As Trade Deadline Nears, Warriors Emerge as Favorite to Land Gordon

By:
Published: February 17, 2013
Eric Gordon Klay Thompson

If Eric Gordon is traded prior to the deadline this Thursday, it will most likely be to the Golden State Warriors. As reported by ESPN’s Chris Broussard last week, the Warriors are among several teams interested, but it appears that the Mavericks and Rockets are focusing on Gordon as a backup option should they miss out on Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum next summer. Basically, they are seeing what Demps wants for Gordon now but likely wouldn’t pull the trigger until mid-to-late July.

Of course waiting to mid-July will give Dell Demps more options because Eric Gordon’s trade veto clause expires on July 13th. Instead of having to negotiate with the limited number of teams that Gordon would approve a trade to, Dell can send him anywhere (Hello Bobcats!). The problem with waiting until then, however, is two-fold. One, the other teams that are interested and/or have the assets you want might fill their needs in free agency or via the draft. Two, Eric Gordon could get hurt again and his trade value could fall even further than it already has.

This is a scenario that I don’t think enough people consider as a real possibility when projecting forward. It seems like the prevailing logic is that the Hornets should let him play these next 29 games and show the league that he is back to being the player that was on the verge of an All-Star birth and almost made the Olympic team, then move him at a higher value this summer. The guys has played 27 out of a possible 119 games with us over two years, so how in the heck can people think that he will play 26 or 27 out of the next 29? While it’s possible he stays healthy, doesn’t the objective data tell us that it is more likely that he doesn’t?

So, if Dell wants to avoid that risk and cut ties this week, one option stands out above all others- the Golden State Warriors. Golden State was fighting for a top four seed just two weeks ago, but after a five-game losing streak, they head into the final stretch of the season fighting for a playoff birth. Their biggest problem, aside from their atrocious defense as of late, is that they don’t have a guy who can create for himself at a high level at the end of games. In fact, Jarrett Jack has been that guy for them for the most part, and we all know how that turns out after watching Jack try to fill that role for us last season.

Theoretically, Eric Gordon could be that guy for Golden State, and if he is healthy, the Warriors could have a team that can compete with anyone due to their scoring and depth. According to Golden State writer Marcus Thompson, the Warriors like Eric Gordon but are too scared of his injury history to give up BOTH Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes for him? It’s brilliant of Dell to ask for both, I mean why not? But what if they came back and offered just one of them and the choice of one of their less talented rookies (Festus Ezeli or Draymond Green) and also made the Hornets take back a contract (Richard Jefferson or Andris Biendris)? Should this be something the Hornets consider?

First, let’s take a look at the two possible cornerstones. Klay Thompson is a 6’7″ shooting guard with above average defense, a killer outside stoke, but relatively poor shot selection. Harrison Barnes is a super-athletic small forward who is a fantastic finisher at the rim, a good three-point shooter from the corner, but gives you little to nothing else statistically at this point of his career. Thompson plays the position that the Hornets would have the biggest need at if Gordon were to leave, and there are also more small forward options available via free agency and the draft this summer, so it appears that if the Hornets had to choose, Thompson should be the guy they take back as the centerpiece of this deal.

As for Ezeli vs. Green, both are Monty Williams type of guys and could come in and play from day one, though both lack significant upside. On a contending team, they might project as a 9th or 10th man, capable of coming in and giving you great minutes in short spurts. Ezeli has better upside as a low post scorer and shot-blocker while Green is a better on-ball defender and creator. Finally, you have the contracts that have to come back to New Orleans in order to make this deal work for both parties. On one side, you have Richard Jefferson who has $10 million due this season and $11 million next season. Andris Biendris, on the other hand, is due $9 million this season and next. In both cases, next year’s salary is a player option, but you would expect each player to opt-in and take the money.

Performance wise, Jefferson gives you more than Biendris right now and could provide the Hornets with some depth and small forward in the long term. He also could be easier to trade next year as he would both be a solid piece for a contender and an expiring contract. But Biendris costs $2 million dollars less, and with the Hornets looking to potentially make a splash this summer, every penny counts. If the Hornets do the deal with Jefferson as the salary filler, they’ll go into the summer with $13 million in cap space; with Biendris it is $15 million.

With all that in mind, here is the deal that both teams should consider, and hopefully by Thursday, agree to:

Golden State receives:

Eric Gordon

New Orleans receives:

Andris Biendris

Klay Thompson

Draymond Green

(*Note: Golden State is currently just barely over the luxury tax, even before this deal. The Hornets could also agree to take Brandon Rush in this deal and that would net Golden State an additional $7 million dollars in savings because they would not have the lux tax penalty AND they would get a rebate check from the league. Rush is out for the season with a torn ACL and has a player option of $4 million next season. Dell Demps has long been a fan of Rush.)

26 comments
NOH Domination
NOH Domination

I can see why Gordon didn't want to sign in New Orleans.. Why is everything Gordons fault? Getting just Klay Thompson and Green while taking on Biedrins is awful. Klay Thompson and Barnes, maybe, but I can't believe anybody would rather have Klay Thompson...

Nola86
Nola86

It's interesting to hear that the Bucks want Gordon.

Nola86
Nola86

This would be a great you'll have a good rotation at the SG position now and next year plus both are under contract til the 2014-15 season,Green would be a player they could keep or waive and Biedrins has a early termination option so the Hornets can let him go after this season.It's a win-win for both teams.If this trade go through.

lsutigers33
lsutigers33

I know everyone wants Gordon out, but I just don't see any upside to a trade with GS unless we get both players. I still think Indiana is an option. We can take gerald green and a declining granger.

xman20002000
xman20002000

I haven't seen nor heard anything official that Gordon was seeking nor the team looking for deals... Were I in Demps' job I would always look to see what others are thinking.. More important is the lack of production i.e. predictable scoring from Aminu, Miller and Thomas... Then the latter two seem afraid to put the ball up there... And the thing about New Orleans being a small market.. well if you are making what these guys are making you can live pretty well in New Orleans... You have to win games... making a name for yourself... There are lots of empty seats in much larger cities...

Jared Ennis
Jared Ennis

I would love nothing more than to get rid of Eric Gordon. He is a talented kid who wants to be playing for a bigger market/winning team. I can't blame him. I don't see him really being traded for both Thompson and Barnes. My dream trade would be Aminu and Gordon for Thompson and Barnes. But that is highly unlikely. There are a lot of good guards coming out this year (Smart, Mcelmore) and especially next year (the Harrison twins and Kasey Hill). So right now, I would like to ship out Gordon for Barnes because there aren't as many young small forwards out there. We can see what we have in Rivers and if he isn't the answer, there are a lot of other young options.

sidweaver
sidweaver

As a Warriors fan, I have no clue why you think this might happen. You may not be aware the Warriors sent Monta Ellis away to make a place for Klay Thompson. They chose to make him a keystone of their future and there's no reason why they would change their plan now, certainly not for a player who-- while considerably talented-- has hardly played in two years. Read Marcus Thompson again. He reported the Dubs like his talents, but don't like his injury history, don't like his contract, and don't like what it would take to get him. And that there are no talks. Saying they "like his talents" is being polite. There's nothing to this.

Chuck
Chuck

Just to be clear, GSW being the favorite still gives about ~10% chance of him being traded there, correct? That was Broussard's original estimate. Also, I don't think a team would take on Gordon unless they were positive he could push them over the top. GSW with Gordon is still probably a notch behind OKC, the Spurs, and the Clippers in the west. I think the most likely scenario is Indiana. They're starting to emerge as the second best team in the east, only missing a go-to scorer; Gordon would likely accept a trade, since he's from there; and they have Danny Granger to offer up. Right now apparently they're talking about moving Paul George to SG when Granger comes back, but hopefully they'll come to their senses and realize that probably won't work and try to move Granger. I think I'd do Granger + Stephenson for Gordon, hopefully they would too. They also probably realize they aren't in play for a guy like Dwight Howard, so unlike Dallas and Houston they won't wait to see what happens this summer.

Will
Will

Although the idea of waiting out and getting both Thompson and Barnes is tempting, I think it's almost too risky to wait until the offseason; there's a good possibility that he'll get hurt and if he continues to play like he has, teams may lose infatuation with his star potential. Getting Klay at the deadline would give us a likely long term player at SG to replace Gordon. Taking on a bad contract would be okay with me considering they have both have only two years left on their deals. I hope Dell is doing a ton of stuff behind the scenes now because I haven't heard a ton of trade talk nationally. I'm just ready for the Eric Gordon saga to end; I hoped it would end with him turning into a cornerstone but I'm not convinced he can.

come on pelican
come on pelican

Trying to get in the head of Eric Gordon – thick as it is – convinces me it’s not a good idea for Hornets fans to hate him, though it’s easy to understand the temptation to do so. Two years ago he perceived himself as a future superstar in the City of Angels along with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. This perception was not imagined – it was encouraged by the Clippers ownership, management and coaching staff. Then he was suddenly and unceremoniously traded to New Orleans, a team with struggling attendance and ownership, management and coaching problems. Then his chronic knee pain surfaced, real or imagined – though it’s tough to understand how an elite athlete agrees to go under the knife as Gordon did last season without a strong reason for believing it was essential. Gordon’s 9 game performance as a Hornet late last season stunned all of the fan base – in a positive way – and earned him an invitation to try out for the Olympic team. But then he narrowly missed the cut, undoubtedly another blow to his already fragile self-image. Finally, the Phoenix courtship – and Gordon’s apparent inability to understand how to manage it properly – disgusted everyone in New Orleans. But it’s foolhardy to assume Dell Demps and Monty Williams don’t have Plan A and Plan B in place already. Plan A is probably to ship Gordon off to “greener pastures” IF the deal is right for the team. Plan B is murkier, and card-shark Demps isn’t about to reveal it to us, but here’s what I believe it is. Phoenix was attractive to Gordon because of its reputation for managing injuries to star players such as A’mare Stoudemire and Steve Nash. Recognizing this, Dell and Monty doubled-down on the team’s investment in Gordon as follows: Get the very best sports medicine advice that money can buy to maximize Gordon’s ability to contribute to the team and then follow that advice. That advice coupled with the recognition that this season is solely for rebuilding and player development made it feasible for the team to let Gordon and the doctors maximize his rehab. That’s the reason why Gordon is playing sparingly this year and -- when he does -- not with the reckless abandon and drives to the basket that are his signature and that also tend to increase his proclivity for injury. So let’s hope Golden State or some other desperate team is willing to make an attractive deal so that Demps can successfully implement Plan A. But if that fails, let’s be patient and see if Dell and Monty can succeed at Plan B.

JJacob
JJacob

Getting Klay Thompson for Gordon would be a steal. Do it now Demps!

Eli
Eli

I prefer to wait until the offseason to deal Gordon, if we trade him at all. But after reading this article and Jason's article from yesterday, I was inspired to think of a trade we can pull off now. I thought up a scenario where we trade him now to Golden State. So, in the proposed trade in the article, the Hornets would send Gordon to GS for Thompson, Biedrins' bad contract, and Draymond Green as a throw in. Judging from the other comments, most people, including me, don't want to take on a bad contract without receiving a 1st round pick. Because GS doesn't own their 2013 1st rounder and can't trade their 2014 1st rounder as MM mentioned in one of the comments above, we turn to a third team - Phoenix. They will likely have two lottery picks this year, and may be willing to part ways with one for the right price. I look at Phoenix's roster and see Channing Frye and his 3yr / 19mil contract as the guy they most likely want to get rid of. Do they send LA's 1st round pick and Frye's bad contract to the Hornets for Biedrins' bad but shorter contract? Probably not, so we look for a way to sweeten the deal. As it stands at this point, it would be Thompson, Frye, and LA's 1st to the Hornets, Gordon to the Warriors, and Biedrins to the Suns. The Warriors would be getting the best player in the trade AND would be dumping a bad contract, they would pull this off in a heartbeat, but Phoenix wouldn't, so what can we do to balance it out? Warriors trade Harrison Barnes to the Suns. What? Why would the Warriors do that and leave a gaping hole at the SF position? Well, they wouldn't, so Phoenix sends Jared Dudley over to GS in return. I try this trade and see that the salaries don't work out, with GS being over, so they send Brandon Rush over to the Hornets, and the deal is complete. Here's the overview: Hornets receive: K.Thompson, B.Rush, C.Frye, and LA's 1st rounder Hornets trade: E.Gordon Warriors receive: E.Gordon, J.Dudley Warriors trade: K.Thompson, H.Barnes, A.Biedrins, B.Rush Suns receive: H.Barnes, A.Biedrins Suns trade: J.Dudley, C.Frye, LA's 1st rd. pick Hornets get a good, young SG (Thompson) to replace Gordon and a likely lottery pick, but have to take on a bad contract (Frye). Warriors get the best player in the trade (Gordon), a proven veteran sharpshooter on a good contract who can help them make a deep playoff run (Dudley), and get to dump their bad contract (Biedrins), for the price of two promising young swingmen (Thompson and Barnes) and a throw-in (Rush). The Suns speed up their rebuilding process, dumping a 3 yr bad contract (Frye) for a 2 yr bad contract (Biedrins), and also get a promising, good rookie (Barnes) for the price of Dudley and a late lottery pick. Of course this is just a proposal I came up with. Hopefully I didn't drag it on too long but I just wanted to explain the reasoning behind the moves. Tell me what you guys think!

Ogden Park
Ogden Park

Though I like GS as a trade partner, not enough value for Gordon in this scenario. "Objective data" suggests Dell has never, and would never, give up an asset like EJ while at the same time relieving GS of a cap black hole contract essentially for free. Green or Ezeli (C-level prospects, career backups) are not enough incentive to do so. Taking on either of those atrocious contracts is worth a 1st rounder by itself, so the fact that GS can't include next year's is a major strike against this deal. The main reason Dell would hold out for both Barnes and Thompson is because he has no pressing need not to. Gordon's value is at an all time low, and Dell has major cap flexibility for the next year plus and has few reasons to make a hurried deal such as this (unless he is simply anti-Gordon, which he thankfully isn't).

jsl05
jsl05

Any way we can have a trade certification proposal contest this year, too?

Nola Moondog
Nola Moondog

Hold out for Barnes and Thompson. If dell has any feeling that he could maybe get both, he HAS to build a deal around that. This is a deal I would do. I think that it's reasonable. Warriors get = Gordon, top 10 protected draft pick, and if need be, Rivers or Lopez. Hornets get = Thompson, Barnes, beidrens, filler The plan is to grab Smart in the draft this year, and roll with a Smart, Thompson, Barnes, Anderson, Davis lineup for two years and see what happens. GSW get Gordon, most likely a teens pick next year, and offload a bad contract. They get two young quasi Allstar guards to build around. If the pot needed sweetening, we could send Lopez out to a third team. They make a big push this year and can still add talent in the future. If this Is possible, you get your core 5 by draft time this year, and start building chemistry starting next year with a team of complimentary young players who grow together. Inevitably some pan out, some don't, but you retain flexibility, and have the cash to sign the players who do work out 2 years from now.

xman20002000
xman20002000

Hope Gordon stays healthy... I look at Gordon as a Drew Brees type of experiment... Brees worked out fine but what is Gordon's health concern and are you losing an asset or cutting your losses... But just like his friendly competition with Derrick Rose both are injured... How severe are these injuries... Gordon is really injured if he has to take off a game... Rose has declared himself out for the season... It's ironic for Mr. Basketball in Indiana for Gordon and Illinois for Rose... And we assume both will get to 100% at some point... The good thing for us with the Gordon asset is his future value... and his max contract when it comes to the assets we can demand in return...

Snow
Snow

If we could trade Gordon for Thompson, Green, Biedrins, and even Rush I'd do it in a heart beat. Klay and Rush could rotate in both SG and SF. I hope Gordon stays healthy so the Warriors want him more. I been pro-Gordon but if you give me a deal like this, you can't even deny this. Getting Rush would be a stretch, we may have to include someone else for him to be in the deal but come on that is a nice deal with great potential

504ever
504ever

Interesting. Michael, I think you structured the trade the way I would want it structured if I was Dell and I wanted to trade Gordon now. (I might even want Rush, too.) The questions are: What does Dell want for Gordon? When does he want it? [Now, based on the mysterious Gordon hand injury that kept him off of the bench and away from the media? We have two, back to back, games before Thursday. Will Gordon play in either?] And what will Golden State (Hornets West) give up for Gordon?

pschafer
pschafer

Do the Warriors have draft picks that could be thrown in the deal? I'm more likely to pull the trigger if I can also get a first round pick for this season or next. As I see it, if we make this trade, we want to get one player (Thompson) who projects to be a good if not great NBA starter, plus a collection of other assets that multiply our options going forward. I'm only willing to take on a contract if we get a pick in return.

Nola86
Nola86

Gordon is not worth having here.Who wants someone that can't play back to back games through out the rest of his career or committed to this team long term. Reguardless that he re sign with the Hornets/Pelicans doesn't mean he want to be here this team had no choice but to re sign him at the time if Mayo was on the market and let Gordon sign with Suns they would not been any drama like it is now.

xman20002000
xman20002000

Granger and Gordon make the same reported money... both have injuries currently being treated... On the other hand, spraining your hand doesn't mean you are seeking a trade...

xman20002000
xman20002000

At the end of the day Eric Gordon may be really injured... He and Derrick Rose have some medical which doesn't appear minor... These guys are gambling with millions going into the future... Fans need to forget the media image realizing this guy, when healthy, is important increasing the margin of victory in games and you need his type in the playoffs... as many closures as you can get... Plus he is listed making $14MM.. so he has the security.. and this is an interesting team moving forward.... This team is on the rise... We are young but Davis and Rivers have room to grow... Rivers improves every game... Davis is study and doesn't play like a rookie... Anderson... don't mention it... Smith.. but we have weaknesses at SF assuming Anderson and everyone is healthy... Right now he appears injured... Someone like him probably hurts psychologically... what else can go wrong...

xman20002000
xman20002000

Atrocious contract... Biedrins makes $9MM and according to ESPN when he gets in games he doesn't score "at all".... LOL... So why should we want this contract considering we sent them Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry... Now he is 7ft/240.. but a guy that tall not scoring... Golden State is paying him to be a tree... and on TV attempting to play basketball... LOL.. I had to get that out considering he is being discussed for a trade... But maybe he can't get off the bench... Bogut was injured with him starting and no points...

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Their pick goes to Utah this year. Cant throw in next year since they owe this year. Basically, they cant throw in a pick until 2015

xman20002000
xman20002000

So why would they give us Stevenson and what makes anyone think either player would be healthy on a new team...

Chuck
Chuck

I don't think money would be an issue, Stephenson isn't in there to make the salaries work, he's there because he's a valuable guy who wouldn't really get minutes if Gordon was there. No one here ever suggested Gordon is seeking a trade, but he does have to approve a trade. He would probably be more open to being traded to the Pacers or Warriors than, say, the Bobcats or Kings...