The thing that confuses me the most is this: we have a young team who would really benefit from positive role-modeling from a guy who has had (modest)success in the NBA, Team USA etc. We have a guy like that and we ship him out of state to rehab instead of keeping with our blossoming young team, both to provide direction and to bond with players with whom he has shared very little on-court time. Barring situations where a player was recovering from surgery, I cannot think of many instances of this type of player isolation that were not an indication of a player with "issues" who was purposely being kept away from his team. Am I reading too much into this? Maybe so, but when coupled with the "Heart in Phoenix" comments and his lack of on-court time, it does seem rather alarming. What are we supposed to make of this? Let me put it this way: if Chris Paul suddenly lost his left leg in an ill-fated safari accident, I am fairly positive he would be back only days later, hollering encouragement to his teammates from the bench with a stub and a crutch. Meanwhile, Mr. H.I.P (Heart in Phoenix)will hardly even mention his team on Twitter. What gives?
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Trying to be Positive About the Eric Gordon Situation
We have rarely talked about Eric Gordon here on Hornets247, rather we mention him passively in 20-point losses which we feel like aren’t a reflection of the talent on the roster. I think we need to change that and try and be a little bit positive!
Yes, my 300-odd twitter followers (so many, I know…) are confused at how a person like me could be positive, but I shall none the less attempt to be.
In this piece I will attempt to give three reasons to be more positive about the outlook for Eric Gordon.
Whether we like it or not Eric Gordon is going to be with this organisation for a long time. A trade would be significantly unfavourable to us and I doubt that even Dell Demps would cut ties with someone they labelled a “phenomenal player,” who they were “thrilled to have in our organisation.”
That stands still to this day, but it certainly hasn’t been seen that way amongst many Hornets fans. Jeremy Stevens (@JeremyStevens0) points out that “I would love to love the guy. He just makes it hard to do that.” Lancelot (@Bowtothe_Brow) calls Gordon, “Optimistically frustrating” and Jordan (@NOHrevolution) says he’s “testing the limitations of hope…”
As you can see Hornet fans are frustrated. They thought they were getting an All-Star calibre player who would lead this team for the long-term. That outlook is looking pretty bleak because of the fear of injuries.
But what is the reasoning for him continually being held out?
The basis of it is that he is injury prone, a label that frustrates many NBA players. This is their job, their craft, their life and to undermine it with a notoriously negative label is quite ignorant to the work they put in.
However, for Eric Gordon this is rather easy to do. From his Clipper days he was injured several times playing in fewer games each and every season. He went from playing in 78 games his rookie year to 62, to 56 to 9 with the Hornets and now he’s on 0. These are the marks of an ailing individual let alone a professional sportsman.
The counter to this; the positive slant if you will, is that the Hornets are trying to get Gordon back to truly 100 percent for his career. The Clippers are an organisation notorious for poorly handled personal decisions. The easy assumption here is that they incorrectly handled Gordon’s rehabilitation and rarely if ever monitored his returned.
What I’m trying to say here is that New Orleans is trying to look at Eric as a long-term investment. Rather than put him on the court in a season that is fast becoming a lost hope for the playoffs, Hornets management is trying to ensure a longevity of health for the roster.
The reasoning behind this can be seen elsewhere. Anthony Davis spent an excessive amount of time out before returning from a stress reaction. Jason Smith was held out last year for a lot of time for a concussion he could have returned from.
New Orleans knows that this season isn’t the one to win a championship. It’s a season to develop youth and establish an identity. While it would be nice to have Gordon in town to help mould that in a leadership role it could be that he’s in LA to simply get the best medical attention.
A misunderstood PR Job
In my opinion the whole Eric Gordon situation has been one of the biggest PR disasters since the BP Oil Spill – maybe they are even. From start to present it’s been an uphill battle for Gordon and the Hornets to mend a completely disconnected line with fans.
Every time positive news comes from the Hornets in relation to Eric Gordon it’s met with scathing suspicion.
This is yet another of the odd contradictions in the Gordon saga; it doesn’t fit with his actions. When the team gathered for voluntary workouts in August, Gordon was there — was there early, in fact. When last season ended — a season in which Gordon played only nine of 66 games — Gordon spent the majority of the time working out in New Orleans before heading to Las Vegas with Team USA. – Ken Berger of CBSSports.com
The ill-conceived PR job began the very instant Gordon was traded to New Orleans. Rather than act like a professional and embrace the task of being the centrepiece of a rebuild, Eric was upset the team that drafted him would send him to the cellar dweller that was the Hornets.
When he became a free-agent he toured the country and listened to team’s pitches, but was then upset that the Hornets didn’t have one of their own; despite New Orleans’ clear intent to match any contract. He let out cries of concerns for an organisation that didn’t consider him to be the talent that he thought he was – this has since been heavily rebuffed.
Then we lead into the second injury with the Hornets where Eric was rumoured to of been upset and it was speculated he was “faking” an injury because the Hornets matched and wanted him with the organisation.
When it was announced he would be out for 4-6 weeks head coach Monty Williams let out his frustrations. On the day of those comments Gordon couldn’t be reached for a statement. Rather than immediately come out on the day, Gordon and the Hornets tried to piece together the mess that had been stewing overnight and sent Eric out for a statement that had national and local media scratching their heads.
It hasn’t been the sweetest or smoothest of PR jobs but the message is clear – Eric is a part of this organisation.
We need to be reminded that these players are people too. Gordon is most definitely an introvert type of person. He’s not one to clearly express himself and certainly doesn’t want to make a show and dance about what he’s doing.
That’s okay by me, but because he’s this type of person perhaps he needs to utilize his communication tools a little more effectively.
The questions about Eric will always remain until he starts playing basketball over a long duration of time. In the future it might be best for Gordon to understand how he fits in to all of this. Fans are impatient, but what they really are craving right now is leadership and a direction.
Over Analysing Is Pointless
There’s little reason in trying to figure out what the outcome might be. The Hornets need to create the best environment for Eric regardless of the outcome so that he can get healthy physically and mentally for the long term. If they do this they will know they did everything in their ability to give him the greatest chance of success and hold no regrets.
If you let him go out there and play through the pain are you really correcting the issue? Aren’t you just making it worse? Eric’s number one concern when signing a long-term deal was health, so don’t you think the Hornets should deal with this first, foremost and thoroughly? Handling it any other way would have been disastrous for their timetable of success when Anthony Davis and any other projects develop in a few years.
Fans, commentators, analysts of the New Orleans Hornets feel like they’ve been lied to as Gordon’s timetable has been continuously pushed back. Maybe the organisation doesn’t know what they’ve been dealing with, but to say that the Hornets have been intentionally misleading their fans with injury reports is a little ridiculous.
Regardless of what you think of Eric Gordon, moving forward we have to be postitive. It’s a bright future for this team. Eric’s willingness to be a part of it can still be proven this season. If he finishes out the season healthy perhaps public opinion will change.
For Gordon, his management, Hornets management and his fans, the best way to solve issues in the public arena is to play and play well. There’s nothing else to it. You can talk in the media all you want, try to be politically correct as you want, but there’s nothing else that will solve people’s issues like playing.
Hopefully with the time off this can happen for not just this season but for the ones to come.
Eric Gordon is a great example of what's wrong with the NBA. If he played in the NFL , he probably would not have a job. What bugs me the most is the Olympic tryout. Healthy enough to do that ,wasn't he?
"He’s not one to clearly express himself". I would say that "My heart is in Phoenix" is a very strong and definitive expression. That's just my opinion of course. Anyway, I think much of this discussion misses the point. I don't feel anger at Gordon. I'm disappointed at the decisions that brought about this situation in the first place. It all started with Stern getting involved in Hornets personnel decisions. Obviously, being commissioner of the NBA does not qualify one to make personnel decisions about players and trades. the result was quite predictable. Unfortunately, Dell doubled down on a losing wager and it looks like he's going to lose his shirt on it. There's little reason to be angry at Gordon. All the red flags were certainly there. The increasing numbers of missed games, the almost entire lost season last year. The "heart is in Phoenix" stuff. It has always been clear, front and center. By the way, don't think that even a returning Gordon will be a savior to the current mess. He's played barely more than half a season at a borderline All-Star level so he's hardly going to be a savior, and there's no telling how long it might take him to get back to that, if ever. Still, whether or not he comes back, I believe that Gordon is pretty much done in NO. The only thing to do now is to try to salvage something from this wreckage. Overall, it was a very polarizing trade, which really divided the fans. I am actually glad to have always been firmly against it, despite having to endure some slings and arrows along the way from other fans ^^ But that's ok, sometimes you have to go against the grain and insist on what you instinctively know to be true. Take a contrarian stance, so to speak.
E has had a lingering injury issue for a while now and trust me he really has been more disappointed about it than the fans. His career hasn't been what he imagined and he likes Nola, loves Monty, and is excited about the potential with the hornets. So here it is...he wasn't as much injured this time he was weak and decided to begin an intense conditioning programming and work his ass off building up condition and strength to where it should be and he can PLAY BASKETBALL. I hope he is welcomed back in style but it frustrates me some people dislike him because of assumptions they've made.
Honestly the New Orleans Hornets will not be good for the next 10 years. Should of gave away Eric Gordon.
Best case scenerio: We lose more games til the season is over, we draft a top 5 pick in 013-014 draft, Eric Gordon stays healthy for years to come, Shynet starts 2 develop into our future, we sign for a SF or Center average or above average starter. Move A.Rive25 To PG, and starts to developing into another D.Rose or Westbrook, and finally hornets organization hires an Assistant Coach with "Offense Swagga" in coaching, since obviously they're not going 2moro Fire Monty Williams.
really can't wait for dec. 15....start of the trading day....IF dell trade EG.....i hope he get a SF or a C in return....rivers is the PG of the future....my wishlist for SF-MKG, Paul George, Deng and Granger and for C-only one and that is DEMARCUS COUSINS.
Has anyone heard of the trade rumors with chicago? Eg for luol deng. If true, this solves the need for a 3. Or there was the 3 team trade: hornets get tyreke evan and john salmons. Bulls get eg. Kings get carlos boozer. Any comments? Possibility of one of these trades going through?
The tough thing is there is so much potential here. Gordon would be the perfect fit for this team if healthy and had an all in attitude. He's exactly what this team needs on the floor, and if playing now would probably be the difference for a team that would be contending for a playoff spot now, vs. what it is, a teem that is struggling to build itself into a consistent matchup for opponents. This season wouldn't have been a contending season either way, but it would have been great to really see what we may have going forward. The fact that Gordon is now seen as nothing more than trade fodder by most is what's really disappointing. And that is mainly because he doesn't seem to really want to be here. And why is that? Is it because he doesn't think he can win here? Did he really think he could win in Phoenix? Does he not see the potential this team has in a few years to really be a contender if he is playing and all in? Him, Davis and Anderson could be the nucleus of a championship team a few years down the line without a doubt, but for some reason it seems that either he is not seeing that or doesn't care. If he does come back and plays well, is he doing it just to get his career back on track, or does he feel like he can make this team better and take it where it has the potential to go? It seems there will always be that cloud hanging over the situation.
I agree with James for the most part- as fans we have to be positive. No point to negativity. Hope for the best and go forward. However, I hope that Dell does not take this same tact. My belief was that the decision this summer became too subjective and he also suffered from optimism bias. As a GM, you are paid to be objective and look at the spectrum of possibilities and choose the course that is most likely to make the franchise great over the long haul. If you look at that spectrum objectively, I think it says that you have to trade Gordon as soon as possible and move on. So as a fan, yes I will be optimistic as long as he is here, but Dell is not a fan, so I hope he moves forward with cold, hard reason.
The biggest problem with Gordon is not the lack of productivity on the court for the money he is being paid. It's his actions and comments off the court that have the fans upset. He was apparently healthy enough to try out for team USA and shopped his services to the Phoenix Suns. He stated emphatically that he was unhappy here in New Orleans and questioned the front office decisions even though Dell Demps clearly stated that Gordon was going to be a major part of the Hornets rebuilding efforts. If he truly is badly injured and cannot play basketball, then we the fans can accept that like we did for other players. He could at least make an appearance once in a while and reassure everyone that he is doing what he can to get back on the court and let the fans know that he wants to be here. The current Hornets roster isn't winning a lot of games right now, but they do have great team chemistry. Eric Gordon is missing out on that and will he disrupt a healthy, happy locker room whenever he returns? His skill set is one thing the team is sorely lacking on offense right now and if he ever commits to the "I'm in" mentality, we could have something pretty special down here.
So what happens when we give him this whole season off, he returns next season at 100% and is an All-star. Is an All-star again the following year then opts out and moves on? How would we feel about being the patient team that gave him all the time in the world to heal while paying him big money only to be stabbed in the back when he becomes a free agent again? Hate to say it, but I think the end game no matter what is still a trade. Might not be this year, might not be next year, but we have to eventually move on. I don't trust this guy!