One man’s take on Eric Gordon

Published: July 8, 2012

Ryan Schwan talks Eric Gordon and his statements to the media.  He fully expects to be ripped apart in the comments.

Well the vitriol has been on full blast the past few days.  Eric Gordon is taking a shellacking on this site I haven’t seen since the days of Baron Davis and his forced exodus from the team.  Even then it wasn’t so bad, since our traffic has increased by a multiple of 10 or so.

I get the feeling.  I still dislike Baron Davis intensely.  He deserved the anger.

In a lot of ways, Eric deserves the anger he’s receiving too.  Some of it.  But let’s take a step back for a moment, guys.  Gordon, from his statements to Joe Gerrity and Jimmy Smith in that fascinating interview at the Olympics, has a trio of complaints.

  1. The Hornets haven’t called him directly.  At all.
  2. The Hornets haven’t filled that massive hole at center.
  3. The Hornets drafted someone similar to him.

Now consider his situation.  He didn’t ever choose the Hornets.  He was the centerpiece of a trade that sent him from a promising situation to a chaotic, league-owned one with the worst record in the West – something he’d been experiencing entirely too often over the past couple years.  Worse, he arrived at the team and immediately suffered an injury that kept him from playing.  There are few things as stressful as being in that kind of a situation with a new team.  He has no track record of past performance to point to, AND you also have to remember that his coach is Monty Williams.  There were rumors at the All-Star break that Williams was frustrated with Gordon’s lack of progress.  Do you think Williams didn’t communicate that frustration to Gordon via body language, or flat out by saying it?  When has Monty ever minced words?

I’ve felt stress at work when I wasn’t able to get things done – unrealistic deadlines, roadblocks that made projects stumble.  I handle them – but I can’t help but feel a little resentful towards those looking askance at me for failing.  I didn’t set those deadlines – or fail in the analysis.  It’s not my fault, damnit.

Eric didn’t injure his knee on purpose, damnit.

So why did he not get a call at 12:01 am July 1st from the Hornets telling him they wanted him as a centerpiece to his team?  Why did they only call his agent?  More strain on an already strained relationship.

Remember, Gordon is technically a free agent, restricted tag or not.  Do you know how teams get big fish on the hook in free agency?  They cater to them.  They greet them with 100 clapping employees.  They call the first second they can.  They hire Dwyane Wade to lobby for them.  This stuff does matter.

The Hornets didn’t.  They don’t have a Dwyane Wade to lobby for them either, they have a pair of unproven rookies, one of whom plays at Gordon’s position.  That has to sting.  These guys have egos.  Even the sleepy-eyed ones.

Think about your own situation at work.  If you were looking for a job and got a nice offer from a company that also wined and dined you.  Still, it’s a hassle to move, and your current job isn’t bad by any means.  So you go to your boss and say “Look.  I have this offer.  I’m going to take it.” and your boss responds by looking disinterested, shrugging and then later sending you an email that says “Whatever.  We’ll match that offer you got.”

Wouldn’t you be bothered by that?

Oh, and then you find out your own work has laid off a series of reliable co-workers – and replaced them with nothing.  In fact, they don’t even seem interested in filling those roles, so you’ll have to take on a heavier burden to succeed.

Meanwhile, that other company has gone out and is aggressively hiring.

You’d leave, right?  I’d leave.

Except Gordon can’t, because of his contract which says he can only leave if the Hornets allow it.  So what is his one option?  In his strategy sessions with his agent(those strategy sessions, I’m sure, in which his agent roundly curses the Hornets for not budging and being willing to pony up more cash) what is the one thing they possibly discussed that he could do that may make it possible to leave?

Make himself odious.

You see, this whole thing is about power.  Controlling your destiny.  Gordon is trying to do that.  He’s picked a particularly bad fan base to try it with since they just went through the whole Chris Paul thing, but I don’t blame him.  If he comes back to the Hornets, I’m not going to boo or hate him.  I’m not worried he’ll check out on the team.

I’m willing to give him a break.  I can see his side of things.  Are you willing?  Is he really deserving of this level of scorn?  He’s still possibly the best basketball talent on the market this summer.  That has to count for something too, right?

Sound off, people!

(McNamara, by the way, has a completely different take on this – including one of his ever-so-popular conspiracy theories.  Tune in the Podcast to hear all about it!)