Jeff Weltman said it best prior to the NBA Draft:
“I will say that there’s an awful lot of stuff that’s been reported or rumor that has no basis in reality. I won’t say which does or which doesn’t, but that’s always the case this time of year.”
We live in an era of viral misinformation. Something that one person may or may not have said makes headlines and is then taken as fact. But in the “League sources say...” world we live in, when the report comes from a reputable source, it at least must be acknowledged.
Zach Harper of The Athletic mentioned in his NBA Power Rankings that Evan Fournier is seeking a trade:
“League sources say Evan Fournier is trying to find his way to a team like the Clippers, Suns or Nuggets.”
The same Evan Fournier who just days ago exercised his $17 million player option.
So, if true, it makes it sound as if Fournier is looking to get the best of both worlds: his $17 million and a preferred destination. Because a very easy way to “find his way” to one of the teams mentioned, or any other contending team, would have been to decline his player option and sign with one of them for less.
It’s difficult to make sense of a report of this nature without knowing if it is truly legit, or if there is more to the story.
Had Fournier had opted out, it would have left the Magic roughly $9 million shy of the $109 million salary cap with multiple roster spots left to fill, including starting shooting guard and starting small forward. Having a player opt into a $17 million contract and then using that expiring deal in a trade actually could give the team more flexibility in potential moves.
So, who knows what happens behind the scenes in a league where handshake agreements (Bogdan Bogdanovic?) and unorthodox moves (Chuma Okeke) take place to circumvent the cap.
Either way, if you believe the reports, the Magic have been active and diligent in waiting for the right move, which is a good thing...
Yahoo Sources: The Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic had discussed a trade featuring Russell Westbrook for a package centered around Aaron Gordon, but talks never progressed.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 20, 2020
That report joins the list of Gordon being packaged with the No. 15 pick to move up in the draft, and the Magic turning down the Blazers’ offer of Trevor Ariza and draft picks that they ultimately sent to the Rockets for Robert Covington.
Perhaps none of these reports are true, perhaps all of them are, perhaps they are put out there for smokescreens, retweets or page views.