Stretching Eric Gordon

By:
Published: April 10, 2014
Eric Gordon

At this point, there is no more debate. It was fun going back and forth with readers about whether Eric Gordon would ever live up to the contract or whether he was a key ingredient for the future of this Pelicans team. But now, it’s just boring. There is literally nobody on the other side of the fence, and there is no joy in saying “I told you so,” when the end result is just so depressing. On a team with so many bright spots, there is one dark cloud hanging over the franchise – Eric Gordon’s contract.

Gordon is due $30.4 million over the next two years and that severely limits what Dell Demps can do to improve his roster around the Core Four. You can’t feel too bad for Dell, though, because matching the contract that Phoenix gave Gordon was his decision, and now he has to try to crawl out from under the one terrible move he has made on an otherwise impressive resume. As I showed you last week, getting out from under this deal is imperative as the 2015 free agent class looms, and with it, a chance to put the final piece into the championship puzzle.

I laid out possible trades, but with Gordon hurt yet again, that seems unlikely. You can also hope that Gordon opts out of his final year of his contract to secure a long-term deal elsewhere. That is more likely than moving him for an expiring, but still requires too many factors to be considered likely. But, even if neither of those things pan out, there is still a third option — The Stretch Provision.

In short, the Stretch Provision allows a team to take the money owed to a player and stretch the cap hit out over an alloted number of seasons. Per the new CBA, the team can stretch it out for twice as many years remaining plus an additional year. So, if the Pelicans were to stretch Eric Gordon this summer, they could stretch that $30.4 million over five seasons (2 x 2 +1) or if they stretch him next summer, they could stretch his final year that he is owed $15.5 million over three seasons.

With a weak free agent class in 2014, it probably would not be worth giving him the entire $30.4 million to not play for the team. You go into the season hoping that he is healthy and playing well so that you can move him the way that the Raptors moved Rudy Gay with a similar contract this year (one year guaranteed, one year player option). If you can’t move him by the deadline, you hope against hope that he opts out of the final year before 2015 free agency hits. If neither of those things happen, you can use the stretch provision, and all of a sudden his 2015-16 cap number plummets from $15.5 million to $5.17 million.

This gives you the ability to go into the 2015 free agent class and target anybody you want, knowing that if that free agent agrees to a contract in the moratorium period, you have the Stretch ace up your sleeve. You can essentially head into free agent that year assuming that you can stretch him if you get a big fish to bite. If not, no harm, no foul – you just let the contract expire or use him as a valuable trade chip at the 2016 trade deadline.

Depending on what the Pelicans do this summer, they can head into the 2015 summer with 12-15 million dollars in cap space, even with Gordon’s $5.17 million in dead money hanging on their books. As I stated last week, the summer of 2015 would likely be the last chance you would have to add a major piece to the Core Four, because Anthony Davis’s max contract would kick in the following year. And again, that free agent class is full of guys that fit exactly what this team is looking for, as the names include: DeAndre Jordan, Omer Asik, Jeff Green, Kawhi Leonard, Thaddeus Young, Nikola Vucevic, and Marc Gasol.

The next two seasons would be admittedly tough for the Pelicans, as they would have the Core Four plus whatever guy they plucked from the 2015 free agent class making about $56 million dollars. Add Gordon’s dead money and that takes you right up to the cap. They would have to draft well in 2015 and 2016, getting rotation players on cheap deals. Also, finding some more Brian Roberts or Alexis Ajinca type talents on minimum contracts wouldn’t hurt. Jeff Withey and Pierre Jackson would still be pretty cheap at that point as well.

Dell has shown in the past that he can get solid rotation players on minimum contracts (Anthony Morrow, anyone?), so that should not be an issue. If stretching Gordon can help Demps put a stud Center next to Anthony Davis or an elite three-and-D wing, then he would be foolish not to do it. It is just another alternative that Dell has – a worst case scenario one might say – if nothing else could be done about this singular black cloud that hangs over this organization.

23 comments
Lebron2Pels2014
Lebron2Pels2014

Gordon is overpaid and injury prone.Heads will roll this offseason Demps is the blame to give this putz a contract he was not going to live up to.Demps should be fired for this because he took a gamble on a player with an history of injuries and has crapped out.Theres too many Gordon fans on this comment page that think he's going to recover like hes Adrian Peterson wrong!! for petes sake even D Rose is starting to be wasted goods and who knows if hes going to play next season.If the Pels had Noel on this team it would been another setback and made matters worse because at this point i don't even think he'll play in the NBA at all..

xman20002000
xman20002000

Perhaps the author has nothing to do but rehash the "Hatin on Gordon" story...  And incidentally Gordon was one of our most consistent players this season ... not named Anthony Davis..  So who takes the final shot besides Gordon and maybe Anderson...  and now Morrow...  A greater concern is who do we retain in FA..  In sum, Gordon was able to finagle another $3M our of the process.. noting his preference for the West Coast what's wrong with that... Get over that...  Raphael Bush wanted to play for the Falcons...  big deal..  and let's see if Brees is worth $20+ this season, third or forth in interceptions... 

So please advise which one of our Guards played better than Gordon.. and he played the season.. Let's move on to something productive... Demps made the right decision at the time and there is nothing but upside... 

stanfunky
stanfunky

Despite all the talk about Davis, the team has yet to win consistently even when he plays well:


7-8 from Oct 30 - end of November (Davis averaged 19.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg)

7-7 in December (4-3 with Davis, 3-4 without him)

5-11 in January (5-10 with Davis, 0-1 without him, as Davis averaged 21.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg)

4-10 in February (Davis averaged 20.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg)

9-7 in March (9-5 with Davis, 0-2 without him, as Davis averaged 24.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg)

0-4 in April (0-3 with Davis, 0-1 without him, Davis averaging 9.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg and obviously hurt)


Considering there will likely be a 50 game winner in the West that MISSES the playoffs this year, the Pelicans need to get a LOT better first.  And a LOT healthier.  Patchwork lineups won't get you through the West.  Most don't realize that Davis averaging 20 points is a result of Gordon, Anderson, Holliday, and even Evans not playing up to their potential, which is part of why the team loses even when healthy.

mateor
mateor

RFA are quick ways to walk yourself into bad situations. I would rather not see my team go after any RFAs. There are gems out there (Ryan Anderson) but they are so few as to be basically not worth the risk. You are either over bidding to wrest a player from someone else, or overpaying to try and keep a player from walking without compensation.

And that leaves out weird scenarios where teams make rash decisions just to clear their sheets in order to have enough space to make an offer  (see: Warrior's pursuit of DeAndre Jordan)

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

Hopefully it won't come to that ,but it's great to have an option. ....hopefully he doesn't become a cancer next season when he's relegated to the bench. ...

504ever
504ever

The Stretch Provision only applies to a waived player.  So, as Michael stated, it is an option after the 2014-15 season if Gordon doesn't opt out of his player option year.  And I agree, it is the option in that situation that has to be used.  I am glad to learn it existed; I didn't know.

daThRONe
daThRONe

Great find, but as I said over on PR.com I don't think Demps has the time for this to play out. I think another year of missing the playoffs will be the end of both Monty and Dell. I can't see us making the playoffs in the West with Gordon's pay vs. play ratio the way it is as of now.

Steven J
Steven J

We just have to continue hoping the same thing next year. Health from Eric Gordon. If he can play smart and put up his same numbers that he has been putting up, we can have an overpaid, but productive player off the bench. In a year where we won't sign anyone anyway, hopefully he can contribute to the playoff race and a run in the playoffs. Overpaid or not, let's just hope for health and contribution next year.

Lebron2Pels2014
Lebron2Pels2014

Gordon was not going live up to the contract.His heart was better off in Phoenix maybe this team would be in better shape this season then to wait for next season or two.Gordon's bad contract is going to hold this franchise back.

SportsPillowTlk
SportsPillowTlk

Great article and I love the idea, but has there been a team that has used the stretch provision? I heard about it during the Nash documentary, when he was worried that the Lakers would cut him, but why aren't more teams using the stretch provision? 

champsworld504
champsworld504

I for one kept on hoping that Gordon would turn it around, but that dream is long gone. I'm pretty sure Dell kept Gordon to show fans that they didn't just give diva CP3 away. I still have faith in Dell though. A healthy diet of weight training for Withey, Rivers and AD this summer will do them wonders. Also, who knows a good moving service I can suggest to Steisma and Roberts so they can get the flick outta here after the final buzzer against the Rockets. Great article as always...................

MasonGinsberg
MasonGinsberg moderator

Like the idea. My hope would be that they could move an expiring Gordon contract in the 2015 offseason without a ton of difficulty by throwing in some sort of sweetener, but if not, this plan would do just fine.

daThRONe
daThRONe

@Lebron2Pels2014

I'm no fan of Dell Demps however blaming him for picking Noel is unfair because the Jrue trade was already in the works. I don't disagree with anything else.

jmbell7
jmbell7

@xman20002000  I'd rather have Tyreke or AD taking the final shot before Ryno anyways. They can create their own shot or create one for someone else. Once Ryno catches the ball, every person in the gym knows the only thing he'll do is shoot. 

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

@xman20002000 ...Yes Gordon was consistent, but Evans offers more at the starting 2.....Not his fault Dell matched the offer from the Suns.....It's on Dell, he has to move Gordon or make him the six man.....if they can team him up with a pass first point guard on the second unit, I think he would be a better fit......less minutes against second unit guys

jmbell7
jmbell7

@mateor  And all the ones worth offering will most certainly be matched (KD, Paul George, AD in a few years).

504ever
504ever

@daThRONe  

I do not agree that Gordon being overpaid by $5-10M/year depending on his durability will doom this team to missing the playoffs next season.  We still have Davis on an amazingly cheap contract, Anderson on a cheap contract (assuming he is healthy), and both Holiday and Evans on reasonable contracts. 

Gordon's contract will limit how far this team will go in the playoffs, but not getting there. Those bottom two spots in the Western Conference playoff group are certainly within reach of this team next year.  And the injuries we had this year may have made it clearer what the strengths of each player are, what each needs to improve, and how each will be used next year.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

@SportsPillowTlk  Because most teams could use the amnesty, and that is by far the better way to waive someone. Gordon's contract was signed after the latest CBA, so we can't amnesty him. You might see more stretch guys in the next few years as almost nobody is eligible to be amnestied after this year. 

xman20002000
xman20002000

@jmbell7 @xman20002000  I prefer Gordon taking the final shot.. and if you prefer Evans with the final shot.. you must be the only one in the building... but it might be Holiday... we don't know... or AD under the rim..

xman20002000
xman20002000

@PelicanSaints @xman20002000  I sorta beg to differ with your argument considering we brought in Holiday to run the point..  assuming that is true, how does that result in player combinations moving forward and do we have a dilemma in the back court... but a good one that we can solve considering we have the possibility of drafting a top 5 draftee.. and if not a kid like Pierre Jackson bringing instant offense..  

We will in fact have different issues considering the players we resign.. end of the year signings including free agent movement and who we bring in but who do we keep..  with Roberts and Miller restricted and Morrow, Smith, Stiemsma, and Aminu.. unrestricted FAs... (is Morrow's a team or player option) and one of the great things about the new ownership... in so far as we aren't starting another season with bloated contracts for aging veterans...  and,

In that regard Gordon's contract is a piece of cake.. It ain't Peja's deal and other deals like Anderson, Holiday, Evans are movable.

In sum, the season with this group is over....LOL

daThRONe
daThRONe

@504ever

I think this team does have talent and it's not beyond the realm of possibility for us if healthy to make the playoffs as is. I just look at the landscape in the West and think that most of those teams are going to likely be better next year. We really were robbed of a year of team chemistry and individual progress this year due to injuries.

We still don't have a conclusive answer if Jrue and Tyreke can play together. We don't know if Anthony and Ryan can play well enough defensively to play major mins together. We have as many question about next season as when this one started. We are likely to spend the beginning of the next season doing what I was hoping we could have done this year. I think this feeling out process will put his in a hole we can't get out of and we don't have the cap space to fill the holes at SF and C to over come a slow start.

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

@daThRONe @504ever...With the Steamer, Aminu and Smith hitting free agency.....you will have roughly 9mil to fill those slots...they probably could bring Smith at a lower price, then go and find two guys to fill the other two spots fairly cheap....anyone at the SF spot would be an upgrade...............