Aaron Gordon

Wolves Rumors: Hernangomez, Edwards, Rubio, Beasley

Timberwolves restricted free agent forward Juan Hernangomez initially sought an offer in excess of $10MM per year, sources tell Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Unwilling to meet that price right off the bat, the Wolves “essentially told” Hernangomez to prove he could get an offer from another club while they went looking for possible alternatives at power forward, writes Krawczynski.

Minnesota ended up reaching out to a number forwards in free agency, including Derrick Jones (as previously outlined), Paul Millsap, Jae Crowder, and JaMychal Green, and inquired on possible trades involving Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, and Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr., sources tell Krawczynski.

The Timberwolves didn’t have any luck with any of those potential targets, but held firm on their offer to Hernangomez, who mulled the possibility of accepting the one-year qualifying offer worth $4.64MM, per Krawczynski. Ultimately, the two sides came to an agreement on a three-year, $21MM deal that has a third-year team option.

Here’s more out of Minnesota:

  • The Timberwolves chose Anthony Edwards with the No. 1 pick last week because they believe he has the clearest path of any of this year’s draft-eligible prospects to becoming a multi-time All-Star, says Krawczysnki.
  • Sources tell The Athletic that the team’s acquisition of Ricky Rubio was partly motivated by seeing what the veteran point guard did for Donovan Mitchell and Devin Booker at his previous stops and a belief that he’ll aid Edwards’ development.
  • The Knicks told Malik Beasley he’d be their Plan B in free agency if they couldn’t land Gordon Hayward, according to Krawczynski. Recognizing that New York could be a threat to put forth a troublesome offer sheet, the Wolves went in with an aggressive pitch on the opening night of free agency and secured a commitment from Beasley on the spot. Sources tell The Athletic that Beasley has appreciated the support he’s received from the franchise since running into off-court legal problems.
  • The Timberwolves officially announced Beasley’s new deal today. Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) has the year-by-year financial breakdown of that contract, which guarantees the swingman $43MM+ over three years.

Rockets, Magic Discussed Russell Westbrook Trade

The Rockets talked to the Magic about a deal involving Russell Westbrook, but the teams weren’t able to make any progress, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The trade would have included a package from Orlando with Aaron Gordon as the centerpiece.

Houston has been searching for a taker for Westbrook, who reportedly asked to be dealt after one season with the team. Rumors have focused on the Knicks, Hornets and Wizards, but the Rockets have seen a limited market for the former MVP. His contract, with $132MM remaining over three seasons, has been an impediment, along with his age and history of injuries.

The Magic have been exploring deals involving Gordon, who has two years left on his contract at about $34.5MM. The 25-year-old is an explosive dunker, but hasn’t developed into the player Orlando was expecting when it drafted him fourth overall in 2014. His scoring average dipped for the second straight season in 2019/20, falling to 14.4 PPG, and he shot just 43.7% from the field.

Southeast Notes: Gordon, Magic, Hawks, Heat

Before the Trail Blazers reached an agreement with Houston to acquire Robert Covington in exchange for Trevor Ariza, this year’s No. 16 pick, and a protected 2021 first-round selection, Portland used similar assets to attempt to acquire Aaron Gordon from the Magic, according to Mitch Lawrence of SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter link), who says Orlando didn’t bite.

Gordon is believed to be available, with one recent report suggesting the Magic are attempting to move up in the draft by attaching the forward to the No. 15 pick. However, it makes sense that Orlando would be lukewarm on an offer made up of an expiring contract and two mid-to-late first-rounders. If the Magic do move Gordon, they’d likely want to get an impact player in return, or at least create a path to land one  (ie. securing a high lottery pick).

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman confirmed on Monday that his team has explored the possibility of trading up or trading down in the draft, but said the “greatest likelihood” is that the club remains at No. 15, per Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel.
  • Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said something similar in his Monday conference call, suggesting that staying put at No. 6 is most likely for his club, followed by trading down. As Chris Kirschner of The Athletic relays, Schlenk also spoke about Atlanta shifting from “asset accumulation to hopefully talent accumulation” using its cap room this offseason, suggesting the team is no longer prioritizing accommodating salary dumps with its cap space.
  • Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey conducted a personalized workout on Zoom with the Heat, he told reporters today (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Ramsey added that he also did a Zoom workout that about 22 teams watched.

Trade Rumors: Westbrook, Hornets, Holiday, Gordon

The first major domino of the NBA offseason has fallen, as the Thunder and Suns are set to finalize a deal that will send All-Star guard Chris Paul to Phoenix.

Kelly Oubre is one of the key pieces headed to Oklahoma City in that swap, and according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7FM (Twitter link), the Suns felt as if Oubre was expendable not only due to the emergence of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, but because they didn’t think they’d end up re-signing Oubre in free agency in 2021.

Meanwhile, while Paul is on board with being dealt to the Suns, Marc Berman of The New York Post hears that CP3’s top preference would have been a move to the Clippers. The veteran point guard had “mixed feelings” about a possible deal to the Knicks, Berman adds.

As we wait for more trade agreements to be reached, here are a few of the latest rumors from around the NBA:

  • The Hornets appear to be the most likely landing spot for Russell Westbrook, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who writes that team owner Michael Jordan wants to acquire the former MVP. However, sources tell O’Connor that Charlotte won’t put the No. 3 overall pick on the table in an offer to the Rockets.
  • The Mavericks aren’t involved in the Jrue Holiday sweepstakes for now, according to Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, who tweets that the Pelicans prefer to trade Holiday to an Eastern Conference team. Mike Singer of The Denver Post notes (via Twitter) that New Orleans’ apparent desire to send Holiday to the East might be posturing to try to drive up the price for a team like the Nuggets.
  • Asked today about trade rumors involving Aaron Gordon, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman confirmed there have been “a lot of calls” on the forward (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel). However, he added that there’s an “amazing amount of misinformation that circulates and is unfounded.” A report last week suggested Orlando was trying to move up in the draft from No. 15 by attaching Gordon to the pick.
  • In case you missed it, James Harden is rumored to be seeking a trade out of Houston.

O’Connor’s Latest: Bucks, Mavs, LaVine, Gordon, More

The Bucks are active in trade discussions and have offered point guard Eric Bledsoe to multiple teams, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. As the Bucks look to upgrade their roster around reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and standout forward Khris Middleton, it sounds like they’re focusing on two-way forwards with defensive versatility — according to O’Connor, the club is pursuing Rockets veterans Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker.

O’Connor’s latest mock draft at The Ringer includes plenty of interesting tidbits, including a couple we’ve already passed along. Here are a few more highlights:

  • Multiple teams, including the Mavericks, have contacted the Bulls this offseason to inquire on Zach LaVine‘s availability, says O’Connor. It’s not clear if Chicago would have any interest in moving its leading scorer.
  • League sources tell The Ringer that the Magic have made efforts to move up into the lottery by attaching Aaron Gordon to their No. 15 selection.
  • O’Connor writes that the Suns are “hoping” to use their No. 10 pick in a trade for Chris Paul. That would seemingly contradict an earlier report that suggested Phoenix probably wouldn’t that pick in an offer for the Thunder point guard.
  • Executives around the NBA are fairly confident that Deni Avdija won’t fall past Cleveland at No. 5, according to O’Connor, who is the latest to report that the Cavaliers are high on the Israeli wing.
  • There has been increasing buzz surrounding Serbian forward Aleksej Pokusevski, with execs around the league increasingly believing that he’ll be a lottery pick, per O’Connor.
  • Oregon guard Payton Pritchard is receiving interest from multiple teams near the end of the first round, sources tell O’Connor. One of those sources thinks Pritchard may even have a promise.

Lowe’s Latest: Beal, Celtics, Culver, Heat, Gordon, More

Teams with interest in Bradley Beal haven’t given up hope that the Wizards will consider trading him this fall, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, who notes that multiple “strong playoff teams” have looked into what it would take to acquire a top-10 pick and may be seeking extra assets to swing a big trade for someone like Beal.

However, the Wizards have shown zero interest in trading Beal, even for the No. 1 or No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, sources tell ESPN. The Timberwolves (No. 1) and Warriors (No. 2) are both known to be hoping to trade their selections for an All-NBA caliber player like Beal (or Ben Simmons or Devin Booker), but it seems unlikely that such a deal will materialize, says Lowe.

For the Wizards to really consider the idea of moving Beal, he may have to tell the team he would prefer to play elsewhere, per Lowe. Perhaps that will happen down the road if Washington doesn’t bounce back from a second consecutive lottery finish, but it hasn’t to this point.

Here’s much more from Lowe:

  • Lowe confirms the Celtics have explored using their three first-round picks to trade up in the draft, but says Boston is considering a number of options with those picks, including trying to trade for a “solid veteran.” Since so many teams are in win-now mode, there aren’t many of those players available, according to Lowe, who says that Larry Nance Jr. and Dennis Schröder are among the players who could be under-the-radar targets for teams looking to upgrade their rotations.
  • Jarrett Culver‘s name has popped up in trade rumors, but Lowe thinks the Timberwolves would only move him in a package for a star, or for a draft pick that would help acquire a star. Lowe adds that he thinks Minnesota will dangle the No. 17 pick and James Johnson‘s expiring contract in search of a veteran contributor.
  • While Lowe thinks the Heat should be able to re-sign Goran Dragic on a big one-year deal, he expects it to be tougher for Miami to take the same approach with Jae Crowder, who will likely receive multiyear offers in the mid-level range.
  • Rival executives have pitched the idea of the Mavericks acquiring Rudy Gobert from the Jazz, but Lowe is skeptical there will be a match there and believes Dallas will have a tough time acquiring a third star via trade this offseason.
  • It’s unclear what sort of leaguewide interest there is in Magic forward Aaron Gordon. Lowe points to the Trail Blazers as a potential match, but says the two teams have never seriously discussed a swap involving Gordon and CJ McCollum and isn’t sure whether lesser assets like Zach Collins or Anfernee Simons would appeal to Orlando.
  • Lowe’s offseason preview is jam-packed with many more notes and is worth checking out in full. We relayed a number of Lowe’s other most intriguing tidbits in our stories earlier today, including items on the Bucks, Pistons, and Knicks.

Eastern Notes: Gordon, Wizards, Sheppard, Bulls’ Draft

Frustration over his hamstring injury led Magic forward Aaron Gordon to leave the Orlando campus, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. “He’s so frustrated because there were days when he felt good and looked like he might be close to playing, and (then) he can’t run, can’t sprint,” coach Steve Clifford said. “And every time he tried to amp it up and do more, he was just never all that close.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard vows not to embrace any short-term fixes in his quest to build a true contender, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “There’s no shortcuts to anywhere we’re going to,” Sheppard said. “That’s the hardest thing is to step back and look at a team and say ‘Hey, there’s ways we can probably artificially inflate this team up’ and grab a couple players and get a couple more wins and feel a little bit better at the end of the year. But is that really about winning at a really large scale, and where we want this to be?”
  • Sheppard would still like to see progress in the form of a playoff berth next season and he hopes the team’s top pick will help them get there, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. Washington didn’t move up in the lottery and will have the No. 9 overall pick. “Next year, we don’t want to rely on the draft lottery to get better,” Sheppard said. He’s also willing to move up the draft, possibly by packaging the lottery pick the second-rounder it owns at No. 37 overall, Hughes tweets.
  • The safest route for the Bulls to go with the No. 4 pick would be a small forward, either Deni Avdija or Isaac Okoro, to eventually replace Otto Porter Jr., Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times opines. Cowley explores various options regarding the pick in his article.

Aaron Gordon Leaves NBA’s Campus

Magic forward Aaron Gordon has left the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Charania explains that Gordon left the bubble due to his left hamstring injury and the “events of (the) past few days.”

Gordon, who suffered a hamstring strain on August 5 vs. Toronto, missed Orlando’s last four seeding games and had yet to play in the postseason. Despite some optimism that he was getting close to returning, the veteran forward was still unable to sprint up and down the court, head coach Steve Clifford said this week. Clifford also told reporters that the team didn’t want to risk Gordon suffering a more serious injury.

With playoff games expected to resume on Friday or Saturday, the Magic’s season could be over by the end of the weekend — Orlando currently trails the Bucks by a 3-1 margin in their first-round series.

Gordon will enter next season with two years left on his contract, having averaged 14.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 3.7 APG in 62 games (32.5 MPG) in 2019/20. He was considered a potential trade candidate before Jonathan Isaac suffered a torn ACL this summer. With Isaac’s availability for the 2020/21 season up in the air, it’s possible Orlando will be more inclined to hang onto Gordon.

Injury Updates: Westbrook, Gordon, Lowry, Mavs

After initially being ruled out for Game 5 due to his quad injury, Rockets guard Russell Westbrook was upgraded to questionable today, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle tweets.

With the Rockets and Thunder set to tip off at 5:30 pm central time tonight, Westbrook is expected to test his strained quad on the court before the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who tweets that the All-Star point guard will be a game-time decision.

While it remains to be seen whether Westbrook will get the go-ahead to play tonight, it sounds as if he’s getting awfully close, which means the odds we’ll see him in action before the end of the series are increasing.

Here are a few more brief injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) has been ruled out for Game 5 against Milwaukee, the team announced today (via Twitter). We heard on Tuesday that Gordon was still having trouble running up and down the court and that the club didn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury. If Orlando loses today, Gordon’s season will be over without him getting a chance to play in the postseason.
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (ankle sprain) didn’t practice again today, as Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets. However, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca doesn’t necessarily view that as a bad sign, tweeting that there would be no sense running Lowry through a full practice even if he’s feeling good and plans to play on Thursday. Lowry’s status for Game 1 against Boston remains up in the air.
  • Four key Mavericks players – Kristaps Porzingis (knee), Luka Doncic (ankle), Dorian Finney-Smith (hips), and Trey Burke (ankle) – are listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Thursday, with Dallas’ season on the line, according to Brad Townsend and Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links).

Injury Notes: AD, Rondo, Lillard, Westbrook, Lowry, More

Although he left Game 4 on Monday due to back spasms, Lakers star Anthony Davis is expected to be good to go on Wednesday and is being listed as probable on the injury report. However, point guard Rajon Rondo is still “banged up” and likely won’t play, per head coach Frank Vogel (Twitter links via Dave McMenamin of ESPN). Rondo is being listed as doubtful for Game 5.

Meanwhile, Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who has already been ruled out for Game 5 due to a right knee sprain, is unlikely to return this series even if Portland can extend it by a game or two, tweets Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. According to Haynes, Lillard is currently unable to extend his right leg.

Here are more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said today that he still thinks Russell Westbrook could return in the first round, but it won’t happen on Wednesday, as the team has listed Westbrook as out for Game 5 vs. Oklahoma City (Twitter links via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle).
  • Raptors guard Kyle Lowry didn’t participate in practice on Tuesday and is considered day-to-day for the time being, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, who tweets that Lowry’s status for Game 1 vs. Boston on Thursday remains uncertain.
  • Nuggets guard Gary Harris (hip), who was previously listed as questionable for Game 5 against Utah tonight, has been downgraded to out, the team announced (via Twitter). With Denver trailing 3-1 in the series, it’s possible Harris won’t return this season.
  • Heat wing Jimmy Butler has been battling a left shoulder strain but doesn’t expect the issue to limit him going forward, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. Head coach Erik Spoelstra, who referred to it as a “soft-tissue” injury, said no MRI is scheduled for now.
  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon (hamstring) appears unlikely to be ready for Game 5 on Wednesday, according to head coach Steve Clifford, who says that Gordon is still unable to sprint up and down the court and the team doesn’t want to risk him suffering a more serious injury (Twitter links via Roy Parry of The Orlando Sentinel).