Eric Gordon . . . On v Off

Published: April 2, 2014

Michael Pellissier made the grave error of posting some data via his twitter (@palochak). This led to the following conversation with me for you.

Jason: Michael, the other day you posted a nice data set on twitter with some comments. Retell that here using the freedom of going beyond the 140 character barrier.

Michael Pellissier: So the other day I was perusing stats page (with no real intent in mind) when I stumbled across this table. I honestly did a double-take when I saw it: as hard as I am on Gordon, I never thought he actively HURT our team. But looking at his number, how can you think anything but that? No one else is even close. The team has, at least statistically, performed at a playoff level when Gordon sits. Is this a playoff team, injuries and all? No way. But it’s getting harder and harder for me to believe that Gordon is even a decent player, let alone a good one.

Jason: Well, I’m not surprised. In fact, I’m kind of happy. It’s been my impression that the bevy of guards came about for 2 reasons. First, they wanted some movable assets. Second, they wanted to audition some backcourt partners for Davis. Remember, Davis is the key, and everything has to be viewed through Davis-colored glasses. Gordon was on the team before Davis. Though he was matched when Davis’ future on the team was certain, I think this was done from an asset maintenance perspective. The odds that the team that traded for Paul had the perfect assets for the team both then and in the future are quite low. As such, you have nurture the Gordon asset, then trade it at the right time for something else you want. The fact that he is playing well (say, $8m – $12m level), but he does not fit. This is both not surprising because of the above and a clear indication of who needs to be moved.

How do you feel about the New Orleans Pelicans moving Gordon? You ok with it? What price are you willing to pay to move him, if necessary?

Michael Pellissier: Gordon’s contract was matched before Davis was ingrained in the roster, but I think his resigning goes a little past asset maintenance. If Gordon was the player he used to be, there wouldn’t have been the need to pick up someone like Tyreke. The kind of scoring / pick & roll play he used to provide would’ve fit just fine with Davis, and Davis in his prime would’ve covered for Gordon’s lack of defense. But he’s not the player he used to be, and that’s really why we’re having this conversation.

I’ve been pushing for a Gordon move for a long time, mainly because everything that has gone down has led me to believe he’s not part of our future. I don’t hate him and I don’t think he’s a terrible player, but now that data validates his incongruity with this roster, I think he is a must-move. If Dell can trade him for someone (anyone) out there that can cut ~3,4 million dollars from the books for the next two years, I think it has to be done. What is the lowest return you’d take for Gordon? The highest?

Jason: I’m not so sure Gordon was ever really someone that would fit with this team once Davis was here. I agree with what you are saying about his skill set, but he has seemed to react poorly to all the happenings that essentially subordinated him to another player. Griffin in LA, being traded away for Paul, the drafting of Davis (and Rivers?!). He actually even started out this season quite well with a mostly healthy roster and led effectively in Davis’ absence, but he’s been worse in March, and, frankly, he got worse following the All-Star Weekend. This last bit could be his left knee showing itself, of course, but that does not explain the rest of observations. I have no doubt that he could be a part of this team and continue to improve, but I have massive doubt that he has the will to do so.

On the high end, I’d accept Durant, max cash, and a second. No a skosh more.

On the low end . . . I’d be willing to send Ryno or a first off to get rid of him, depending on the haul back. If he can get back on the court, I think he’ll have a market, and it won’t get send-Ryno-bad.

How would that low end suit you?

Michael Pellissier: Your low end is too high of a price for my taste. I’m not trading Anderson unless I’m putting together an asset package to get a bona fide star in return (you and I have even discussed this at length). Gordon must go, but I’d rather trade him for a lesser financial liability than try to package him with a premier asset like Ryno and get something decent in return. For instance, last season I said I’d trade Gordon for Humphries / Brooks (though Brooklyn probably would’ve liked that deal less) and this year I’ve said I’d trade him for Andrea Bargnani. I understand that none of those guys were/are anywhere near good, but I don’t want those deals for the player(s) in return. I want them for cap relief. My goal is to get Gordon’s contract off the books as soon as possible. And if we have to throw in a minor asset or two to avoid taking garbage back, I say do it.

Jason: The best case scenario for all parties is Gordon to be healthy and play well. That gives the most and best options for the Pelicans and for Gordon. I think we both agree on that. It’s when things fall short that we, and others, will start to butt heads. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, and hopefully a troll will not be underneath . . . here’s to Three Billy Goats Gruff . . . may it show us the way!


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