Before Steve Nash to Los Angeles nearly broke the Internet, the big story of the week was that Eric Gordon decided he didn’t want to be a member of the New Orleans Hornets for the next four or five years. As Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes, the max contract offer sheet Gordon agreed to sign with the Phoenix Suns and the statement he released about said agreement will most likely do little to deter the Hornets from matching the Suns offer sheet.
“The Suns can make the Hornets think twice by front-loading the contract’s money with a large signing bonus that comes out of the total amount. However, that is not expected to be a strategy that will make new owner Tom Benson even flinch. If the Suns gave Gordon a fourth-year option, it could make New Orleans think twice about what they would be facing with him after year two of the contract, especially if he plans to be a disgruntled employee there.”
There is another option and it’s a sign-and-trade. The Hornets will sit down with Gordon and gauge how much of his statement is posturing and how much of it really is the fact that he hates crawfish, jazz and the French Quarter (H/T to CBS’ Matt Moore for getting that meme going on Twitter). From a practicality stand point, I don’t totally get why Gordon would rather be a member of the Suns, who aside from the recently reacquired Goran Dragic, don’t have a lot going for them. If Gordon goes back to New Orleans he’s playing with a potential franchise changing big man in Anthony Davis, another promising young piece in Austin Rivers, one of the best young coaches and front offices in the league. If the Hornets were going to let Gordon bolt, would the Suns even have enough for the Hornets to take back in a sign-and-trade? Would another draft pick and Kendall Marshall be enough? Maybe throw in Markieff Morris?
Monty Williams and Dell Demps have already said the team would be Gordon’s, but is it possible he was put off by the Rivers draft choice? None of that matters too much. If the Hornets match the Suns’ offer, there’s very little Gordon can do. He hardly has the clout to demand any sort of trade and once he signs the offer sheet he’s locked in to the deal whether it’s with Phoenix or New Orleans. The only question left is whether the Hornets really value Gordon enough that they’re willing to give him a max contract. I’m guessing the Hornets match the offer sheet and I’m guessing Monty and Demps do their best to convince Gordon how important he is to New Orleans.