Should the Phoenix Suns Trade for Sharp Shooter Eric Gordon?

Phoenix Suns, Eric Gordon. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Eric Gordon. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns find themselves as well positioned as possible as we move into the NBA season’s latter half. But with trade season meanwhile reaching its peak, the Valley Boys still find themselves rumored in deals just like any other team.

Talented veterans on squads toward the lottery become hot commodities every year around the trade deadline. With contenders looking to add that one final piece and those less successful teams hoping to cut their losses, these “buyers” and “sellers” always dictate the NBA economy this time of year.

This season’s crew of trade machine chess pieces features some big name Eastern Conference players like  Jerami Grant, Ben Simmons, Caris LeVert, and Domantas Sabonis. However, it also involves one familiar gunner from out West—Houston Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon.

With the Suns possessing a solid chance to make it back to the NBA Finals, but always looking to improve nonetheless, Gordon’s name has drawn some intrigue around the Valley over the last few days as a potential target before the February 10th deadline.

Still as a lethal sniper, shooting a career-high 45.5 percent from three in his 14th season, Gordon’s skills require no further evaluation. He resembles a savvy ball-handler, and a terrifying scorer able to fill it up at any moment. Having also played two years with Chris Paul in Houston, he makes for a smooth backcourt addition even while coming off the bench.

But as we all know, this is not NBA 2K or fantasy basketball, where you can string together different star players with ease and ignore all the other consequences at hand. When you actually look at everything that might go into a deal for Gordon, his relocation to Phoenix becomes far more complicated.

Should the Phoenix Suns Trade for Eric Gordon?

Before jumping into the details behind a potential Gordon trade, you need to first consider his relationships with Phoenix’s central figures on the team. Although Gordon and Paul indeed have a nice history together, the same cannot be said for head coach Monty Williams.

It might feel like ancient history at this point, but during both their days with the New Orleans Pelicans, or back then the Hornets, Williams and Gordon first crossed paths as player and coach. They did not do so very peacefully.

Right after Gordon’s first year with New Orleans, his relationship with the front office and Williams by extension began to sour. Unhappy with the team for selecting Austin Rivers that year, Gordon actually used the Suns as leverage to try and secure himself a more lucrative contract in an awkward offseason debacle that led him back to the bayou anyway.

The following season though, things became more testy between Gordon and his team, specifically involving Williams this time.

During an early April game when New Orleans found themselves down against the Utah Jazz, Gordon and Williams engaged in a shouting match on the bench. It got so heated to the point where Williams needed his assistant coach Randy Ayers to hold him back, and Gordon did not play the rest of the game.

Although things eventually mellowed out between both Williams and Gordon between their next two years together, incidents like that feel difficult to just throw aside.

With the Suns already cooking up better chemistry than any other NBA team right now, it seems irresponsible to jeopardize that by forcing this reunion. Perhaps if Monty showed some strong eagerness to still acquire Gordon things might change, but even if that were to happen, it would surely do so behind closed doors.

But beyond those potential issues, Gordon’s contract makes moving him to Phoenix a bit tricky as well. Signed for at least one more year under a $19 million dollar payout, adding Gordon would require the Suns to deal away multiple assets for each team’s cap to balance out.

Parting ways with Dario Saric feels like a given, but the Suns would also need to trade either Cameron Payne, or a packaged deal with Jalen Smith, a first round pick, and either Frank Kaminsky or Abdel Nader assuming they waive their trade restrictions.

Especially with his postseason performance last year considered, trading Payne for Gordon feels like an absurd overreaction to his slow start this season and cannot be considered. Giving him up also places Elfird Payton as the team’s second ball-handler off the bench, which sounds like a nightmare already.

As for a Smith/Kaminsky/Nader package, that sounds a bit more compelling, but the Rockets likely expect to get better offers for Gordon than a deal involving two players with expiring contracts. Smith also played excellent over the past month and undoubtedly deserves a chance to prove himself within this rotation.

Adding onto that, even if the Suns and Rockets did shake on one of these deals, doing so promises to make dishing out a max deal for Deandre Ayton this coming summer that much more difficult. Although Gordon’s contract carries a team option during the 2023-24 season, which the Suns would be wise to decline, his guaranteed money for next year will still make it tough on a Phoenix front office that we already know dislikes digging deep into its wallet.

If the Suns lost Ayton this offseason, a young and promising piece, just to keep around a 33-year-old backup player for Booker, that would be a colossal failure.

Next. Ayton Targeted by Suprise Team. dark

On too many fronts Eric Gordon and the Suns simply do not align. If he somehow reaches a buyout with Houston, then that opens up an entirely different discussion. But at this point, Phoenix needs to look elsewhere if they want to add some more depth.