Restricted Free Agent shooting guard Eric Gordon proclaimed Tuesday night that his heart is in Phoenix, however that may not prevent him from ending up playing in New Orleans. The “Arizona Republic” reported that Gordon will sign a four-year max-deal offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns on July 11, however the team he played for this past season, the New Orleans Hornets have previously stated they will match any offer given to the guard. The contract would pay the former member of the Los Angeles Clippers $58 million over the life of the pact. Gordon made his decision, after two days of meetings with the Suns and clearly the team made a very positive impression with the 23-year-old player.
The shooting guard released a statement through his agent Rob Pelinka Tuesday night, announcing his decision. He said “After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible. (Suns Managing Partner) Mr. (Robert) Sarver, (President of Basketball Operations) Lon Babby, (General Manager) 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.”
Despite the strong feelings for the Suns that he expressed, the buzz is the Hornets will match the offer sheet; which sets up a rather interesting conundrum. Why commit four-years and $58 million dollars to a player that’s just not that into you? The franchise acquired Gordon, before the start of this past campaign in the deal that sent Chris Paul to the Clippers. He was one of the key players for New Orleans in that deal and they have stated all along that they planned to match any offer Gordon received.
With the Hornets having drafted talented shooting guard Austin Rivers, is it possible that the Hornets would work out a sign and trade with the Suns, to send the guard where he left his heart. There currently is not a lot of talent on the Phoenix roster, so they could easily absorb the cost of the contract without having to send a current Suns player to the Hornets in return. Would a series of first round NBA Draft picks over the next few years be enough to entice the Hornets to part with Gordon?
If a deal can not be reached in principle before July 11, between the two teams; is Gordon better off not signing the Suns offer sheet, but instead accepts the qualifying offer that the Hornets gave him to make him a restricted Free Agent. That’s a huge amount of money to leave sitting on the table, but if he takes the qualifying offer, he will be an unrestricted Free Agent at the end of next season. The problems that could arise, including him getting hurt or underperforming this season, are most likely too big a risk for Gordon to take. If he wants to go to Phoenix it would have to be through a sign and trade, if the Hornets are receptive to a deal.