Eric Gordon still longs for Phoenix, but Hornets hold all the cards

At this point Eric Gordon’s future is in the hands of Hornets GM Dell Demps, yet that didn’t stop him from continuing to try to talk his way to Phoenix on Thursday in Las Vegas where he is competing for one of the final spots on the US Olympic team.

As Jason Calmes put it on Hornets247, “Dell holds all the cards.”

This is true because as much as Gordon can talk about wanting to play for the Suns, ultimately it is up to Demps to either match the offer sheet, let Gordon go, or work out a deal with Phoenix whereby the Hornets sign Gordon to the four-year, $58 million deal with a player option in Year 4 and then trade him to the Suns.

According to NBA rules (via Larry Coon), a sign-and-trade like the one that just sent Steve Nash to the Lakers cannot be consummated with a restricted free agent who signs an offer sheet with another team.

However, Gordon has only agreed to sign the Suns’ offer sheet. Nothing is official until July 11, so therefore if the Suns and Hornets agree on compensation the Hornets can execute the sign-and-trade so long as no offer sheet is signed. If the Hornets match, he can not be traded to the Suns throughout the length of the deal.

Gordon most certainly hopes he gets to Phoenix one way or another, as he made clear to ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher.

“Phoenix just showed a lot more interest, overall, and definitely in how they negotiated,” Gordon said. “I don’t know what New Orleans’ plans are for me. There are no negotiations right now.”

Bucher quoted a source saying the Hornets are “fully committed” to matching the offer as they have identified Gordon as their “most talented player” even with No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis in tow.

But the feeling isn’t mutual as Gordon seemed a bit miffed that the Hornets would select a similar player to him in the draft in Austin Rivers.

“They drafted another shooting guard, a combo guard like me, which tells me they have another plan,” he said.

Personally, I don’t see how Gordon and Rivers complement each other either, and for a player that is apparently so important to their franchise, the Hornets did not seem to consult Gordon’s opinion on the Rivers selection at No. 10 overall.

Without having much knowledge of Gordon’s year in New Orleans it’s hard to say why he wants to avoid becoming Anthony Davis’ teammate so much, but clearly something did not sit right with him in The Big Easy. Gordon seems to be more excited about a Suns future with Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley than playing with the Hornets’ two top-10 picks.

“Phoenix signed two other young guys that are very talented,” he said. “They’re already established and they’re already going to get better.”

The future of two franchises hangs in the balance of this decision by Demps. If you are Phoenix or New Orleans it’s not so easy to acquire Olympic-caliber players, and after the Suns’ spending spree they may not be in position to outright sign another max contract stud for another three or four years once the dust settles on this summer’s free agency binge.

The Hornets, meanwhile, would be missing a crucial piece of the young up-and-coming team they hope to build around Davis.

I cannot imagine Demps letting Gordon go for nothing, so it will be time for PBO Lon Babby to step up to the plate and prove how savvy of a negotiator he really is.

Tags: Eric Gordon

  • PHZ-Sicks

    I think the Austin Rivers pick through the wrench in any reason for Eric Gordon to want to stay.

    1. You’re asking your lottery pick to si ton the bench for four years of his career. He’ll only be 23 but Rivers doesn’t see himself as a bench player and will be damned if he be one for that long.

    2. Eric gordon is considered a future All-Star and knowing that in PHX, they’ll be his team (Hornets is Davis team now) and he won’t have to watch his spot.

    3. Hornets don’t want a disgruntle player on their team. You have a young starting lineup and that attitude can rub off on them. You might want to avoid that scenario. Maybe they ae aiming to get some better for him and figure the Suns are not the team to get that from, but that’s the bad thing about RFA.

  • cha cha cha

    in re #2: did you watch the draft? they kept talking about how Rivers wanted to go to NO because he’s known the Williams (the coach) since he was a little kid and because Doc and Monty are good friends. in one fell swoop, Gordon went from being “the man” to being a guy who plays the same position as someone who is essentially “the coach’s son”.

  • Jay

    I just don’t see how he can go back to N.O. If he really wants to be a Sun next year, we’ll have to convince the hornets to do a sign and trade.

    If they remain committed to matching anything, then he should sign a one year tender and become a FA next year.

  • Suns4L1fe

    Whatever happens, I think Suns should NOT sign and offer sheet on July 11th. They should work things out with the NO FO for a Sign and Trade.

  • Scott

    So far as I can tell, Gordon never wanted to go to NO in the first place. He and the rest of the players traded by the Clippers went under duress.

    Just look at this happy picture … it’s like they were taken captive.

  • Scott

    For that matter, here’s some pictures of Ben Gordon (not Eric) as he’s introduced to the media by his new team, the Bobcats. What a joyous occasion! ;)

    Players are competitive, and they’ll go out and play, but you can’t ignore the fact that there’s some places where they are happy to be and there are other places where they’re praying daily or hourly to get out.

    Kind of like Crawford in Portland last season, practically begging the Suns to sign him as security dragged him away from the scorer’s table: “Heeeeelp meeee …!” ;)

  • Mel.

    … I think those pictures just made my afternoon. LMFAO.

  • bk

    No S&T please. His price tag is already twice of Goran Dragic. It is already not a smart buy.

  • Troy


    That picture was the first thing I thought of while reading this. I remember seeing it shortly after the CP3 trade to the Clippers went down. It speaks for itself as to all 3 of those guys’ desire to play in the Big Easy (as was also evidenced with Chris Kaman being unofficially “deactivated” during the season while the Hornets sought a trade partner).

    Gordon’s facial expression on this one says a lot too:

    From these pics, I honestly don’t think it’s so much a matter of Gordon wanting out due to the Austin Rivers pick (though that certainly didn’t help matters any) as much as it’s a matter of him never wanting to be there to begin with.

    No way the Hornets let him go for nothing, but I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t be willing to at least talk about the possibility of a sign-and-trade prior to the 11th since it’s clear he doesn’t want to be there. The drafting of Austin Rivers should say something about that as well.

    I’d think a package of Frye or Lopez combined with Warrick and either Telfair or Marshall (preferably the former) and a couple of those Lakers picks should be able to get it done. Come on, Babby/Blanks – let’s get it done!

    #FreeEricGordon – let the campaign begin.

  • Troy


    As a budding potential all-star and 20+ppg scorer for the foreseeable future, he’s worth more than Goran in this market, plain and simple. You have to give up something of value to get something of value, that’s just the way it is. (Whether a hefty contract or other resources like players or draft picks.) Because Gordon has gone on record as not wanting to be in New Orleans, the Suns should be able to get him by giving up less than they would have to give up for a player of comparable caliber. The “selling” team loses leverage when the player’s desire to be elsewhere is known. It’s how the market works.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Babby and Blanks let their intentions known by potentially signing Gordon to an offer sheet. By doing this they have put preasure on themselves to do whatever it takes to finish a deal for Gordon.

    I really like Marshall, but he may have to be included in a package to acquire Gordon especially with young Dragic on board.

    The preasure is on, and the clock is ticking. It is a lot like the Joe Johnson fiasco in reverse.

  • Sean

    I’ve been on a Hornets blog, seeing some of the S&T proposals they have ( Here’s a sample:

    1. Gortat, Marshall, and a 1st rounder
    2. Marshall, Suns’ 2013 1st-rounder, Lakers’ 2013 1st-rounder
    3. Dudley, Marshall, 1st-rounder
    4. Gortat, Marshall, Dudley, PHX #1, LAL#1 (ridiculous)

    They really want Gortat or Marshall, preferably both. I think Gortat should be nearly untouchable here, because PHX hasn’t had a real rebounder since Sir Charles. Not sure what I’d offer: maybe Marshall and 2 1st-rounders?

  • JD

    If NO doesn’t want to deal, Gordon should just sign the qualifying offer for 2012 and then sign with the Suns as a UFA in 2013. Suns don’t give up anything in 2012 and Gordon becomes unrestricted.

    Then without Gordon in 2012, the Suns can develop their young players and possibly find themselves with another lottery pick. In 2013, they’ll draft a quality player in the lottery, draft a solid role player with their second 1st rounder, and sign Gordon. A little patience and the Suns will be better off in the long term.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    No way Gortat. Suns fans, close your eyes for a moment and picture teams driving the lane and getting thirty points a game against the Suns without a center.

    Maybe a package of Marshall, Lopez and a number one pick may get the job done.

  • Sean

    JD, that’s interesting. If NOLA says they’ll match an PHX offer and they won’t trade Gordon, then is the choice Gordon’t as to whether he signs a 1-year qualifying offer, or “match” the 4-year deal Phoenix has proposed? If PHX could look ahead to signing Gordon next year in that scenario, that involves risk for PHX but it also gives us more leverage.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Yea, you can wait until next year and possibly get a Harden or a Gordon if he does a one year in N.O.

    The problem is, you never know. If you can pull the trigger on a deal now, you do it.

    Look at Mark Cuban in Dallas. He cleared all of the cap space and he is unable to sign any good players.

    When is the best time to get a player like a Gordon? When the opportunity presents itself. Tomorrow may never come. You snooze. You lose!

  • Ty-Sun

    I really don’t want to give up Marshall but with Dragic back I could deal with him being included in the trade. Gortat, no freaking way. Lopez, maybe if that’s possible as he’s a RFA. But if NO is determined to play hardball then I hope Gordon will be willing to stay the year in NO and become a true FA next season so he can tell the Hornets to kiss his ass as he signs a FA contract with Phoenix and they get NOTHING in return.

  • Sean

    Yeah, that’s a risky scenario for NOLA. Now seems like the best time for them to sign-n-trade Gordon. I’d be cool with Lopez, Marshall, and a 1st (preferably the Laker’s 1st).

  • Elviro (Italy)

    I am very happy with how things are going:
    we took Beasley!
    we re-took Dragic!
    We could take Gordon!
    A new young and athletic team! is what we want!
    A big thank to old glories, but it is time to look beyond (The same argument has been doing my soccer team in Italy [inter])!

    Gordon is fine but if NO does not push the offer, but if you would exchange with Gortat and Marshall would say absolutely not!

    We lose a center that has a double-double almost every game and we lose a promising point guard …

    At this point it would be better to wait, taking Brown and Redd to get something good in the future with space under the salary cup!

    I would not let go Gortat and Marshall, they must be an integral part of our future!

    I would not like the departure of Marshall will turn into a regret as happened to Nash!

  • Ty-Sun

    The problem is that if Gordon goes ahead and signs the contract offer by Phoenix and NO does match it, then they cannot make any trade with Phoenix involving Gordon afterward. In this case, if Gordon really wants to come to Phoenix his best bet is to NOT sign the Suns offer sheet and just press NO to trade him to the Suns.

  • cha cha cha

    i doubt the Hornets FO wants Marshall because then they’d have 3 (his, Davis’, and Rivers’) rookie contracts up at the same time. if all 3 turn out to be studs and are extended, they—as a small-market team—wouldn’t have much money for anybody else. if their FO wants anything other than picks and expiring contracts, i’d be surprised.

  • bk

    There is no point to get Gordon for an arm and a leg. Suns is not in a win-now mode this year.

  • Mel.

    Lloyd, I just imagine going back to the days of Fropez being our only legitimate Five (particularly in that brief, agonizing stint after he had back surgery) and it’s enough to make me want to reach for a couple antacid.

    Gortat should be untouchable. Love Dudz, still have faith in Robin, but they’re both comparatively low-impact losses, compared to what we’d be left with if Marcin got traded.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    bk -

    If the Suns get Gordon, they will be in a “win-now mode this year.”

  • Tony

    Am I the only one put off by Gordon’s comments reagrding the Hornets? I mean, I understand that apparently he doesn’t want to play for them, but to be so public about it is disrespectful to the Hornets franchise and their new owner.

    Let’s not forget that it’s not as if Gordon is Dwight Howard or Kevin Durant, this is a guy who has missed a ton of time due to injuries, his fg% is only 45%, and he can’t play a lick of defense. So, do we really want a player, whom based on his play shouldn’t qualify as a max-player, and is showing his inmaturity through his statements about the Hornets and subsequently overpay him? If Gordon was so disgusted with playing for NO, he could have simply refused to sign any extension with the Suns or Hornets and played out his final year with the Hornets and then sign elsewhere. Although this option is understandably not wise for him from a business standpoint, as he would then be risking getting hurt or having a poor season and getting inferior offers next season, his desire for more money is clearly greater than his disdain with playing for the Hornets.

  • Scott

    I’d like to find a solution that doesn’t involve dealing real assets to get Gordon.

    If that can’t be done, then find another FA SG.

    If the plan is to wait a year – and if that can be done – then see if it is possible to sign someone to a one-year contract, like Redd to the $3 MLE.

  • Ty-Sun

    Gordon never wanted to be traded to the Hornets. He doesn’t want to be there now. Yes he could just remain silent and play there until he becomes an unrestricted FA but he has chosen to speak out to try and force a trade. Is it immaturity or assertiveness? Yes he’s not a superstar player but he’s still damn good and can fill up the basket.

    Nash was always a defensive liability but he still was a two time MVP. Gordon certainly isn’t Nash or even close but I think he’s worth a four year max contract deal at this point even with his injury history… or the Suns could just play it safe and count on Dudley or Childress to suddenly blossom into the scoring machine that Gordon already is.

  • cha cha cha

    yeah, he was really upset about the Chris Paul trade. iirc, he was a bus with the rest of the Clippers and their dance team going to do some promotional event when he found out. and for most of the time that trade was swirling around, it was Eric Bledsoe’s name that kept getting included, not his. i remember thinking that a Paul-Gordon-Butler-Griffin-Jordan lineup sounded like a legit headache.

  • Ty-Sun

    Yeah, the Suns could take a chance and withdraw their offer to Gordon and go after someone else like Mayo but Memphis started Tony Allen ahead of Mayo and Allen’s PER was just 15.7. So far Mayo hasn’t lived up to his potential Gordon has proved that he can be a scoring machine in the NBA even if he is a defensive liability. After Gordon and Mayo there are a few SG’s worth taking a look at but few I would like the Suns to make any kind of long term commitment to.

  • joey

    hornets would be unwise to keep gordon. all it takes is one bad attitude to destroy a team, especially if it’s your best player not wanting to be there. trade should be childress, telfair, 1st round, and second round pick. that’s the best the hornets will get. gortat and marshall aren’t going anywhere, unless dwight howard is involved. Suns are definitely on the rise again with 3 potential young allstars. i still would like them to get o.j. mayo. he’d be a great sixth man.

  • joey

    suns starting 5 next year of dragic, gordon, beasley, morris, gortat looks very promising. plus a bench of marshall( mayo, brown, or redd at sg) dudley, frye and lopez is very solid. i’ m definitely incouraged by the moves thus far by the gm. got to shed childress and warricks contracts somehow. that will give us about 11mil next offseason to geet another solid free agent.

  • Luke

    y not just trade frye , dudley and 1 frist round pick

  • Chris

    Silly Suns fans, you’ll either pay dearly in an s&t for Erica “glass knees” Gordon, or he’ll be singing a mighty different tune when the Hornets inevitably match on July 11th. I’m surprised YOU guys even want him with how he has acted like a petulant child through this whole process. What REALLY scares me is that this guy is so dumb he apparently doesn’t even understand how contract negotiation works. Erica is playing a game of poker with all of his cards showing. Hahaha

  • kj

    stupid suns fans u think we want telfair, dudley are warrick yeah f’n right we dont want we want gorat, marshall and ur 1st round draft pick. if u think EG would sign the QO u are crazy he’s a walking injury too much risk on his end not the hornets.

  • Chris

    Haha ya, we are gonna take telfair and Dudley, in your dreams. We’ll take Gortat and Marshall and that’s the ONLY way it’s goin down :)