So Eric Gordon Wants to be a Phoenix Sun…

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Published: July 4, 2012

Eric Gordon wants to be a Sun, but that’s not all that matters. We take a look at what the Suns can offer in exchange for the presumed centerpiece of the trade that sent Chris Paul packing.

“After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible,” Gordon told ESPN.com. “Mr. (Robert) Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the Front Office Staff and Coach (Alvin) Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now.”

We know that Eric Gordon has stated his intentions to sign a four-year deal with the Suns on July 11th that will pay him roughly 58 million dollars. We also know that the Hornets have publicly stated that they will match any offer for the restricted free agent and plan to meet with Gordon before deciding on the course of action. Reports from most major media outlets are saying that this position is being maintained.

We have evidence that the Hornets want to bring Gordon back, but not at 14.5 million dollars per year. It’s simply too steep of a price to pay for a shooting guard who has struggled to remain on the floor throughout his NBA career.

The difference between what they were willing to pay (48-50 million dollars or so) might not seem like much since the numbers are so staggering in and of themselves, but a 2.5 million dollar difference per year is important. That’s not just chump change — it can pay a Jason Smith, literally. It can snag you a second round pick every year to stash in the D-League or Europe.

Dell isn’t the only one who doesn’t think Gordon is worth the max. Just about every NBA analyst and writer who I trust has told me that a “fair contract” would be worth 10-12 million a year, all pointing to the reality that he’s been unable to stay on the court consistently. Of course he’s worth a max contract if he’s healthy, but he hasn’t been.

The Suns appear willing to gamble that he can stay healthy; the Hornets do not.

Fortunately, it’s likely a deal is in the works to send a number of assets to the Hornets in a sign-and-trade for the Eric “The Invisible Man” Gordon.

Why?

First off, Gordon won’t sign the deal until July 11th, leaving ample time for the Hornets to work out such a deal before their offer sheet is actually signed. If we can’t get a deal done, and he does physically sign the offer sheet, we have 3 days to match. If we do, we have him under contract for 4 years 58 million dollars, and he can never be traded by us to Phoenix on that deal. If we do not match, his 9.6 million dollar cap hold comes off of salary figure, and Dell goes from there.

If the Hornets simply say they won’t trade him and plan to match the deal, he could sign the qualifying offer currently on the table instead of the offer sheet from Phoenix, forcing his way out at risk. For a guy plagued by injuries and without much to gain financially, it seems unlikely that he will do this.

If he refuses to sign anything, he will be a restricted free agent next offseason as long as the Hornets offer him a qualifying offer then, so there is nothing to be gained here.

The best situation for all parties is that the Hornets will work out a sign-and-trade, most likely to Phoenix. That said, don’t entirely rule out the possibility that other teams will take a run at him.

Given his statement, it seems unlikely that he’ll remain a Hornet, but it’s not impossible. The Hornets would have to really commit to him when they meet, and considering that they’ve been unwilling to do so for so long, it’s hard to see them doing so now.

Keep in mind that Dealer Dell could certainly include a third team if the Suns don’t have the pieces he desires. Here is what Phoenix has to offer:

  • Kendall Marshall– The Suns selected the best collegiate passer in the draft. He’s arguably their best asset.
  • Future draft picks– The Suns have their first and second round picks available. They haven’t traded away or received any in trade.
  • The rights to Robin Lopez– He’s a restricted free agent and the Suns have extended a qualifying offer to him. The Hornets do obviously need a center, but they could also send him to a third team desiring his services.
  • The ability to take on bad contracts– The Suns have 23.7 million dollars in guaranteed payroll next year. They have 7 million dollars on the table to Lopez and Aaron Brooks in the form of qualifying offers. They can afford to take on a bad contract from a third team who sends some talent the Hornets way.
  • Markieff Morris- The 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft showed that he could handle himself on the court last season, playing just under 20 minutes a game. It’s unclear (read: improbable) that he’s starter level talent.
  • Marcin Gortat– While he would certainly fill the need at center, it’s unclear if the Hornets would want to take on his two-year, 15-millon dollar deal. Someone else might.
  • Jared Dudley– Dudley is solid and would presumably be an upgrade at the three, but the 4 years and 17 million dollars is a bit long for my taste.
  • Josh Childress– If Josh was the same player he was before he went to Europe he’d be worth something, even at three years and 21 million dollars. He’s not. Maybe someone else thinks he is, but I sort of doubt it.

The ball is in the Hornets’ court, and Dealer Dell might have his work cut out for him if Gordon really is as adamant as he seems about going to Phoenix. They don’t have a ton of assets, and the Hornets don’t have any bad contacts to unload.

It seems the best real chance of getting good value for Gordon, assuming we decide

a) not to retain his services.

b) that Phoenix is the only place he’ll sign, and

c) will be to get a third team involved who has young assets, bad contracts, and a desire to unload the salaries of both

Best of luck, Dell.

Should we lose Gordon, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. With a high-priced, long-term deal on the books for a player with injury concerns, we are in for years of debate like we’ve been experiencing for the past few days and past few months. By continuing to work the value of the assets of the Chris Paul trade effectively, we may see more long-term benefit by acquiring pieces that fit around our outstanding draft class, rather than good pieces that the Clippers happened to have at the time. Also, this team will be squarely Anthony Davis’ from day one.

It is fitting for the potential Hall of Famer to never walk in the shadow of the shadow of Chris Paul.

 

This is a Joe and Jason tag team article.

159 comments
Everett
Everett

Wonder if Golden State would be interested in Gordon? I'd trade him for Harrison Barnes straight up. I'd also do Gordon + Jack for Barnes + Dorell Wright

Jordan J.
Jordan J.

Doesn't the Suns getting Michael Beasley make it less attractive to play there?

Ben
Ben

Phoenix just signed Bradley to 3 year 18 mil contract. Now we could get Beasley Marshall and 1st for Gordon then go get McGee in fa.

504ever
504ever

Nash in a sign and trade to the Lakers for two future 1st Rounders (2013 & 2015) and two future 2nd Rounders (2013 and 2014), using up the Laker's Lamar Odom trade exemption. What does that say about Gordon's trade value, which is obviously higher than the value of the 38 year old Nash?

Matt O
Matt O

@ all the troll’s and haters: Eric Gordon doesn’t want to be in NOLA. He can sign the offer sheet and the Hornets will match. The Suns then have 2 options. A: Trade the likes of Gortat and Marshall should we want them or B: Miss out on Eric Gordon. If he wants out of New Orleans so badly we will shop him for the best deal available and he will accept it because he really doesnt want to be in NOLA. I can not see any way the Hornets do not win in this situation. Match him and trade him.

Josh
Josh

A few things: Let me get this out of the way. Phoenix fans, leave or stop trolling. You can go troll on some other site. How would you like it if all of us went on your Valley of the Suns? Here's the deal. If we trade Gordon to Phoenix, we will get a lot more than Josh Childress and Hakeem Warrick (That is what people on Valley of the Suns say). Phoenix thinks he is worth a max contract. Obviously, they believe in him. We would at least get Gortat, Marshall, and a first-round pick. You are talking about a max guy. Max guys are thought of as superstars. We have leverage. If they don't offer us something good, then we won't trade him to Phoenix. We are doing what is best for our organization, not for Eric or Phoenix. We don't have to accept any deal. We can find whatever deal we want.

Pouya
Pouya

Hubert let me tell you one thing about EG that I know for a absolute fact in that he is a great kid from a great family and is a absolute total professional. He understands this is a business and if NO were to match the offer he would accept it and come in as hungry as ever. Yes every nba plays for a team but they also play for themselves, their families, their past coaches and mentors and for everybody that helped them get to where they are. Yes you occasionally have guys like Marbury and Ricky Davis who are insane but I can tell you EG is not that kind of person. He won't hurt the locker or any other non sense you think he will do. It's business people. I can tell you right now that dell will match the offer an EG will be the starting shooting guard for the hornets come opening night.

HUBERT
HUBERT

YOU AREN'T GETTING SQUAT IN A SNT. Someone said NO holds all the cards, but that is exactly the opposite of the truth. PHX holds all the cards. Gordon has expressed his disinterest in NO from the beginning, and just flat out said his heart is in PHX. How can NO keep this guy when he wants to play elsewhere. They can't. They can't have him around young guys, complaining and giving half-effort. They HAVE to trade him or let him go and PHX knows this. They also know that NO doesn't really want to pay Gordon a max deal, and at this point they know they really don't want him there. Why would PHX give up anything for a guy that NO can't keep on their roster. Phoenix will send Warrick's expiring deal and some of the fodder they get from the Knicks in the Nash SNT. That is about all you can hope for. You aren't getting Marshall, Keiff, Gortat or Dudley, so keep dreaming. What you might get is Gordon on a max deal, cause we play chicken better than you and we aren't steering off the road. Head on baby!

Sportsmind96
Sportsmind96

Diehard Hornets and Knicks fan here. Sounds like Nash is getting traded for Shumpert which is very difficult for me as I think it's a decent move but Shumpert is my favorite Knick. I'm hoping this turns out to be a blessing in disguise so that he now becomes included in a Gordon deal and I'll get to watch Shumpert develop with Davis as possibly the best wing and post defending duo in the league. He'd fit in so well with this culture and he's not afraid to take the big shot so as long as he continues to work on his shooting he could be a star. I'd prefer him to anything else the Suns could offer. Do love Gortat though.

Everett
Everett

I'd take Brooks, Marshall, Gortat and a 1st rounder from the Suns for him. 7.5 mill a year for a center with a PER of 21+ seems like a pretty sweet bargain.

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith

Its not a slap in the face its business, we "said" we're going to match but he knows we dont want to pay him a max deal & nothing is 100% until its done so I think he wants more than just Dells word, He wants to see the contract

Skynet
Skynet

Phoenix had to jump into this knowing that they would have to end up trading for him. The Hornets couldn't make it any more clear that we would match any offer. Let's see what they pony up. I was very hot about this last night, but after sleeping on it I don't care. He can pout like a baby all he wants but we own his *** until we decide to get some value for it.

mazonmafia
mazonmafia

I actually will feel bad for the suns if gordon signs with us. (Not that bad tho) The way they threw themselves at him was a sight to behold... Can you imagine how crappy they will feel if he rejects their offer of a max deal and "cornerstone" offering??

Jordan J.
Jordan J.

Let the PHX trolls have their fun...

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

I do not want Marshall. The Suns would have to rope in another team or two to give us what we want. I really like Gortat however if we can use him to get some younger talent from a third or 4th team I rather that.

Pouya
Pouya

I'm gutted... I've met EG and he's a super nice guy. I understand he is doing what he feels is best for him but I don't think we can let him walk. Honestly we could have grabbed Marshall if we really wanted and I'm not sure he'll be a top 5 pg in a few years. EG will be a top sg as soon as next year. You can't just let that walk away. You know he won't sign the qualifying offer because that would be too much risk for him so you match the offer and let him know that his rights are owned by the hornets and they are within their rights to hold onto him. I expect him to be the professional that he is and play out his contract.

Bombay
Bombay

What has EG done to deserve 58 million???He has potential but potential is nothing without results...He cant get better if hes not on the court also..I say deal him to Houston in a sign and trade get some young assets and continue to build..

Bombay
Bombay

Eg cant take back what he said about where his heart is...NO fans dont want him back period..58 million Injury proned man..

Jason Smith
Jason Smith

I think this is actually the best case scenario -- I love Gordon's talent, but was not excited about him either walking next year for nothing or getting injured again. In the absence of a third team, I'd take Marshall, Lopez, and next years First Round pick. Not sure if they'd do that -- but I think that is fair value. I'd much prefer Lopez to Gortat. Without Gordon, we aren't contending for the playoffs next year, and probably could become a borderline playoff team in 2 years. Why bring in Gortat. Lopez is younger, and could be a consistent contributor on a playoff team. Marshall is young -- between Rivers/Marshall, hopefully one of them develops. Lastly, as bad as it sounds, without Gordon, we should just accept tanking for another year. Not intentionally, but just as a result of building a team around 3 rookies. If we receive Phoenix's pick, we could potentially get two lottery picks next year. More importantly, we will have cap space to potentially sign someone next year as well. I'd be okay with a Marshall, Rivers, Aminu, Lopez, Davis, and two upcoming lottery picks in the next year, plus the chance of signing a legitimate free agent. Lets be patient, and do this the OKC way.

FreeEJ
FreeEJ

That article is wrong. Because Gordon has only *agreed* to sign an offer sheet and has not actually signed the offer sheet, a sign and trade can still be worked out.

VeezyV
VeezyV

Good deal, y'all just cleared this up on twitter

504ever
504ever

Who really want the cancer that is Michael Beasley on the Hornets? Not I. Nor do I see that as anything but more desperation by the Suns.

Ben
Ben

Beasly not bradley

CarnbY
CarnbY

Those draft picks aren't worth much IMO, so it doesn't say much, really?

HUBERT
HUBERT

ha for thinking you are going to pull Gortat Marshall and a 1st. You are high on your own fumes. Here is what I would give you: Gordon and the finger.

Thomas
Thomas

And when he balls hard and hits a few game winning shots.... everyone won't care about this.

CarnbY
CarnbY

I'll enjoy watching PHX steer right off the cliff then! You lose Nash, you don't get Gordon, and you're stuck watching Dragic, Gortat and Beasley struggle to win 35 games - enjoy!

rjktan
rjktan

Suns just lost Nash for draft picks, which you can happily send our way if you want though we probably don't want them :) Also if your other big move was a $18 mil offer to Beasley then I think it is clear the Suns brass are in panic mode and just splashing money around. You will be the next Detroit Pistons at this rate. NO holds the rights to EG no matter what. All we have to do is match and then if you guys want him sooo bad then work out a S&T if not. We just keep him till we can trade him or better yet we trade him to his hometown Pacers and either way PHX has to give up something if they really want EG.

VeezyV
VeezyV

Lol. Let's just say that you are right.....for a second. All we have to do is match his contract. Then, if he wants to leave so bad.....we trade him to the rockets or any other team but the suns. Since he will be soooo unhappy, he would let the trade go through. Any offer from another team is better than the trash you are throwing out. Guess what...we still win and he is not in a sun's uniform. Head on baby!

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

We do have the leverage right now. While it's obvious we rather not give EJ the max we are fully prepared to do so anyways. Especially if PHX isn't willing to part with any players of value. The only way PHX/Gordon can gain leverage is if EJ can convince us he's willing to sign the QO.

BDavis
BDavis

Sorry for ur loss broseph! We'll put in a good word and see if we can pick him up and give him a good home!

BDavis
BDavis

I actually like Brooks, but no one else seems to give him much credit. If they won't let go of Marshall I would take Brooks, Gortat, 1st rounder, and a 3rd team to help smoth things over. Somehow I feel like Houston is going to be the third team. But if Houston gets involved that changes my whoooollle scenario of who I would pick.

Thomas
Thomas

Well he didn't reject them......

da ThRONe
da ThRONe

The only thing I would want from PHX for certain is an unprotected 1st round pick next year. If Nash leaves and we can get them to trade Gortat and a Jared Dudley/Channing Frye PHX will most certainly be at the bottom of the league next year. That unprotected 1st could be gold in what looks to be a top heavy draft next year.

Ron
Ron

Injuries. Injuries, injuries, injuries. Trading him to Phoenix for Gortat and next year's 1st round pick (they probably wouldn't pony up all three assets) gives us cap room for another scorer.

HUBERT
HUBERT

first of all, you can have Lopez all day long. He sucks. You aren't getting Gortat. Not even in your wildest dreams. You also aren't getting Marshall. And you aren't getting a 1st round pick. I just don't understand why you guys think you have leverage. Gordon stated he doesn't want to play in NO. NO knows this. THey also know he isn't worth MAX dollars, and that their little bluff about matching is risking the idea that the Suns say fine, take him, and then NO is stuck with a disgruntled MAX player with injuries. How on earth do they think they have any leverage. Suns will throw scraps just to get a deal done, but they won't be of much value because the Suns know that NO does not really want to sign Gordon to a max deal, and that they will piss Gordon off enough by mucking this up that they won't get much for him on the market in a trade next year. In either case, PHX has nothing to lose by standing pat. Sure, they miss out on Gordon, but so what. They are no worse for wear if Gordon isn't aboard. They simply go to plan B.

Steper
Steper

What has Gordon done to be valued so highly that the Suns should give up their 1st round pick this year (Marshall) either an all-star center in Gortat or their 1st round pick from a few years ago (Lopez) AND an upcoming 1st round pick that will likely be a lottery pick? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! CP left last year! Gordon is not him! You NOLA fans are quite delusional. Has to be the swamp gas affecting the brain!

VeezyV
VeezyV

and they just signed dragic.

Thomas
Thomas

I'm still a fan of him... I don't know why even after that comment. I hope that isn't his only good moment with the Hornets. And again, I keep reading on several forums of other fans (Phoenix) saying EG never wanted to be here because of his facial expression in the press conference (yeah, seriously...). I rewatched that Josh... look at his face. He really does have that face all the time. Stone cold killer.

Josh
Josh

I was in Houston, and they didn't have CST. I watched the Saints-Dirty Birds game that Drew Brees set the record and all the Atlanta fans were mad because they thought we were running up the score. I watched the highlights; the shot was amazing.

Matt O
Matt O

Really really like this comment!

Matt O
Matt O

@ all the troll's and haters: Eric Gordon doesn't want to be in NOLA. He can sign the offer sheet and the Hornets will match. The Suns then have 2 options. A: Trade the likes of Gortat and Marshall should we want them or B: Miss out on Eric Gordon. If he wants out of New Orleans so badly we will shop him for the best deal available and he will accept it because he really doesnt want to be in NOLA. I can not see any way the Hornets do not win in this situation. Match him and trade him.

Kempleton
Kempleton

Good question Steper! But, What has Gordon done to make the Suns introduce him as the "cornerstone" of their franchise in their Arena and get a max offer from him? Are they delusional because of the heat in Arizona? Steamed brains or what? If they want their cornerstone, and if Gordon wants out, let us make them all pay the price for it! :) I hope our GM will do so!

Josh
Josh

Ask your team. They offered him the contract.

Jordan J.
Jordan J.

What made Gordon valued so highly for him to get a max contract? If the suns extended a max contract offer to him obviously the think he's worth a good amount. Get off our boards, your comments are immature.