PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns finally got that offer sheet signed by New Orleans restricted free agent Eric Gordon, the team announced today.
The Hornets will have three days to match the four-year, $58 million offer, something that ESPN’s Ric Bucher said they would do. The news came in a few hours after Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said there were “no meaningful discussions” regarding a sign-and-trade for the 6-foot-3 guard prior to the offer sheet being signed.
“They didn’t really want to engage in those discussions,” said Babby, who held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Steve Nash trade to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Babby didn’t hint at knowing whether the Hornets would match the offer.
“We’ll see what they do,” he said. “We’re a pretty carefully prepared bunch … and we just have to play it out. We know the risks associated with it and have our plans mapped out accordingly to hopefully getting Eric.
“If they for some reason decide to match despite his desires to be here, then we will be ready to move in that direction,” Babby added. “There’s certainly a disadvantage to having your money tied up, but those are the rules.”
At the earlier presser, Babby expressed his pleasure with the recruitment of Gordon. Whether New Orleans matches or not, the signed offer sheet will undoubtedly be used as proof that the Suns’ front office can recruit free agents to the desert.
And in what is the first regularly-scheduled offseason with Babby and general manager Lance Blanks running the show, the recruiting pitch to Gordon — perhaps the second-best free agent target behind Deron Williams — can be viewed as a positive sign.
“At the time Lance and I have been here, we have done everything we can to enhance those things that make this a player-friendly environment,” Babby said. “We were just champing at the bit to present our case to free agents. Eric Gordon was really the first one who came in.
Added Babby: “We made our recruiting pitch, we presented who were were as an organization, we introduced him to Robert (Sarver), we introduced him to our staff, our entire organization rallied around the entire effort. They met him on the street, we delivered materials to him, but most importantly, he got the sense how badly he was wanted here. He left wanting to be here, and expressing that his heart was in Phoenix, I think was the phrase he used.”
Of course, the success will be significantly better for Phoenix if Eric Gordon is walking through those US Airways Center doors in the coming week.