Trying to be Positive About the Eric Gordon Situation

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Published: December 13, 2012
Eric Gordon

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.

Long-Term Healing

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.

Summation

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.

33 comments
Jeff the Barbarian
Jeff the Barbarian

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?

kbop
kbop

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?

MZURK
MZURK

"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.

David
David

I know for a fact that EG does not want out. He wants to play basketball. Monty Williams is a fantastic coach and one of the most respected young coaches in the league. You have your opinions I suppose.

mateor
mateor

I think that Month's intimations that EG was dogging it is what has people suspicious. That first press conference of Monty's, coupled with EG contradicting himself in his own statement would be bad all by itself. But immediately after sitting out all season, then getting healthy just in time for restricted FA and Team USA, and THEN threatening and begging publicly for the Hornets not to match. Then not rehabbing in town to boot. I think it is reasonable for people to be suspicious. I actually think it has looked SO bad has kept the speculation down. But it isn't like this doesn't happen, Baron Davis and Vince Carter showed it can work. The players bank on the fact that the teams will fold and capitulate. That is why I hope that Dell takes his time and forces EG's hand. We are in no rush, and have plenty of positives about the team so it doesn't have to be all about EG. As time goes on, I think we can improve that he needs the Hornets more than the Hornets need him. He didn't have to sign that sheet in Phoenix, and then he could have been a FA next year. He tried to intimidate the Hornets, to have his cake and eat it too. I won't say it back fired because the jury is still out.

David
David

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.

J
J

Aint nothing wrong with Gordon he just want out.This team needs help bad.Monty Williams is a joke.Why the front office extended his contract because he's not a proven coach yet.With a sissy name like the Pelicans next year for this team we're already a laughing stock now Next year i just want a ton of change next year clean house.

David
David

I know for a fact that EG does not want out. He wants to play basketball. Monty Williams is a fantastic coach and one of the most respected young coaches in the league. You have your opinions I suppose.

Will Baily
Will Baily

Honestly the New Orleans Hornets will not be good for the next 10 years. Should of gave away Eric Gordon.

cloud520
cloud520

Can I borrow your DeLorean? I'd love to see who is NBA champ in 2022.

NOS-3RD GEN
NOS-3RD GEN

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.

mojart
mojart

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.

Dave
Dave

Nothing wrong with having a wish list i guess. But at the end of the day we have to be realistic.

Chris
Chris

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?

Dave
Dave

0 trade value on this team other than ryan anderson and anthony davis.

Robert
Robert

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.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

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.

mateor
mateor

Could you explain why you think it should be sooner rather than later? EG has never had less value on the trade market than he does right now. Why would the Hornets rush to trade him now? Is there any benefit to improving this year? Maybe he comes back near the end of the season, averages 20 and looks healthy. Then he may even be worth something as opposed to being a player we have to attach assets to to be rid of.

mateor
mateor

My preference is that we never signed him as well. But since we did, I think the Hornets are best served by taking it slow. If he is truly beat up to the point where he may not play again, then we can look into medical retirement. But if he is fixable, or even if he is dogging it, then patience seems the best route. A year to get healthy sounds like a long time now, but won't be so bad if we have a top five pick coming in at the same time. And if his "heart" is still elsewhere, then hopefully he will have had some time to come to the realization that will only happen by working with the Hornets to provide a return on their investment. Playing your way out of town, like Stein keeps bringing up about Varajao. Resolve and patience are the only way this situation is salvagable. Attaching Austin or Anderson just to be rid of EG (and for what? What do we need that money for this season?) just cements it as a sure loss. If they decide that would be the only to cut that contract, those deals will be even easier to make when some of the contract has elapsed.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

First of all, unlike others, my reasoning for wanting Gordon gone has never had anything to do with what he said this summer. If you have listened to podcasts, Ryan and I have been advocating for his departure since April, long before the "heart in Phoenix stuff" Secondly, if you put a series of numbers down (13, 11, 9, 7, X) and one of us guessed the next number in the sequence was 5, would we be irrational? Would there be more objective evidence that supported that the next number would be 5 or 78? The same holds true for Gordon and his future health objectively. You can argue that his injuries weren't related, but I counter with what David Thorpe said on our podcast- That some people's bodies simply cannot put up with the grind of this game and this league. Whatever, we can go back and forth on this issue all night and you will never convince me, nor I you. But I take offense to this idea that I have some kind of agenda or that I am anti-Gordon. I am anti tying up huge amounts of money in a guy that is far more likely to play 40 games a year than 80. It is nothing against the man himself. Of course there is a possibility that he returns and beats the odds, but the situation can also get much worse and all I want is for people to acknowledge that when making the decision for themselves on what they want with regard to this situation. In the end, like James says, as long as he is here, we have to hope for the best, but I will still wake up everyday hoping that we unloaded this giant risk overnight, and I guess you feel the opposite. That's fine, I love varying opinions and I honestly hope that you are right on this one. Sincerely mean that.

Ogden Park
Ogden Park

"You have a nameless guy who gets hurt more and more every year (objective fact). His trade value is at an all-time low but if he gets hurt again and/or needs microfracture surgery, his value will plummet to a level that he will be untradeable." This is part of a subjective narrative. Your anecdotal facts may be objective, but trying to weave them into a statement on Gordon's future is not. First of all, there is no common medical thread to his injuries that suggest they will be related to any further issue. That is YOUR ASSUMPTION. You say "more and more" even though this all related to a single issue, and "if he gets hurt again" as if that is some clearly objective declaration. Yeah, and "if" this rehab is successful he may never miss significant time again in his career. See how easy that was! We are all making subjective assumptions, at least I can admit mine. There was a similar claim given at one point to Tyson Chandler as well. Oops. Thinking like this cost us a long run at something we are DYING to get back 5 years later. Its the NBA, Mac. You have to take chances on these guys because they are so rare and necessary to winning big. At minimum you maximize value when getting rid of them, which is not possible at this time. And I really wish you would stop using this pretentious term, "optimism bias" as a blanket response to anyone who disagrees with your assumptions on Gordon. Its such a cop out. I am not any more optimistic than you are pessimistic, so at least come up with an equally cringe-worthy, obnoxious description for you and your anti-Gordon brigade that refuses to acknowledge the flip side of the coin. The "pessimism bias" suggests that you only take chances on guys who proclaim their dying love for New Orleans and its delicate, emotional fanbase, never get injured, and blow rainbows out of their arse. There really is NO objective decision for Dell to make. Every decision he makes is going to be colored by his own observations, prejudice and assumptions about Gordon's potential. I'm just glad he isn't as reactionary as you.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Prediction using less than all the facts may be imperfect, but that does not make it subjective. It's about determining a patter from finite data. 2, 4, what? 6? 8? It depends. Rational objective inspection can result in multiple inferences. Goals may also differ... help the Hornets by maximizing gains or help the Hornets by minimizing losses? Other?

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Maybe we have different understandings of the word objective, because with my understanding of the word, there is no other objective solution. You have a nameless guy who gets hurt more and more every year (objective fact). His trade value is at an all-time low but if he gets hurt again and/or needs microfracture surgery, his value will plummet to a level that he will be untradeable. The data shows that he is getting injured more and more frequently (objective fact), so the evidence says that if you can trade this nameless player now, you do it. Again, optimism bias can lead you to another conclusion, but that is subjective. If you chose the objective path, there is no other conclusion you could possibly reach with the current information and data. Not that being subjective is bad and being objective is good, whatever you choose is fine, but the argument that I am not being objective or rational is clearly false.

Ogden Park
Ogden Park

Don't bother asking for an explanation for that tripe. Trading Gordon "as soon as possible" is the EXACT OPPOSITE of Demps acting "objectively." That would be the overly emotional, rash response to what has been an admittedly rocky beginning to his Hornets career. Like you said, as an asset his value cannot get any lower. Trading him now for pennies on the dollar makes absolutely no business sense. I find it laughable that McNamara would advocate being rational, and then call for the least rational action. Pretty much disagree completely with his entire assessment of Demps' decision making this summer and moving forward.

Chris
Chris

Fair point about waiting until the end of the season, but I think everyone will sleep better once Eric Gordon is no longer a part of this team. That is why there is an urgency to this situation. It doesn't need to happen this week, this month, or even before the end of the season, but Eric Gordon must be traded before the start of next season. I would even take on a bad contract that is expiring next season. How does Eric Gordon for Emeka Okafor sound? I know that is drastic, but if the trade was processed our future would immediately look better because Okafor is a FA after next season. Do the trade now and shop Okafor in the offseason. If so, maybe we can be free of this mess before FA begins.

Lucas Ottoni
Lucas Ottoni

And you also believe in Santa Claus or something?

Jerry M.
Jerry M.

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.

Dave
Dave

An appearance where? In the arena? Hard to do that when you are in LA working with specialist who kick your ass five hours a day to strengthen your knee. He did show up to the game in LA and was vocal and involved. He comes back when he is ready. The locker room will be fine because we have Monty Williams. Also i am sorry to disagree here as well but this team has very little chemistry.

edbballin504
edbballin504

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!

mateor
mateor

Yeah, I don't know. I did not want the match, I was hoping for the sign and trade with Phoenix. But that didn't happen, as we all know. Know I believe that the Hornets have to make the best of the situation. And for once, they have all the power. As long as the Hornets are in this clear rebuild mode, they really have nothing to lose here. There is a salary floor, remember. Just hold his contract and don't panic. Eventually he will either fully recover from his injury or realize that he needs to play his way out of town. Trading him now is relinquishing an asset at it's lowest possible value. Think about it, EG will NEVER have a lower trade value than he does right now. What is the rush? Wait and see what happens with the injury. Losing these games while playing hard is the best place for the Hornets to be right now. Do you guys really want to win the 5-7 extra games EG might give us this year if healthy? Wait him out.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I haven't listened to the podcast yet, but I worked my tail off to get a trade that only gave up Robin Lopez to ditch this guy this month. It's impossible without taking on baggage I'm unwilling to take on. So it can be done, but not in a way to make me less upset. I'm for the endgame being a trade, but it's got to happen after he bounces the ball enough to convince people he's been healed.

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