Suns fans, you might not want to click this link to Lakers.com if you just ate.
While the Suns and Eric Gordon waited to make his max offer sheet official, the Lakers wasted no time announcing their acquisition of Steve Nash.
Nash is now officially a Laker after the teams completed a trade that will net the Suns two first-rounders, two second-rounders and $3.1 million.
“He’s probably the most unselfish player in the NBA and one of the top assist players in the history of the game,” Pau Gasol said in the Lakers.com story. “Any player would be excited to play with Steve. He makes things so much easier for everyone else on the team. It’s very good news, and a very good time for a lot of Lakers fans.”
The rest of the Suns’ moves will have to wait until Wednesday, as NBA.com’s David Aldridge reported.
Will have to wait until morning to see if Hornets match Suns’ offer sheet for Eric Gordon. Sheet won’t be officially delivered until then.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 11, 2012
I’m not sure whether that means the offer sheet has been officially signed and is in effect, just the Hornets have yet to receive it, or if it is not yet binding because it has not yet been delivered.
Once it is signed, the Hornets will have 72 hours to match and a sign-and-trade will no longer be possible. If they do match, New Orleans will not be able to trade Gordon to the Suns for one year and we will all need to move on to another topic of conversation as The Times Picayune in New Orleans reported the Hornets will in fact match the offer.
The Suns will need to renounce all their free agents, including restricted free agent Robin Lopez, and clear an additional $2 million in salary just to have enough cap space to sign Gordon with his $13,668,750 first-year salary if that report is false.
However, Paul Coro reported that the Suns are not expected to sign Goran Dragic or Michael Beasley until the Gordon situation is resolved so they will only need to cut that salary if he becomes a Sun. With their salaries not on the books, the Suns can keep Lopez and his $7.2 million cap hold around as well.
If there is a straight signing of Gordon, however unlikely that seems at this point, the Suns would need to amnesty Josh Childress or Hakim Warrick. If the Suns don’t sign Gordon, they will likely save the amnesty clause for next year because they would then still have $11 million-plus to spend on free agents.
According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, their first call if they don’t get Gordon will go to O.J. Mayo, a player who has been linked to Indiana recently.
If Hornets match PHX offer sheet to Eric Gordon, as they’ve vowed, desert sources say this is definite: OJ Mayo will be courted hard by Suns
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 11, 2012
Mayo would be a good fit roster-wise, but I feel the Suns really need to save cap space for a max-impact kind of player. As much as I like Mayo, that he is not.
With Warrick coming off the books next season and Childress an amnesty possibility, the Suns could be contenders for that max contract star next summer by preserving most of the remaining salary space they would be spending on Gordon. If they sign Mayo for say three years and $18-21 million, they are basically locked into an exciting young team with no discernible stars and thus no elite upside.
I would much prefer a likely lottery season to add another impact player with that cap space next summer.
But really, I would prefer Gordon because it’s not every day you get a 23-year-old star dangling on the line.
All indications appear he is headed back to New Orleans, but until they match that offer there’s still hope that he can be the Suns’ next cornerstone player.