Eric Gordon, Actually Trying Again, Settling Well in New Role with Houston Rockets
In 2011, the New Orleans Hornets attempted to trade superstar Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers in a deal that would have sent Pau Gasol to the Houston Rockets and Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic, and a 2012 first-round selection to the Hornets.
NBA Commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade for “basketball reasons.” Talk about changing the course of NBA history.
Instead, the Hornets sent CP3 to the Los Angeles Clippers, receiving in exchange Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and the Minnesota Timberwolves 2012 first-round selection.
Oh, and Eric Gordon.
After five seasons with the Hornets and New Orleans Pelicans, Gordon signed with the Houston Rockets over the offseason and is now an early contender for Sixth Man of the Year. An amazing turnaround for the oft-injured Gordon.
“It was weird that it all changed so much,” said Gordon on his new role with the Rockets. “The first year I got to New Orleans I was a major playmaker. After that I just became more of just a shooting guard, never had the ball in my hands. It was just catch-and-shoot, and they had other guys try to make the plays. This was a perfect time in my career to be a free agent and make a change. Things never worked out, never came together in New Orleans. They kept changing what they wanted me to do and in five years there we only had one good year where we made the playoffs. It was just time for me to go.”
In full disclosure, before I begin my rant, I am not a fan of Eric Gordon. I gave him a fair shake when he arrived in NOLA; however, it didn’t take long for him to lose the fan base here. Also, blocked me on Twitter. He thanked everyone in New Orleans for the support, and I told him not to worry about it because we didn’t support him. Whoops.
Anyways, the reason Gordon never found much success in New Orleans is because he never wanted to be here. He didn’t. He never played, he wanted a trade, and frankly he never seemed to be trying.
His first season with the team, the 2011-2012 NBA season, Gordon managed to play only nine games before being shut down with a knee injury for the rest of the shortened season. I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
But it got worse. You see, in three seasons with the Clippers before arriving in New Orleans, Gordon played in 196 of 246 possible games. A respectable number.
Over five seasons in Louisiana, however, Gordon managed to get on the court only 221 times out of a possible 394. Only a little over 50 percent.
If you ask longtime Pels fans, they’ll give you their opinion on Gordon. Some of us respected him as second fiddle to Anthony Davis; however, most of us saw him as a waste of money. Between 2012 and 2015, the organization paid out nearly $60 million to Gordon who made it clear he didn’t want to be there. As a restricted free agent before the 2012-2013 season, Gordon made it clear that the Hornets should not match the offer sheet from the Phoenix Suns. He wanted out.
Did he fake the knee injury after the trade to encourage New Orleans to let him go? I’m not his doctor. However, even if we assume the injury was real, Gordon wanted it to sound as bad as possible in an effort to leave town.
“I don’t know,” said Gordon when asked if he might miss the entire 2012-2013 season as well after playing only nine games in 2011-2012. “I don’t know at all. There’s still no timetable.”
Gordon never managed to get out. He settled into his role somewhat; however, he never shined the way he seemed to with the Clippers in his early years. Instead, he was just kind of there. He did well in games; however, he realized his stock had dropped over the past four years when he decided to pick up his Player Option for the 2015-2016 season to the tune of $15,514,031.
A brilliant move on Gordon’s part, as the new NBA TV deal nearly doubled the value of most of the league’s franchises and sent cap space skyrocketing under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teams were looking for literally anyone to throw millions of dollars at. Allen Crabbe (ever heard of him?) signed a four-year contract worth over $74 million.
Even with the rivers of cash flowing, however, Gordon’s new contract with the Rockets is worth about $6 million less than the one he signed back in 2012 with the New Orleans Hornets—also $22 million less than Allen Crabbe.
Despite the skepticism surrounding his time here, I always supported Gordon. Even met him a few times. Cool guy. I wish Gordon nothing but the best.
Also, I know I just hounded you here, but please unblock me on Twitter.