Suns miss out on Eric Gordon, turn eyes to O.J. Mayo


It comes as no surprise, but the New Orleans Hornets have matched the Suns’ $58 million offer to Eric Gordon. ESPN’s Marc Stein was the first to break the news.

While many in Phoenix were hopeful that the Hornets might let Gordon walk, New Orleans was adamant from the outset that it intended to match any offer Gordon received. The Hornets also rebuffed the idea of a sign-and-trade from the Suns.

“While we are disappointed that Eric will not be a Sun at this time, we have no regrets in doing all that we could under the rules to bring him to Phoenix,” Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said in a statement. “Once Eric passes his physical in New Orleans, our full cap room will be restored and we will move forward in free agency.  In the meantime, we are on track to pursue our plans.”

This announcement is disappointing for the Suns, who were looking to land Gordon as both a 20-plus point per game scorer and the de facto “face of the franchise” in the wake of Steve Nash’s departure to Los Angeles. This news is also disappointing for Gordon himself as he has expressed publicly many times that his unqualified desire was to play in Phoenix.

However, Gordon predictably took back much of that venom today in a statement released by the team.

“There is always a business element to the NBA when dealing with contracts, but I never lost my appreciation for the New Orleans fans,” Gordon said. “I look forward to giving my very best on the court this season to make our team successful.”

The Hornets followed up on their commitment to keep Gordon, and clearly new owner Tom Benson wants the team to win now. The Hornets’ roster still needs some work in my opinion. Gordon is a talented scorer, but pairing him with Austin Rivers does not a great backcourt make. In the same way, Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson seem like an odd frontcourt pairing as neither is a true center. But I’ll let the guys at Hornets247 extol the virtue, or lack their of, of the Hornets’ roster. Back to Phoenix.

With Gordon out of the picture, the Suns will turn their eyes to O.J. Mayo. The 24 year-old shooting guard visited the team yesterday, and it’s likely his phone (or his agent’s phone) will be ringing again today. To ask whether or not Mayo is the best guy for the Suns to pursue is to miss the point a little bit. Phoenix needs an experienced shooting guard and the market for those is drying up quickly.

Jerryd Bayless was a possible target, but he signed with the Grizzlies. Another option is Courtney Lee, but I personally like Mayo a great deal more. O.J. seems to me like a player who needs a change of scenery after playing four seasons in Memphis. Mayo averaged 18 points per game while starting every game but one in the first two years of his career. He has started only 17 games since then and his scoring has dropped off considerably. It’s possible that Mayo was miscast as an off the bench scorer by Memphis. If Alvin Gentry gives Mayo a chance to start, he could be very productive as a Sun.

On other fronts, Phoenix will now be able to officially sign Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley to the contracts the two sides agreed upon. Both players agreed to wait until the Eric Gordon situation was settled before signing so the Suns could hang on to some other players like Robin Lopez and not have to make an amnesty move.

Now that Gordon won’t be joining the team, the Suns have about $11 million left in cap space. It is understood that the front office intends to spend that money on Mayo (or another FA shooting guard) and Lopez. Due to some financial rules, the Suns may have to renounce Lopez’s Bird rights before signing the shooting guard.

For now, the Suns can avoid using the amnesty clause on any of their players. However, if a promising free agent situation or trade were to present itself in the next week, the front office won’t hesitate to clear cap room by whatever means necessary. For Josh Childress, the end of the Eric Gordon saga means a sigh of relief, but by no means will this be the end of amnesty speculation surrounding him.

Though Phoenix didn’t acquire Gordon, its pursuit of him shows an initiative on the part of the front office that fans and media members must salute. The Suns took their shot at an instant reboot. Unfortunately for them they missed, but taking that shot is still significant. Now the front office must stay true to its word and preserve its cap space until another player like Gordon becomes available via free agency or trade.

What no one wants to happen is a repeat of the offseason after Amare’s departure when Childress, Hakim Warrick, and Channing Frye were signed to multi-year deals that seemed questionable at the time and potentially crippling now. Beasley and Dragic are good pieces, but the cap space must be preserved for a great player, not simply a collection of good ones. If the cap space is wasted, the next few seasons might go from the post-Nash era to the post-Nash hangover. No one wants that.

Tags: Eric Gordon Free Agency OJ Mayo Phoenix Suns

  • JC

    Anyone know how long we can expect Eric Gordon’s physical with NOLA to take? And the chances Phoenix still gets Mayo even with the Lakers, Mavs, and Bulls seemingly interested?

  • HankS

    @ JC:
    I’d say it depends on Mayo’s preferences… The Suns can probably offer more money and definitely a much greater role than any of those teams. OTOH, not as many wins and no rings at the foreseeable future. But the way the Suns are shaking up, young and financially flexible, I think he might want to be here.

  • Scott

    I think the Suns have an excellent shot at Mayo. Keep in mind … players want to play, and they want to start. That’s important.

    So since the money’s there, and probably the years and the starting spot, the chances are good the Suns land him.

    And if not … there are still other options.

  • Alex

    The bottom line is that without a marquee signing, the average fan will only come to games to see the big stars of the other teams. The Suns really need to go and get a star to put butts on seats.

  • http://blahblahblah tim

    haahahahahaha everybody servvvvvvvvvvvved TONY. that guy is a super dummy anyways so eff it. grant hill is dead and like the guy said after tony, nash was leaving anyways.. unless they swapped rosters with LA entirely. DRAGIC GET AT ME!!!!!

  • A-ROCK

    Hahaha Super Dummy! Tony is very good at reading Dr. Sues though lol

  • A-ROCK

    @Tony don’t come back if you can read this, go back to that other website you keep promoting (probably work there too)

  • A-ROCK

    Anyone like Akos Keller’s game?

  • KeZ

    Akos Keller got game. I wouldn´t be suprised if Phx signed him.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Keller is all types of awesome. I’ve seen him on tv a lot over here.

    His PnR IQ and footwork are both great and he has great touch facing up and he WILL dunk it on you if you give him a lane

  • cha cha cha

    wasn’t really into getting Scola, but maybe it’d be good for Dragic since they played together in Houston last year. same goes for Courtney Lee.

  • http://jtshoopsblog.blogspot.com JT’s Hoops Blog

    Man, that was already a foregone conclusion. What’s the real shocker is that the Knick may no longer have Jeremy Lin. They did a sign and trade deal for Ray Felton. Are they just going to let Lin walk?

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Well they can match Houston’s offer if they want. They could make it work in the short term if they wanted to keep Lin, but later on they’d have to trim salary.

  • cha cha cha

    if they match, they’ll have 4 pg’s in Lin, Kidd, Felton, and that dude from Argentina. i’m guessing they play a couple of them at sg, a la CP3/Billups or Rubio/Ridnour. also, they might sign Grant Hill; they would then have 4 of the 6 oldest players in the league.

  • frenchysunsfan

    Suns should offer Mayo 40 M$ over 4 years, sign Carl Landry and trade Warrick or Frye.

  • Greg

    @Alex, the Suns do need star-power, its very obvious the NBA is a star’s league in every aspect. Marketing, tickets, winnings, etc. However, I believe the Suns are doing best they can to whats available to them. I am usually a pessimist, but Dragic, Mayo, and Beasley all have that “star” potential, its just a matter of if one or two of them fulfill that potential. Not too many people outside of PHX like what the Suns are doing, personally I think a lot of people are going to be proven wrong in a year or two.

  • Die Hard Suns Fan

    4 years 40 million is over spending ,, maybe 4 years 32 million, i would like to sign mayo to 4 years for sure . leggo mayo

  • Scott

    Sometimes a team signs stars. Other times, the players on their roster turn into stars. That’s what happened with Amare and Marion, for example.

    Let these Suns go out there and win some games. They’ll become well-known.

  • Scott

    In other news … apparently after finding out he wouldn’t be backing up Lin but Raymond Felton instead, Jason Kidd began drinking and drove his Escalade off the road and into a telephone pole.

  • cha cha cha

    that’s cold… but very funny.

  • A-ROCK

    @scott your crazy if you think childress is starting on this team, get your head out of his lap. no way that happens.

  • Scott

    @A-ROCK -

    Where did I say that Childress was a preferred choice as a starter? I don’t even mention Childress on this page.

    All I can recall saying recently regarding Childress – aside from him being a primary trade candidate for a player with a bad contract – is that if necessary he could play SG for the 2nd unit and possibly get transition points playing with a passing PG who pushes the ball, like Kendall Marshall.

    If Childress WAS to start, it’s clear whoever plays with him – either at SG or SF – needs to be a volume scorer, so Josh’s efficient offense becomes a virtue rather than a liability.

  • Scott

    NBA TV just reported a strong rumor of a deal where Bynum goes to Cleveland and Howard goes to the Lakers.

  • A-ROCK

    @Scott I have my eye on you and you are very forgetfull, the previous article titled Breaking down the Phoenix Suns Summer League roster you said Childress is starting sf and you need to get out of town. the team you u put together of….. Dragic, Dudley, Childress, Beasley, Gortat. Is a D league team.

  • Tony

    @Tim,

    hahahahaha!! You’re a moron loser and i just served you! Oh let me use A-Rock’s analysis to back my points, your breath stinks! Yeah, now I got you ! When did Hill die loser? You think you’re funny disrespecting Grant Hill but all it does is show how disloyal and pathetic you are. Plus the immature nature of your posts, in conjunction with your childish posts makes me believe you and A-Crack are the same person.

    @A-Loser,

    don’t you have some junior high homework to do? Too much of that crack you smoke is warping your mind dumb ass!

  • Tony

    @Scott,

    don’t bother with A-Crack, he’s prob to high right now to know what even he said five minutes ago.

    @Jason,

    you must be delusional if you think that roster, including Mayo, will lead to 45 wins. Firstly, even if they had a much better roster, it takes time for so many new players on a roster to gel and develop chemistry. Even the Heat, with the best player in the NBA, needed some time to learn how to play with each other and start winning consistently. The Suns, in contrast, still have very limited talent, and have very little chemistry since they will have so many new players this season on the roster.

    Next, the NBA is a stars league and as of now, the team still doesn’t have a star player. If you think Dragic or Mayo is a star player, then you’re even more delusional than I thought. Teams without star talent simply are not contenders.

    Lastly, have you looked at Beasley and Mayo’s career statistics? I don’t know why you have such confidence in them as neither are efficient scorers, neither are good defensively, and neither are really team-oriented players. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over these last 8 years, it’s that being good teammates and having great team chemistry can overcome lack of talent to some degree.

  • joey

    we need to lock up mayo and pick up scola. scola can give up a post pf which we really need. plus he’s got a solid face up jumper. with scola, mayo, beasley, dragic, gortat we would have a playoff team. if dragic plays like he did a couple years ago against the spurs, then we could make the second round. we would have a very talented young team and exciting to watch. mayo and beasley are big upgrades over shannon brown and grant hill. hill is old and brown is inconsistent. now we have 2 guys who can score 25-30 on any night. we didn’t have that last year. plus scola can put up 20-10 on any night. gortat and dragic can score 20 also. not sayi.g they will average 20ppg, but the threat is there and it wasn’t last year. i think we’ll have to play more zone defense to make up for some poor individual defenders. but our offense will be fun to watch and lots of points will be scored. i think 45 wins in very possible with scola and mayo

  • Jason A.

    @Tony once again you make some good ponts but you’re missing part of the picture. If Mayo and Beasley don’t embrace the “team” concept then of course they won’t be successful here. My assumptions are based on the fact that they will embrace Suns basketball and play the right way. This will eliminate the poor shot selection these players showed in the past. I’m also assuming these players have been humbled recently (both relegated to the bench last year and both let go by their respective teams) and they’re open to change.

    If my assumptions are wrong, then we will win closer to 30 games and the signings will be regarded as failures. Rightfully so. But it’s not logical that they would come in here with attitude so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • Tony

    @Jason,

    I would agree with you if the team had strong veteran leadership, but they don’t. It’s very foreseeable that Beasley and Mayo will devolve into another Peitrus situation when he was a Sun. And that was even with Nash and Hill and the Suns were still a respectable team. Now, Beasley and possibly Mayo are joining a lottery team that plays a very free flowing undisciplined offensive system. How likely do you think either of those players will be disciplined enough to put the team ahead of themselves? I just don’t see it. With that being said, I might be completely wrong, only time will tell.

  • Tony

    There you go, nice pickup by the Suns FO in getting Scola. He’s an underrated player who has the veteran savy to help this Suns team. Scola will fit nicely.

  • cha cha cha

    excellent pick up considering he’s already put in court time with Dragic

  • AZDAM

    I think the Suns will put a better prodcut on the floor next year.

  • A-ROCK

    There will be a better product this year we just need the coach to be able to handle this product. He actually has to coach rather than have a coach on the floor in nash. Tony your always wrong. But scola is a good pick

  • Kenny

    wait, so we did pick up Scola? where’d that come from?

  • AZDAM

    Front page of HOOPSHYPE.COm and @Tony above. Thanks for the information.

  • cha cha cha

    ESPN/Marc Stein

  • sturmtank

    very nice pickup. not for rebuilding purposes, but for veteran leadership, low post scoring and improving markief. here’s my quote from friday:
    =====•
    from a starting 5 view, we need a SG and a PF. if we dont get gordon, get mayo.
    go get mayo for something like 7 per, pick up brand or scola (they get payed so maybe they join for 5 per) and whe have a pretty good team already. and still have 10 picks the next 3 years + amnesty clause.
    i’d prefer mayo + scola or brand for 14 than eg for 14.
    PG: dragon / marshall / telfair
    SG: mayo / dudley / (redd)
    SF: beasley / warrick / j- chill
    PF: scola or brand / morris / frye (if lopez signed)
    C: gortat / lopez (or frye if lopez not signed)
    who likes that team? … i would!!
    ========
    well done. to me only mayo left.
    what does that pickup means for frolo? first i thought frye might move to backup 5, but since they released j-chill i think they might resign lopez.
    i dont care as long as they dont pay to much!

  • phx suns fan in la

    Nice pickup ..hope we can get mayo too

  • cha cha cha

    i would Mayo getting for $7mil/year is a longshot, considering his qualifying offer from Memphis would have been $7.4 mil (not to mention the fact that LAL, Chicago, Boston, and Dallas are supposedly interested in him as well).

  • cha cha cha

    “i would think getting Mayo for…”

  • Mike L

    Wow, really surprised and excited to see Scola on this team. I’ve long been a fan of his and his grittiness signals that the Suns are serious about defense … between him and RoLo there is quite a nasty streak in those two that we could have on the floor. My biggest question, though, and the reason why I didn’t think we’d put in a bid is because of Frye. I like Frye and those are two quality PFs, but that’s a lot of money tied up in 2 PFs … even with HOU paying Scola, aren’t we on the hook for a lot of money??

    Still hoping we get Mayo. And a starting 5 of
    Dragic, Mayo, Gortat, Scola and Beasley IS a playoff team in my opinion.

    @cha cha cha … good call on the note about Scola and Dragic having played together. That could be ready-made pick-and-roll right there!

  • Mike L

    @sturmtank … J-Chill was amenstied before they picked up Scola

  • Tim from British Columbia

    Great to see the Suns get Scola. I always liked his hustle and touch around the basket. Now that it is “old home week” with Dragon coming (yeah!!!) why not get Leandro Barbossa back as he would be a good fit with his old team. I am not saying, “hold the Mayo” as I think he is a good player too but if not what about the Brazilian Blur??

  • http://none.com Russell

    It sounds like the Suns were reading my posts yesterday. They have picked up Scola. Now OJ Mayo is next.

  • Ty-Sun

    Hmmm… I can’t help but wonder if the Suns picked up Scola because they might think that Mayo might sign elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Scola and think he will be an asset to the Suns but I wonder if this isn’t plan-B we’re seeing. Or hopefully just a move to make the Suns more appealing to Mayo.

    Dragic, Mayo, Beasley, Scola and Gortat as the Suns’ starting 5? Not a world champion but definitely a playoff team, maybe even a 5th or 6th seed. Even if Mayo signs elsewhere I’d say that a Dragic, Dudley, Beasley, Scola and Gortat lineup could be a 7th or 8th seed playoff team.

  • chris

    suns got scola now nice we will have a good playoff run and the way the west is we could make it to the finals also suns are going to do good this season and in the future

  • cha cha cha

    if they can’t get Mayo, they might think about Courtney Lee, since Lee, Scola, and Dragic all started together in Houston for the last 2 months of the 11-12 season.

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com Andrew M

    sorry to of missed out on Gordon but getting Beasley and Dragic are to young important pieces to rebuilding the Suns to prominence along with Keef and Gortat. i don’t know if signing mayo would improve the team. he is an undersized streaky shooting underachieving 2 guard who couldn’t regain his starting spot when there was no else on the Grizzlies who were that promising
    ahead of him. i would rather see the Suns resign Michael Redd for cheap and give him a chance to regain his form as being one of the best pure shooters and scorers in the league before his injury. having a young talented cast around him should make Redd that much more dangerous. use the money saved on signing Redd this year to get a marquee free agent next year.Any combination of Dragic, Redd, Marshall and Dudley would be pretty good. a Dragic Redd backcourt would be pretty good since both are solid scorers and very good pure shooters. Even a Dragic/Marshall backcourt would be a matchup nightmare for some teams since Marshall is a 6’4 point guard who can get a lot of assists and and play defense on most 2- guards while Dragic can create his own shot and is a solid passer as well.

  • A-ROCK

    if markeiff develops his all around game I think he should start, then scola off the bench. sf beasly I hope he plays like the matrix, dragic, we need a sg, and gortat at center, gortat needs to be a defensive specialist this year and make his jumpers because theres no nash to feed him and I guarantee he isn’t the leading scorer on the team. If we find a decent shooting guard I guarantee we make the playoffs and you know I am always right. @ that guy who is dumb as a box of rocks his name rhymes with bony go back to that other website you work for since no one listens to you here.

  • ESPN NEWS

    Mayo = 4th seed
    Lee = 6th seed
    No sg = 8th seed