Gordon has shown a lot of growth over his three and a half seasons with us. This season he is posting career highs in 3P%, FT%, DRB, TRB, AST, STL, BLK, and PTS. But has he shown significantly more than Tobias Harris or Victor Oladipo did the season before they were traded?
In 2014-15, Harris had a career year with a pretty good stat line across the board. I think a lot of Magic fans saw him as a part of our future. Granted we all probably grumbled at one time about his defense and lack of consistency, but I think a lot of fans felt he was probably a piece of the puzzle. Though I suppose drafting Aaron Gordon potentially meant Harris was likely to be the odd man out and traded at some point.
In 2015-16, Oladipo continued to be a streaky player but he showed signs of improvement in his shooting and general efficiency. Again I would say a lot of our fans saw Oladipo as part of our future going forwards. Obviously we had to make a decision on what to do with Fournier and whether he could be a long term fit at SF with Oladipo at SG, but personally I felt those two guys could co-exist. I suppose the addition of Hezonja potentially made Oladipo expendable, like Gordon did for Harris.
So in back to back seasons our former GM decided to trade away two young ascending players for what he deemed to be good packages. For some reason our front office felt moving Tobias Harris for Brandon Jennings (he was returning from a ruptured Achilles) and Ersan Ilyasova was a good idea - that trade never worked out. They then decide to send Victor Oladipo PLUS Ersan Ilyasova AND Domantas Sabonis who we picked 11th in the draft for Serge Ibaka on draft night. Fair enough Ibaka potentially solved our need for a rim protector, however that side of his game was declining before coming here and so were other areas of his game. The sad thing here is that Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis have all ended up doing better elsewhere: Harris is playing his best and most efficient basketball with Detroit, Oladipo is playing like the star we drafted him to be with the Pacers, and Sabonis has shown his ability with the Pacers as well. Meanwhile the players we acquired are no longer here, nor did they have the desired impact.
At the end of the day we might think that Gordon is immovable, but when you consider we still have one of the worst win-loss records in the league and don't appear close to becoming a contender, I would say that no one is immovable on this roster. We also have a new front office that needs to decide whether to pay Gordon the going rate or let him go and the same decision needs to be made about Elfrid Payton as well. On the one hand both players have shown positive signs this season, on the other we are still losing and need to reshape this roster. So what I am saying here is that if we traded away Tobias Harris (23 years old) and Victor Oladipo (23 years old), both players that were seen as part of our future, then I would not put it past our team deciding to trade Aaron Gordon if they felt it was the best way to improve this team. Like I said, our new front office need to decide whether to pay Gordon and Payton, and the last thing this team needs to do is tie itself to more bad contracts paid to players that aren't capable of taking us to the next level. If our new front office feel we can get better without them, they will move them.