Aaron Gordon is one of the more interesting names in the upcoming free agency period. The Magic forward might be more known for his dunking, but at just 22 years old, he's filled with talent and athleticism. A lot of teams wouldn't mind having him as a piece to build toward the future, or maybe to even win games right now.
However, as a restricted free agent, the team with the best chance at keeping Gordon is the Magic. Orlando can match any offer Gordon receives in restricted free agency -- if he even reaches that point. Gordon told reporters recently, at the red carpet debut for the new "Uncle Drew" movie, that he wants to stay in Orlando. Of course, he's also trying to get a big payday at the same time. Via ESPN.
Yeah definitely but we'll see how it goes," Gordon said when asked if he'd still like a max contract at the premiere of the Uncle Drew movie in New York City. "Whatever Orlando wants to do. As a restricted free agent, I completely trust (management)." Gordon said after the season that his ideal scenario is signing a max deal with the Magic, per the Orlando Sentinel. Orlando can offer Gordon a five-year contract this summer projected at $148 million.
It makes sense for Gordon to want to stay in Orlando. He just had one of the best seasons of his young career and nobody can give him more money than the Magic. It's the classic path many young players take: Play through a rookie contract, sign long term on their second contract and then decide if they want to stay once that contract expires.
Gordon's case is helped that the Magic probably want to keep him around as well. Magic president Jeff Weltman didn't show his hand when speaking to the Orlando Sentinel about it, but he mentioned that they won't have to "recruit" Gordon back to Orlando.
I think Aaron knows how we feel about him from just the relationship that we've had with him since being here. And, obviously, part of that will be rolled into the negotiation. When you say "recruiting," that kind of implies learning the city, learning the organization, trying to show him who you are. Obviously, that's already in place. So I don't think so.
The point of contention here will have to do with Gordon's desire for a max contract. He's a very talented young player, but he hasn't always proven that he's worth max money. Gordon can want to return, and the Magic can want him back, but if they can't agree on the money that goes into making that happen then what should be an easy process could turn into something far more drawn out.