“I felt like it was time,” Gordon said of his trade request. “I spent a good seven years in Orlando doing my best to change the culture, uplift the culture, turn the culture into a basketball mecca. That’s the ultimate goal. It was difficult. I was looking for insight. Looking to be a part of a winning culture, to see what that is really about, instead of being a part of a culture that you’re trying to turn into a winning culture.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • J.J. Redick was in uniform on Monday for the first time since the Mavericks acquired him from the Pelicans at the trade deadline last month, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. He participated in his first full practice with Dallas on Saturday. The veteran guard has been sidelined since March 3 by a sore right heel and Achilles and underwent a non-surgical procedure last month. Dallas traded for Redick to have another outside shooting option heading into the postseason. Redick entered Monday’s game in the first quarter.
  • Spurs forward Lonnie Walker revealed that a wrist injury has nagged him throughout the season, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express News tweets. Walker missed nearly three weeks of action before returning this past weekend. “It was extremely frustrating,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with this hand/wrist injury for a few months prior to me sitting down. For me to sit down is probably one of the hardest things in the world for me to do.”
  • Trail Blazers swingman Nassir Little has earned more playing time at shooting guard, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. The team’s first-round pick in 2019 played 24 minutes against Detroit on Saturday and contributed 11 points. “We’ll be doing it again,” coach Terry Stotts said. “He still has to learn some of the tricks of the trade as far as guarding perimeter players — coming off pin downs, guarding pick and rolls — but I think he is capable of doing that and we have to continue to see how he does in that role.”

Nuggets Notes: Gordon, McGee, Jokic, Connelly

Aaron Gordon admits the past week was “stressful” because of constant trade rumors, but he’s happy that he wound up with the Nuggets, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The Magic talked to several interested teams about Gordon before finalizing a deal with Denver shortly before Thursday’s trade deadline.

“It’s a huge relief to be a part of a great organization,” Gordon said today in his first session with reporters since being traded. “I’m just happy that I found a new home. It was tough. I was just so ready to pick up my phone from my agent. Any call I would get, regardless of who it was, I was thinking I was being traded.”

The Nuggets are counting on Gordon to bring more athleticism and a stronger defensive presence to their front line. He’s looking forward to catching lob passes from Nikola Jokic and to playing some meaningful games in the postseason. Gordon was injured during the Magic’s brief playoff stay last summer and was only in the playoffs one other time during his seven-plus years in Orlando. He told reporters this week that losing is why he asked the Magic to trade him.

“I think the style of play (in Denver) fits me a lot better. I think I can help a lot of the guys out around here with my play as well,” Gordon said. “I think I’m gonna benefit just from getting a re-start, just refreshing with a new coach and some new players.”

There’s more from Denver:

  • JaVale McGee, the Nuggets’ other trade addition Thursday, believes Denver is now in position to contend for a title, according to Sean Keeler of The Denver Post. “I feel like this team has all the pieces,” said McGee, who already has three championship rings. “I feel like they did a great job of putting their guys together. And with the addition of me and Aaron, I just feel like we have (a) championship pedigree. And me, personally, knowing it takes everything going right to win a championship, like people have got to stay (healthy), and just a lot of things have to go right. But I feel like we have all the pieces for it to go right.”
  • The Nuggets were motivated to make a significant move at the deadline because of Jokic’s MVP-caliber season, Singer adds in a separate story. “We want to make sure we’re doing right by him,” said president of basketball operations Tim Connelly.
  • Acquiring Gordon is the type of move that can flip the race for the championship, contends Zach Kram of The Ringer. He notes that because Gordon is under contract for another season, the Nuggets will have time to work with him before deciding whether to offer another contract. If not, Denver will clear sizable cap room in time for Michael Porter Jr.‘s rookie scale extension.

Eastern Notes: Celtics, Vucevic, Heat, Pacers, Wizards

One of the NBA’s most reliable trade-deadline traditions is hearing after the fact which big-name players the Celtics came close to acquiring. Although Boston was active at this year’s deadline, adding Evan Fournier in one deal and moving Daniel Theis in another, the team didn’t let that annual tradition fall by the wayside.

League sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that the Celtics were a finalist in the Nikola Vucevic sweepstakes, having included multiple first-round picks in their offer to Orlando before the big man was sent to Chicago.

Additionally, Himmelsbach reports that the Celtics offered a first-round pick and a young player (believed to be Aaron Nesmith) to Orlando for Aaron Gordon, and were prepared to increase that offer, but the Magic accepted Denver’s offer before Boston had a chance to do so.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Another post-deadline tradition? Teams insisting they didn’t offer players whose names were repeatedly mentioned in trade rumors. The Heat did that today, issuing a statement stating that they never offered Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, and Precious Achiuwa in any deals. “They were asked for, but an offer was never made,” the team said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. While the Heat’s reluctance to part with Herro was widely reported, at least one of Robinson or Achiuwa – and perhaps both – would’ve had to be included in any viable package for Kyle Lowry, so saying they were “never offered” is likely just a matter of semantics.
  • Although they were the subject of several trade rumors prior to the deadline, the Pacers were one of the few teams to stand pat. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required), that inactivity can be attributed in large part to the team’s belief in Caris LeVert. Indiana, encouraged by the early returns, is satisfied letting LeVert get back up to speed and seeing how he meshes with the club’s current core.
  • Addressing the Wizards‘ acquisition of Daniel Gafford, general manager Tommy Sheppard cited the youngster’s shot-blocking ability and athleticism, as Ava Wallace of The Washington Post relays.

Jeff Weltman Discusses Magic’s Deadline-Day Trades

Speaking today to reporters following an eventful trade deadline, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said that he believed the team could be a top-four seed in the East entering the season.

That may sound bullish, but considering the 22-21 Hornets currently rank fourth in the conference, it certainly wouldn’t have been out of the question. However, after a 6-2 start, injuries decimated Orlando’s roster, ultimately forcing a change of direction (Twitter link via Keith Smith of RealGM).

As Weltman explained today, the Magic still considered trying to make win-now moves to improve this year’s roster, but when they realized that there would be more buyers than sellers, that helped guide their direction (Twitter links via Smith). The club also had to come to terms with the fact that it didn’t have a championship-level roster and had no clear path to get there with the existing core, Smith tweets.

Orlando ended up moving Nikola Vucevic, Evan Fournier, and Aaron Gordon in three separate deals on Thursday. Without those veterans on the roster, the 15-29 Magic, who already have the fourth-worst record in the NBA, are in position to nab a high pick in the 2021 NBA draft, which Weltman acknowledged.

You win with stars in this league. We’re in position to add talent through the draft” he said, per Smith (Twitter link). “We’re not focusing on that too much because it’s not something we have full control over. But we’re in a good position for this year’s draft.”

Here’s more from Weltman on the Magic:

  • According to Weltman, the Nuggets were initially hesitant to include R.J. Hampton in their offer for Gordon, but those talks gained traction once Denver relented (Twitter link via Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel). I can’t tell you how excited we are about him,” Weltman said, adding that he believes Hampton can play alongside Markelle Fultz and Cole Anthony (Twitter link via Smith).
  • Asked if he felt the Magic got a strong enough return for Vucevic, Weltman replied, “Obviously we thought we got enough, because we did the deal.” He also pointed out that the Magic were on the receiving end of the only three first-round picks that changed hands on Thursday, and said the team has received “glowing reports” on Wendell Carter (Twitter links via Smith).
  • Although the Magic valued Fournier’s Bird rights, they felt as if it didn’t make sense to trade Vucevic and Gordon while hanging onto Fournier, and decided to take the best offer available, per Weltman (Twitter link via Smith).

Wolves Notes: Trade Deadline, Gordon, McDaniels, Collins, Power Forward

The Timberwolves allowed the trade deadline to pass without making a move, opting not to make a trade just for the sake of doing so, president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas said.

Minnesota was most heavily linked to forward Aaron Gordon, who was moved from Orlando to Denver on deadline day. The team has struggled with injuries and currently holds the league’s worst record at 10-34.

“You don’t make a trade for the sake of making a trade,” Rosas explained, as relayed by Chris Hine of the Star Tribune. “We haven’t seen this group together enough starting with our best two players and everybody else. That played a big part in it. We want to see what we have in order to make the best-educated decisions we can make.”

As a whole, an astounding 23 teams were involved in trades on deadline day this year, though Minnesota naturally wasn’t one of them.

Here are some other notes from Minnesota today:

  • A significant hurdle in the Wolves’ talks to acquire Gordon was the availability of rookie Jaden McDaniels, Hine writes. Minnesota and Orlando held discussions for multiple weeks, but Orlando reportedly wanted McDaniels in a potential agreement. Rosas and his team ultimately balked at the idea of parting ways with the 20-year-old.
  • Don’t expect the Wolves to stop monitoring Hawks big man John Collins in the coming months, Hine contends. Collins will be a restricted free agent this summer and received interest from Minnesota until the deadline passed. The 23-year-old has averaged 18.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 30.6 minutes per game this season.
  • The power forward position remains an area of concern for the franchise, Hine relays. What remains to be seen, however, is whether the solution will come internally or externally. “The one thing we don’t want to do is plug a long-term hole with a short-term solution that’s not going to be there when we need it,” Rosas said. “So we’ll continue investing in and developing our young players to see if the answer is there. Jaden gives us a lot of excitement and a lot of optionality there, but it’s a need.”
  • A source tells Hine that the Timberwolves could have made trades involving Ed Davis and Ricky Rubio, but opted against it.

Magic Trade Aaron Gordon To Nuggets

11:22pm: The deal is official, according to a Magic press release (via Twitter).


3:05pm: The 2025 first-round pick headed to Orlando in the trade will be top-five protected, tweets Zach Lowe of ESPN. That protection will remain the same in 2026 and 2027 if it doesn’t convey immediately.


11:24am: The Nuggets and Magic have reached an agreement on a trade that will send forward Aaron Gordon to Denver, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links) also hears that the two sides are in agreement, reporting that Denver will send Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton, and a protected 2025 first-round pick to Orlando in the deal. The Nuggets will also acquire Gary Clark in the trade, tweets Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Gordon, who has been one of the most frequently discussed trade candidates this month, was said at the start of the week to be drawing serious interest from the Rockets. The Celtics overtook Houston as the frontrunner to acquire the 25-year-old on Tuesday, with the Nuggets reportedly emerging as the favorite as of Wednesday night.

It’s the second trade agreement of the day for the Nuggets, who also struck a deal with Cleveland to acquire JaVale McGee. The moves will shore up a Denver frontcourt that was hit hard last offseason by the free agent departures of Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant, and Torrey Craig.

While McGee will take over as Nikola Jokic‘s backup at the five, Gordon can play either forward position, and should help provide the club with some of the defensive versatility that was lost when Grant and Craig left. It’s a safe bet that Gordon will be tasked with guarding bigger forwards like LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard during the postseason.

As for the Magic, the Gordon trade is the latest in a series of deals that signal the organization’s intention to reset its roster and retool around Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac. Orlando has also agreed to send Nikola Vucevic to Chicago and Evan Fournier to Boston.

According to earlier reports, the Celtics were offering Aaron Nesmith and a first-round pick as part of a package for Gordon. During conversations with the Timberwolves, the Magic wanted rookie Jaden McDaniels, but Minnesota was reluctant to part with him, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

Instead, the Magic will get a package headlined by a future first-round pick and Hampton, who was selected with the 24th overall pick in the 2020 draft. The 20-year-old has logged mostly garbage-time minutes in his 25 NBA games so far, but is viewed as having considerable potential.

Orlando also gets Harris, who has been productive in the past but has an oversized contract, including a $19.6MM salary this season and a $20.9MM cap hit for 2021/22. He was included in the deal for salary-matching purposes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Northwest Notes: Nuggets, Thomas, Wolves, Jensen

The Nuggets reshaped their rotation with the additions of forward Aaron Gordon and reserve center JaVale McGeeMike Singer of the Denver Post details Denver’s thinking behind the two acquisitions.

Singer cites the interest of Denver head coach Mike Malone in adding an experienced, rim-protecting playoff veteran in the post as the motivation behind adding McGee. The Nuggets are hopeful that McGee can help add some interior toughness against his old team, the Lakers.

The addition of Gordon makes sense as a solid “tweener” forward replacement for departed small forward Jerami Grant, capable of making an impact on both ends of the floor, Singer contends. The Nuggets did their due diligence in researching Gordon’s off-court fit as well as his on-court fit. Singer also notes that, because the team moved on from Gary Harris as part of the Gordon deal, Will Barton now appears destined to become the club’s starting shooting guard for the rest of the year.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • The Jazz view new acquisition Matt Thomas as a keeper beyond this season, per Tony Jones of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 6’4″ shooting guard has a non-guaranteed $1.78MM salary for the 2021/22 season, but Utah doesn’t intend to waive him in the offseason. Thomas appeared in 26 games for the Raptors this season, averaging just 7.4 MPG.
  • The front office of the lowly Timberwolves, led by team president Gersson Rosas, opted to stand pat at the trade deadline. Jon Krawczynski and Britt Robson of The Athletic report that the Wolves wanted a power forward upgrade, but struggled to find a deal they liked. Minnesota is the worst team in the West with a 10-34 record. “We could’ve acquired those high-end guys today, but it’s short term,” Rosas said. “From a long-term perspective, we’re very excited about our young guys and what the future holds for them. That’s why we weren’t as active as we potentially could’ve been.”
  • Jazz assistant coach — and Utah Utes alum — Alex Jensen has withdrawn from consideration for the head coaching gig with his alma mater, according to Christopher Kamrani and Tony Jones of The Athletic“He had great conversations with [Utah Athletic Director] Mark Harlan and knows it is a very positive situation but the timing was not right,” a source told Kamrani and Jones.