Even though the Orlando Magic failed to make it to the playoffs once again, one positive that came out of last season was the progress made by Aaron Gordon.
He averaged a career-high 17.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 58 games and really elevated his play.
The 22-year-old was viewed by many as just a dunker and was in danger of being pigeon-holed but he proved that he has a lot more talent to offer.
Orlando had an opportunity to sign Gordon to a long-term extension last year but declined to do so as they were yet to be convinced that he was worthy of it.
Therefore, the power forward will soon hit free agency and is already receiving some strong interest after his solid campaign.
The Indiana Pacers are one team believed to be keeping a close eye on the athletic big man but the Magic are still in the driving seat if they want to retain his services.
As a restricted free agent, they have the right to match any offer he receives but it’s unclear if it will even reach that point.
The youngster recently declared that he wants to remain in Florida and is hoping to receive a substantial offer from the franchise.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, when asked if he’d like a max contract with the team, Gordon said: “Yeah definitely but we’ll see how it goes.”
The Arizona product is eligible to receive a five-year, $148 million contract from the Magic this summer.
If the team is willing to make this offer to him, they can wrap up negotiations before any other team can throw a deal in his direction.
‘Air Gordon’ has seemingly put the ball in Orlando’s court with regards to his future.
“Whatever Orlando wants to do,” said Gordon. “As a restricted free agent, I completely trust (management).”
It makes perfect sense for him to stay with the franchise that drafted him with the number four pick in 2014 after just enjoying his best year.
He can become the face of the team and develop into a real star as their focal point moving forward.
Gordon is certainly hoping to conclude things swiftly with the Magic and avoid dragging things out.
“Hopefully we just get it wrapped up with Orlando,” he said. “That would be fantastic,”
The feeling certainly appears to be mutual interest as president Jeff Weltman has publicly stated that they’re keen to keep him on board.
But the big stumbling block could be the player’s desire for a max contract as the Magic may not believe he’s earned that type of salary.
Both parties clearly want to continue their relationship but it’ll be interesting to see if they can agree on a deal that suits them both.
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