Recent rumors that Eric Gordon is seeking a trade from the New Orleans Hornets have yet to be proven as anything other than just that, rumors. But if the 23-year old guard does wish to be freed from the Big Easy, there are a number of options the franchise could explore.
Gordon’s six week rehabilitation from a knee injury has been interpreted by some as a bit too convenient considering that he becomes trade eligible in six weeks time. The controversy in New Orleans began to swirl after a story surfaced on Nola.com appeared to have head coach Monty Williams questioning the validity of Gordon’s knee troubles.
It’s the same knee that Gordon suffered a bone contusion on last season that is called into question, one for which he had arthroscopic surgery on last season and successfully returned from to finish the season with some strong performances for the Hornets.
After drafting Anthony Davis, it’s no wonder that New Orleans fans started to feel a little optimistic, but they have yet to see Gordon suit up this season after attempting to leave for Phoenix in the summer. Gordon practically pleaded with the Hornets not to match the Suns’ offer, but they did, essentially forcing the player to stay. Now, it appears the relationship is strained as some of the team’s key figures feel he may keeping himself out of the lineup to eventually put in a trade request.
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Whether he does or doesn’t, New Orleans would be smart to move Gordon in favor of a fresh start with a new player while they can and there is no shortage of intriguing options. But if the season plays itself out and Gordon eventually takes the floor wearing a Hornets uniform only for the franchise to eventually decide it isn’t working out, New Orleans still has its amnesty option intact.
1.) Gordon’s athleticism makes him an attractive offer for any team and there are a few looking to offload players in the interest of not losing them in the offseason for nothing. The first that comes to mind is Monta Ellis, whose stint alongside Brandon Jennings with the Bucks hasn’t really worked out due to the pair being a bit too similar.
The Bucks parted ways with a major investment in Andrew Bogut to acquire Ellis who has an early termination option in his contract at the end of his season. If Ellis stayed in Milwaukee and decided to use that option, the Bucks would essentially be left with nothing in return for giving up a scoring seven footer to Golden State.
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New Orleans would be a good option for Ellis as he could be the other major player the team needs to help build the Hornets into a contender. He would be playing alongside a solid distributor in Greivis Vasquez and would give the Hornets the high scoring complement to their young power forward. He also comes at cost that is three million dollars cheaper than the $14 million a year deal Gordon signed and if it didn’t work out could head on his way by mutual consent anyhow through his early termination option.
2.) Tyreke Evans has been a bit of an enigma in Sacramento after winning the 2010 Rookie of the Year award. The Kings don’t seem to know what to do with him as a point guard, falling out of favor it seems to the younger Isiah Thomas, or as a shooting guard due to the presence of Marcus Thornton. Sacramento needs to shake things up and bringing in a player like Gordon provides them a replacement with little drop off in athleticism.
The Hornets would likely have to take another player off the Kings roster in order for Sacramento to be able to swing the deal, but that may not be that big of a hurdle to overcome with the Hornets still having their amnesty option available.
For New Orleans, they would acquire a talented player in Evans who can score, play two different positions and is in need of a fresh start somewhere else. Evans has a team option on his contract next season, meaning if it didn’t work out and the Hornets wanted to move in a new direction rather than pay his $6 million salary, they could let him leave for a better offer. If nothing comes in, he costs less than half of what they’re putting into an injury plagued Gordon.
3.) Gordon wanted a move to Phoenix and the Suns made him a solid offer. If the team still wants the player bad enough, the Hornets could try to work a trade. The question is, for who? The Suns lineup isn’t exactly overflowing with hot commodities that New Orleans seeks. The details of the deal would probably have to tie in draft picks and maybe even a third team, so that wouldn’t likely be an option before the trade deadline.
In any case, the Hornets have a lot to consider with Gordon’s future unless they can calm the storm so to speak caused by Williams’ comments this week. Situations where a player wants to move and isn’t on the greatest of terms with the coach never play out well, just ask fans in Orlando.