The Orlando Magic continue its roster overhaul, sending forward Aaron Gordon to Denver for Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a first-round pick, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.
The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly until the deal is official.
Gordon this week expressed his frustration with his time in Orlando – losing records, multiple coaches, front-office overhauls – and as Orlando’s front office led by Jeff Weltman and John Hammond began exploring deals, it realized it could accelerate a rebuild by trading valuable players for first-round picks.
The Magic also received two first-round picks from Chicago for Nikola Vucevic and two second-round picks from Boston for Evan Fournier. Around the league, opposing executives felt they could entice Orlando to trade their top players with the right offer.
Denver is trying to bolster its roster ahead of the playoffs. The Nuggets, who made the Western Conference finals last season, are 26-18 and in fifth place in the West – a half-game ahead of Portland and two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gordon gives them a forward who isn’t a high-usage player but is effective and could be even more effective alongside Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Gordon averages 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists and can have an impact defensively where the Nuggets sometimes struggle.
The Nuggets have faced urgency in wanting to surround more talent around Jokic, Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the three players the team believes can sustain a successful long-term future.
So the Nuggets added a dependable rim protector (JaVale McGee) in a trade with Cleveland and an athletic wing (Gordon) that can fortify their depth after losing key rotation players in free agency last summer, including Mason Plumlee, Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig.