With the NBA season now in full swing, the Phoenix Suns look vindicated in the offseason additions they made to solidify their roster. Yuta Watanabe is already a fan favorite, and a player his teammates react well to, while Grayson Allen and Jusuf Nurkic are making their mark.
Even Jordan Goodwin has impressed some, with the only downside to all of this being the fact that these role players have been relied upon early as a result of the injuries to both Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. The latter yet to even make his debut for the organization.
For one Suns role player though, they recently opened up on turning down the Golden State Warriors, amongst others, this offseason.
In an entertaining interview with Sportskeeda, veteran Eric Gordon opened up on the teams he ultimately turned down in favor of a move to The Valley. His reasons for doing so being that he believes this group has a chance to not only win a championship this season, but for years to come as well.
"“Yeah. Houston (Rockets) and the Warriors were definitely an option. Milwaukee (Bucks) was definitely an option. But I felt Phoenix was onto something special. It was a tough decision, but I really think we have everything going on here from ownership, to coaches and to players. It’s hard to beat.”"
Whatever about not going to the Rockets – who are nowhere near contention right now – but opting to go to the Suns and not play for the Warriors or Bucks is not nothing. Gordon feeling his best chance to win was next to Durant, Booker and Beal tells you how many veterans in the league feel about the team that the front office has assembled.
Gordon would have been the ideal player for the Warriors to land, somebody who would have slotted in really well next to Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Chris Paul. Nobody can replicate what Draymond Green does for that roster, but Gordon is a smart defensive player who only has season guarded Durant in the playoffs while with the L.A. Clippers.
This is a case of being glad to have Gordon on your team, but just as glad you don’t have to see him in the postseason either. His two-year, $6.5 million deal is not a lot of money either, and although it remains to be seen if the Warriors (probably not) or Bucks (maybe) could have given Gordon more money, it is telling he chose the Suns anyway.
The Rockets absolutely could have given him more, and the addition of Damian Lillard to the Bucks has many feeling they should be favorites to win it all now. Yet it was the Suns who won out, adding Gordon to a five through eight grouping that includes Allen, Watanabe and one of Goodwin or Keita Bates-Diop.
Gordon also revealed that owner Mat Ishbia also played a part in his decision, the 34-year-old clearly impressed with the honesty put forth in their conversations prior to him agreeing to join the franchise.
"“He (Mat Ishbia) was honest and told me how the culture is going to be. When you have the players and the coaching staff we have, it’s easier to relate to in terms of his background. That’s why I’m here. Everything has been rolling pretty good.”"
It is clear Gordon was a get for the Suns, and he is already fitting in exactly how the coaching staff would have hoped. He is a Frank Vogel type of player, with the head coach bringing him off the bench to inject some shooting from deep to pair with his ability to defend much taller players when he’s on the court.
Putting up 15.3 points per game early in the season probably wasn’t in the script or the player, with that kind of production offensively not seen since his heyday with the Rockets alongside James Harden. But the Suns are profiting from his inclusion and the Warriors and Bucks can only sit back and wonder what might have been if he had agreed to join them this offseason.