So Eric Gordon Wants to be a Phoenix Sun…

Published: July 4, 2012

Eric Gordon wants to be a Sun, but that’s not all that matters. We take a look at what the Suns can offer in exchange for the presumed centerpiece of the trade that sent Chris Paul packing.

“After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible,” Gordon told “Mr. (Robert) Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the Front Office Staff and Coach (Alvin) Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now.”

We know that Eric Gordon has stated his intentions to sign a four-year deal with the Suns on July 11th that will pay him roughly 58 million dollars. We also know that the Hornets have publicly stated that they will match any offer for the restricted free agent and plan to meet with Gordon before deciding on the course of action. Reports from most major media outlets are saying that this position is being maintained.

We have evidence that the Hornets want to bring Gordon back, but not at 14.5 million dollars per year. It’s simply too steep of a price to pay for a shooting guard who has struggled to remain on the floor throughout his NBA career.

The difference between what they were willing to pay (48-50 million dollars or so) might not seem like much since the numbers are so staggering in and of themselves, but a 2.5 million dollar difference per year is important. That’s not just chump change — it can pay a Jason Smith, literally. It can snag you a second round pick every year to stash in the D-League or Europe.

Dell isn’t the only one who doesn’t think Gordon is worth the max. Just about every NBA analyst and writer who I trust has told me that a “fair contract” would be worth 10-12 million a year, all pointing to the reality that he’s been unable to stay on the court consistently. Of course he’s worth a max contract if he’s healthy, but he hasn’t been.

The Suns appear willing to gamble that he can stay healthy; the Hornets do not.

Fortunately, it’s likely a deal is in the works to send a number of assets to the Hornets in a sign-and-trade for the Eric “The Invisible Man” Gordon.


First off, Gordon won’t sign the deal until July 11th, leaving ample time for the Hornets to work out such a deal before their offer sheet is actually signed. If we can’t get a deal done, and he does physically sign the offer sheet, we have 3 days to match. If we do, we have him under contract for 4 years 58 million dollars, and he can never be traded by us to Phoenix on that deal. If we do not match, his 9.6 million dollar cap hold comes off of salary figure, and Dell goes from there.

If the Hornets simply say they won’t trade him and plan to match the deal, he could sign the qualifying offer currently on the table instead of the offer sheet from Phoenix, forcing his way out at risk. For a guy plagued by injuries and without much to gain financially, it seems unlikely that he will do this.

If he refuses to sign anything, he will be a restricted free agent next offseason as long as the Hornets offer him a qualifying offer then, so there is nothing to be gained here.

The best situation for all parties is that the Hornets will work out a sign-and-trade, most likely to Phoenix. That said, don’t entirely rule out the possibility that other teams will take a run at him.

Given his statement, it seems unlikely that he’ll remain a Hornet, but it’s not impossible. The Hornets would have to really commit to him when they meet, and considering that they’ve been unwilling to do so for so long, it’s hard to see them doing so now.

Keep in mind that Dealer Dell could certainly include a third team if the Suns don’t have the pieces he desires. Here is what Phoenix has to offer:

  • Kendall Marshall— The Suns selected the best collegiate passer in the draft. He’s arguably their best asset.
  • Future draft picks— The Suns have their first and second round picks available. They haven’t traded away or received any in trade.
  • The rights to Robin Lopez— He’s a restricted free agent and the Suns have extended a qualifying offer to him. The Hornets do obviously need a center, but they could also send him to a third team desiring his services.
  • The ability to take on bad contracts— The Suns have 23.7 million dollars in guaranteed payroll next year. They have 7 million dollars on the table to Lopez and Aaron Brooks in the form of qualifying offers. They can afford to take on a bad contract from a third team who sends some talent the Hornets way.
  • Markieff Morris– The 13th overall pick in the 2011 draft showed that he could handle himself on the court last season, playing just under 20 minutes a game. It’s unclear (read: improbable) that he’s starter level talent.
  • Marcin Gortat— While he would certainly fill the need at center, it’s unclear if the Hornets would want to take on his two-year, 15-millon dollar deal. Someone else might.
  • Jared Dudley— Dudley is solid and would presumably be an upgrade at the three, but the 4 years and 17 million dollars is a bit long for my taste.
  • Josh Childress— If Josh was the same player he was before he went to Europe he’d be worth something, even at three years and 21 million dollars. He’s not. Maybe someone else thinks he is, but I sort of doubt it.

The ball is in the Hornets’ court, and Dealer Dell might have his work cut out for him if Gordon really is as adamant as he seems about going to Phoenix. They don’t have a ton of assets, and the Hornets don’t have any bad contacts to unload.

It seems the best real chance of getting good value for Gordon, assuming we decide

a) not to retain his services.

b) that Phoenix is the only place he’ll sign, and

c) will be to get a third team involved who has young assets, bad contracts, and a desire to unload the salaries of both

Best of luck, Dell.

Should we lose Gordon, however, it’s not all doom and gloom. With a high-priced, long-term deal on the books for a player with injury concerns, we are in for years of debate like we’ve been experiencing for the past few days and past few months. By continuing to work the value of the assets of the Chris Paul trade effectively, we may see more long-term benefit by acquiring pieces that fit around our outstanding draft class, rather than good pieces that the Clippers happened to have at the time. Also, this team will be squarely Anthony Davis’ from day one.

It is fitting for the potential Hall of Famer to never walk in the shadow of the shadow of Chris Paul.


This is a Joe and Jason tag team article.


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