How the Ryan Anderson trade could impact Eric Gordon

It surely seemed odd that the New Orleans Hornets agreed to a sign-and-trade deal to acquire Ryan Anderson, parting with quality young big Gustavo Ayon in the process, when the Hornets could have just as easily renounced all their non-Eric Gordon free agents and signed the restricted free agent outright.

That’s especially the case because, according to Marc Stein, the teams agreed on the deal after the Magic decided they “would not want to match” Anderson’s four-year contract worth between $34-36 million.

Stein reported that the Anderson trade “is not expected to preclude the Hornets from matching” Gordon’s  $58 million offer sheet, which is true in that the Anderson deal does not in any way, shape or form prevent the Hornets from matching from a cap perspective.

However, as I discovered through a late-night conversation with Dr. Jason Calmes from Hornets247, it very well could be a prelude to a Gordon deal.

Calmes estimates that Anderson will receive a first-year salary around $8 million, which will put the Hornets’ books at $44 million of committed salary when factoring in eventual rookie contracts and cap charges and the loss of Ayon’s $1.5 million cap hit.

The Hornets currently possess large cap holds on Chris Kaman, Carl Landry and Marco Belinelli that put them over the cap.

If they could execute all their deals via trade exceptions (which are only eligible to teams over the cap), they would still have access to the full mid-level exception, whereas otherwise they would only be able to use the $2.575 room mid-level that the Suns will possess because they had to use cap space to sign free agents.

Because the trade exception would need to cover the entirety of Anderson’s approximate $8 million salary, the Hornets can stay cap legal so long as they take back no more than $5.7 million from the Suns (assuming Gordon’s deal starts at about $13.7 million).

If this is really what the Hornets are thinking, that would preclude Marcin Gortat from any deal since he will make $7.3 million next season (at least without the Suns receiving another player or two). However, Jared Dudley would be a perfect fit with his $4.25 million cap number. Robin Lopez would work if the Hornets paid him in this range, which presumably they would, although in that case the Suns would need to amnesty someone or include additional salary. One would think draft picks would be involved in the negotiations as well.

After Calmes gave me a better understanding of how the Suns’ free agent contracts will likely be structured (I have since updated this information in Saturday’s Suns cap breakdown), I realized that if my math is right the Suns will likely have to send out at least about $2 million in any Gordon trade to make it kosher with the salary cap, which precludes trading only Marshall.

Because the Hornets likely wouldn’t want Childress, Warrick or Frye (or really Morris after obtaining Anderson), Dudley seems to be the most obvious candidate to be a deal centerpiece. Of course, both sides could include additional players to sweeten the deal so it’s not like Dudley is the only player who would work, just saying his salary would make this work cap-wise for both teams without further maneuvering.

By using trade exceptions rather than cap room, the Hornets would retain the full MLE as well as the Bird Rights to players like Kaman and Landry, which otherwise would need to be renounced to make room for a Anderson signing and Gordon’s cap hold.

We will not know until July 11 whether this is the reason behind the Anderson sign-and-trade, but it really makes sense.

As Calmes pointed out, this would essentially be a three-way deal for New Orleans in which the Hornets would receive Anderson and whatever the Suns offer (say Dudley and two picks) for Gordon and Ayon. Not a terrible haul for a player who doesn’t want to be there anyway.

With Orlando’s cap a mess and with the organization saying it did not plan on matching Anderson, it seems puzzling why the Hornets would burn an affordable and quality young player like Ayon otherwise.

And 1

Since “raised are limited to a percentage of the first-year salary” and teams can only offer other teams’ free agents 4.5 percent raises, it’s likely that the Suns are starting Dragic at about $7 million and Beasley at around $5.74 million.

Tags: Eric Gordon Ryan Anderson

  • shazam

    michael does this mean we may get Ayon as well?..i know nothing about him…is he any good?

  • shazam

    never mind i just read it again..i get it now

  • Tony

    Michael, are you suggesting that the Hornets would accept a deal of sending Gordon to the Suns with their only compensation being Dudley and two 1st round picks? Surely they would find a better deal than that elsewhere….

  • Scott

    Good grief … I don’t see why there’s this continued interest in being so generous in trade. I don’t see where this trade merits it.

    Naturally, NO fans still want to trade a small for a big … which is unlikely.

    If any sign-and-trade occurs, it ought to only be for minimal considerations, such as passing along a lesser player (and the Suns have no one the Hornets would like, except maybe Warrick as an expiring) or maybe a lottery protected pick or two.

    IIRC, when LeBron left the Cavs, they did a sign-and-trade that netted the Cavs 2 picks. Two picks for LeBron (!), and yet NO wants Gortat and Dudley plus unprotected picks and so on for Gordon, even as they themselves give last year’s walk-on – Ayon – up for Anderson … who is a taller and better rated player than Gordon, and who has no injury history.

    What’s wrong with this picture?!?

  • Majestic One

    Suns should tell Gordon to sign his rookie qualifying offer and dump the offer sheet. That removes the offers mega cap hold and puts the Suns in the driver seat over the Hornets in S&T negotiations.

    Why the Suns want to put themselves in a position where Hornets can match is a mystery.

  • Chris

    I don’t think the Hornets will get as much as they want, but they won’t let Gordon walk for table scraps. I also agree that the Hornets won’t get Gortat. That said, I would be surprised if the Hornets don’t get Marshall and 1-2 first round picks.

  • Serek

    The Suns will likely have to send out at least about $1.3 million? Then Telfair would be enough :)
    I’d hate to give JD or Robin away.

    Care to remind me how the Lopez vs throng of SFs can evolve? I believe we’d have to trade/amnesty Chilly/Hakim to make room for Robin?

  • bk

    If Hornets spends $36/4 years on Ryan Anderson, I believe they also agree to spend $58/4 years on Eric Gordon. Good news that they will match Gordon.

  • Oppermann

    Michael . . .I´m a huge long time Suns fan, I leave in Brazil (city of Manaus / Amazonas State) and read VOTS everyday single day, this is the first time I´m writing here, forgive my english mistakes.

    I follow the suns for a long time, before Barkley came, but only now with the VOTS I started to really try to understand and follow free agency, cap space, etc…

    I think we should offer (Warrik or Childress or Tellfair) + 2 picks . . . and that´s it

    If they don´t agree, sign the offer and leave them with the problem . . . (I think Gordon won´t wait one year to be free-agent, since his injuries history)

    The worst that could happen is to sign some one-year contracts and be strong again next free-agency.

  • Oppermann

    One more thing,

    I watched one Barbosa interview here with our national team training for the Olympics, and he said he was really tense about his future.

    Is he to expensive or could we sign him again ?

  • Scott

    @Opperman -

    I think any team picking Leandro will be paying him less this next year.

    I don’t know if there’s room for him, but I always thought he’d enjoy playing in Miami, even before LeBron moved there.

  • cha cha cha

    my mind can’t help but wonder if D’Antoni was still in NY whether Barbosa, Diaw, or Raja would’ve gone there (especially if Nash ended up there).

  • Rufus Dawg

    You guys aren’t getting Gordon, sorry bros

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Dudley and a couple of number ones is not enough for Gordon – although I hope that N.O. would make such a deal.

    Warrick, Childress and Telfair? Most teams wouldn’t even want these guys for free – although Telfair would be an O.K. backup for Dragic if the Suns have to include Marshall in a deal.

    The questions about Gordon being worth it….besides watching him play folks can google the scouting reports on him. He comes highly touted by the scouts and those in the know.

    If the Suns really want to hit a grand slam in their rebuilding process you have to get either Gordon or Harden next year. They need to go for the first available, which is Gordon as next year is a long ways off.

    Games are won with great talent and players like Gordon and Harden are worth over paying for rather than settling for less.

  • steve

    @Lloyd & Tony

    I know NO is going to WANT more than Dudley and two picks, but they aren’t getting any better than that from another suitor. If there were three or four teams in the conversation for Gordon right now, I’d agree that Dudley and two picks wouldn’t be enough to land him. At this point though, the only decision NO has to make is whether or not they want to accept table scraps for a player who doesn’t want to be there.

    My feeling is that they don’t want to accept those table scraps, but I feel FAR less confident in that assumption than either of you seem to be.

  • Scott

    @Lloyd -

    Keep in mind that Gordon has said he wants out. From what I’ve seen, that normally makes a huge difference.

    You can argue that there was a huge amount of value shipped out in the Carmelo trade, to Denver, but that was a mid-season trade, it was amazingly excessive, and it was a trade involving NY, the team that thought it was wonderful to hire Isiah Thomas as GM, and even bring him back as an advisor after he’d completely ruined the team.

    Wasn’t NY not long ago actually paying $120m a year in payroll and luxury tax?

    That’s not the sort of trade the Suns should seek to emulate.

    As for the value of Warrick, Childress, and Telfair … Childress is not playing in the right system. He could do well for another team, and he’d do tons better on the Suns if he was used properly (i.e., paired with a ballhog guard).

    Warrick is playing out of position; I have no idea why he’s not been transitioned formally to SF (except, of course, for the huge logjam at SF the last few years). Suns stats from this year, presented on VotS, indicated Warrick was great when played alongside Morris, which means that he was either at SF or PF on a small ball lineup.

    So those two guys look bad, but it’s substantially the coach’s fault, and to a fair extent the front office’s fault. Some fans and some posters on VotS believe Gentry is a genius who does everything uniformly well, but I see significant holes, especially with his roster management and his 2nd teams.

    Telfair … he had a great game against Chris Paul. If his defensive ability came out primarily this year, along with his 3 pt shooting ability, I don’t know what he’s been offering teams before now. But if he can keep up his performance from the end of last season, he could be a credible backup PG for any team.

    I would prefer to keep Dudley for now, if possible, because the way the roster is shaping up, he’s likely to end up a team captain.

    I’m having a hard time figuring out where else the on-court leadership is going to come from. Gortat?

    Ideally it would come from Dragic, but we’ll see. McHale might have given Dragic a form of support he did not get from Gentry.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Scott –

    Good comments. I do think that Gentry is a very good coach and deserves to be re-upped.

    Unlike the stubborn D’Antoni, Gentry has hired someone to coach defense and he will use his bench if he has one. Gentry has retained the “run and gun” style which the Phoenix fans love.

    D’Antoni is a good coach, but his stubborness cost him his Suns job.

    Also, Gentry is a class act!

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Last add Gentry -

    If a player is not going all out, Gentry will sit him down. The players all like him, but, he is not a suck-up.

  • Scott

    FWIW. I’m watching some Summer League on NBA TV.

    O’Quinn and Nicholson (for Orlando) are eating Brooklyn up, despite a bit of NBA talent on the Brooklyn squad.

    (As I ceaselessly mentioned during the lead-up to the draft, O’Quinn was likely to be a good 2nd round pick: a high-IQ PF with a long wingspan and 3 pt shooting range. Quality in the draft can be spotted, even using just Draft Express.)

    MarShon Brooks, playing for Brooklyn, is stinking it up. Maybe he needs to play against a Suns defender. :p

  • jeremy

    giving up, Lopez, marshall, dudly, and picks just for gordon would be dumb. Why are we even considering trading players we just drafted. we would be in the same boat we have been in, which was seeing potential suns players(rondo, deng, thabo, iggy and so forth) thrive some where else while we are not infused with new talent.

    To me gordon is not all of that, and giving up our starting to be strength of size(lopez, with gortat, morris and fyre), defense(dudly), future(marshall) to be short sighted is insane.

  • Kevin

    I’d rather not include Marshall in ANY deal! Keep Marshall and re-sign Shannon Brown as the SG, go after James Harden next year!

  • Scott

    Now watching Celtics vs OKC, and PJ3 is clearly the best player on the floor. Sullinger is next, but there’s a clear gap between the two.

    In the previous game, Brooklyn vs Orlando, Tyshawn Taylor was the best player IMO for Brooklyn.

  • cha cha cha

    thanks for the heads-up, Scott. i’m going to watch the games later, but spoilers are appreciated since i may only get to watch one re-play today.

  • Tim from British Columbia

    I would not like to see Dudley go in the trade as he is a much improved player and is part of the heart and soul of the Suns. He shows so much enthusiasm and energy in his game they would be crazy to trade him. While I like Lopez, he is inconsistend andI think he could go and possibly do better with a new team. I hope Gordon comes as he will add to back court. I also like Telfair though as think he is a capable back up PG

  • Scott

    Okay … Celtics – OKC game ending now, and the notable update is that PJ3 faded out in the 2nd half, and Sullinger came on.

    Honorable mention to E’Twaun Moore, a 2nd round pick from last year I projected could possibly do well based on his Draft Express scouting report. And Kris Joseph got the nod from Dennis Scott, the color commentator.

  • Diego para Oppermann

    E aí, Oppermann. Quer dizer que você é um grande fã do Phoenix Suns morando em Manaus-AM? Eu também, pô! Difícil encontrar alguém que goste de NBA e principalmente que seja torcedor do Suns nessa cidade. Vamos juntar forças! =) Qualquer coisa, se quiser contactar, meu e-mail é Abraço!

  • Mike L

    I’m telling you all … there is a reason why Coro and the Suns news is so quiet …

  • Jason A.

    I think they have OJ Mayo all teed up and ready to go for when Nola matches on Gordon. There’s no sign and trade. After all the SGs signing for what they’re signing for, we could probably get Mayo for 3/$21 mil and keep salary cap space. Gordon’s max deal doesn’t look like such a good deal anymore.

  • Ty-Sun

    NO isn’t going to let Gordon go for nothing but I really don’t think he’s part of their long-term plan anymore either. If NO wants too much for him, the Suns should just walk away. I wouldn’t be surprised if they move him some time during the season before the trade deadline if Rivers works out and someone makes them the right offer. I’d rather just pass on Gordon instead of giving too much up to get him… which is what I think it would take to pry him away from NO right now.

  • JD

    The Suns FO did a great job recruiting Gordon and making him want to come to Phx. However, I don’t want the Suns to act like a customer dying to buy a new car and let the other side negotiate their pants off. Gordon is a player to be appreciated but he is not LeBron or Durant. The Suns need to keep their roster as much intact as possible to maintain future flexibility and continue rebuilding. If NO matches, the Suns should walk away.

  • Ash

    I would rather give Mayo 1 year, $11m than a 3/4 year at 6/7m per. Suns need to be active in 2013 if they can’t work something out with Gordon.

  • cha cha cha

    $11million for Mayo? he didn’t start a single game last year for Memphis.

  • joey

    offer lopez, warrick or telfair and two picks. that’s it! if they refuse then walk away and sign mayo. Also sign ilyasova if possible and bring back redd for veteran minimum. there’s no way they should trade marshall! it would be a huge mistake. i see him as a future allstar. also need to trade childress for anything, idk even for 2 jack in the box tacos would be a

  • Ash

    Yes, $9-11m for Mayo, you have to overpay if you want to get a young guy on a 1 year deal.

  • joey

    offer lopez, warrick or telfair and two picks. that’s it! if they refuse then walk away and sign mayo. Also sign ilyasova if possible and bring back redd for veteran minimum. there’s no way they should trade marshall! it would be a huge mistake. i see him as a future allstar. also need to trade childress for anything, idk even for 2 jack in the box tacos at this cuz them are tasty right fellas? If we can’t dump childress on someone then amnesty him. that’s 6.5mil going to waste that we could use badly. I’m telling you guys, mayo, ilyasova and redd should be our targets if gordon is too pricey.

  • Tony


    I would agree with you if the Suns were the only team willing to offer Gordon a max-contract, but we don’t know this to be the case. Once Gordon committed to signing the Suns offer, he was precluded from accepting any other offer and there were other teams purportedly going to offer him a max-deal.

    NO has all the leverage with Gordon. He can complain all he wants about playing for the Hornets, but unless he’s willing to sign his qualifying offer and play one more year with the Hornets before becoming an unrestricted free agent, the Hornets are in control.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Are the Suns interested in Mayo?

  • cha cha cha

    Ilyasova’s re-signing with the Bucks 5 yrs/$45mil

  • Ty-Sun

    If the Suns were to sign Mayo, I’d prefer them to do a large one-year contract that basically says, “Show us you are worth it and THEN we’ll talk multi-year contract.” I doubt Redd will return to Phoenix for a simple 1 year veterans minimum contract. He could get that with any team and if he’s going to work for the minimum, there are a lot of other teams that are more attractive than the Suns next season. At this point, I don’t think that a 2 yr, $4 to 5 mil deal (only partially guaranteed the 2nd year) should be out of the question… depending of course on how the whole EG drama finally plays out.

  • steve


    The amnesty clause doesn’t get the Suns off the hook for that $6.5M. The only real purpose I can see in using the amnesty clause is if it’s going to save you from tax and/or make your team a contender. That extra $6.5M isn’t going to bring Dwight Howard to PHX, so I’m not sure that using the amnesty clause on Childress would do any real good for the Suns.

  • Ty-Sun

    I don’t think that NO really wants Gordon but of course they want to make a trade that helps them out the most. And I also don’t think that the Suns have the players/assets to get Gordon away from NO in a S&T unless the Suns are willing to give up way too much for him. Best to forget Gordon and move on.

  • cha cha cha

    i’d rather the FO trade one of those four 1st round picks for DeRozan than overpay for one year of Mayo. DeRozan will make under $4mil this year and is an RFA at the end of next season, so if it works re-sign him; if it doesn’t, let him walk. Toronto drafted one SG and offered another (Landry Fields) a bunch of money.

  • joey

    it does give them 6.5mil in cap space though. which we could use on someone better.

  • steve

    Right, but for what purpose? Essentially, you’d be paying the player who fills that void their salary + $6.5M just for them being there.

    Let’s just say the Suns get OJ Mayo for $7M per, and they had to amnesty Childress to do so. They’d be paying $13.5M for OJ Mayo. What type of benefits do you think OJ Mayo is going to provide the franchise over Childress? Is it $6.5M worth?

    If you believe so, make the move. But it would take a pretty significant improvement to make up $6.5M in value.

    That’s all I’m saying. I’d be glad to have Chilly in another uniform (where someone will actually use his skills) and have another player fill his shoes that will fit in with the Suns, but it’s not so simple as amnesty and sign someone else. It has to be the right someone else. Get it wrong again, and you’re paying double for equally bad results.

    • Michael Schwartz

      Well, really it comes down to opportunity cost, which is pretty much what you articulate Steve. And it’s not just this year, it’s the next three years of course with Chilly. Is it worth it to pay Childress $21 million not to play and then pay someone else in addition?

      Really we won’t know the answer until the Gordon situation shakes out. If New Orleans matches, there’s no way the Suns would need to use the amnesty clause this year. If they get Gordon, it could come down to Lopez and a mediocre two or Childress. If the Suns do end up shipping out Dudley, all of a sudden Childress is your only wing off the bench under contract (and that’s counting Beasley as a three).

  • joey

    oj mayo is 15ppg and probably more as a six man for the suns. childress is what 6-7ppg. pretty big improvement if you ask me. i understand how the finances work.

  • Bill_Thomas

    Gordon should sign last year contract then dump NOLA. We owe them nothing. Bring back Redd and Brown on 1-2 year contracts or court lee for a three year.

  • Bill_Thomas

    They should offer Childress and either Warrick or Telfair and NOLA’s choice of one single round 1 pick. Take it or leave it, then walk. Or omit Childress.

    No Marshall, No Gortat, No Lopez, No Dudley !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Evan

    Dudley and 2 picks?

    try Warrick, Childress and Lopez/fry (honnestly could go with either one) we need to cut the fat on this team and get new people, they are clearly our worse players who are just good enough to demand some playing time)

    Dudly is a solid player who hussles, shoots well, plays good D and even gets put backs (not sure how) they should not give him up,

    picks are the future I am sick of starver selling our picks.

  • Scott

    @Evan -

    Sarver hasn’t been selling many picks. He doesn’t call for them to be bought or sold; it’s the GMs who do that, based on coaching and scouting advice. And the Suns’ GMs have bought about as many as they’ve sold.

    The thing is that they keep *trading* away picks like they were nothing, they don’t try very hard to make 2nd round picks count, and the don’t try to buy enough picks, esp in the 2nd round.

    Also, often the Suns’ scouting and decision making seems way off-kilter. Like when they traded down in the 2004 draft to avoid taking Deng, Iguodala, or Josh Smith, in order to take Jackson Vroman in the 2nd round. (That was D’Antoni’s decision.)

    Or like when they drafted Earl Clark and Taylor Griffin. (Those were Kerr’s picks.) I wanted Taj Gibson, James Johnson, or Chase Budinger for the first pick, and Patty Mills for the 2nd.

    The sad thing is it seems easy to pick better than the Suns, even without leaving the house.