3. Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon has been in the news of late, as his market has materialized and the demand for his services has began to reveal itself. The Houston Rockets were one of the teams that expressed interest in the two-time runner-up Sprite Slam Dunk Champion, and his age and uber athleticism make it easy to understand why the Rockets (and multiple other teams) would be in pursuit of the seven-year veteran.
But Gordon has struggled with his ability to score, as his scoring outputs have declined in consecutive seasons spanning from 2017 through 2020. This season Gordon has averaged just 14.6 points, which isn’t exactly indicative of a player that will have earned an annual average of $20 million through 2022.
Speaking of the latter, Gordon’s contract will expire at the end of next season and he’ll surely be expecting a max contract offer, which would be hard for the Rockets to justify paying him. The Rockets could possibly still have John Wall on the roster, at a price tag of $47.3 million at that point and Christian Wood will be in the final year of his current deal when Gordon’s extension would kick in.
Although Gordon is still just 25-years-old, we’ve likely seen the best that he has to offer, as players don’t often see a significant career jump in performance after seven years in the league. Gordon’s inconsistency from long-range also poses a problem for a Houston Rockets team that takes the fourth-most threes in the league, as he’s a career 32.4 percent shooter (although he’s shooting 37.5 percent from deep in 2020-21).
What the assets that it would take to get Gordon, which is reportedly two first-round picks, the Rockets would be wise to hold off on shipping those away for a player that wouldn’t be able to significantly improve the roster, while also accounting for a sizable chunk of their salary cap.
Next: No. 2