New Orleans guard Eric Gordon, who was traded to the Hornets from the Los Angeles Clippers just prior to the season, said Friday it was a mutual decision between him and the team to postpone signing a contract extension this week, The Times Picayune reported.
The Hornets needed to sign Gordon by Wednesday’s deadline to prevent him from coming a restricted free agent on July 1. While several reports surfaced Thursday saying the 23-year-old emerging star had rejected an offer from the Hornets because it wasn’t high enough, Gordon said Friday the decision was mutual.
"It wasn’t that I turned down anything, it works both ways," Gordon said. "Yes, I’ll be restricted, but I am just a basketball player right now and the future is unclear.
"All I can do is worry about coming back at this point to try and help the team win games at the end of the year. It’s not the best situation, but it’s also not the worst. As long as I get back playing, that will be the thing."
Hornets general manager Dell Demps said in a statement that the team had negotiated in good faith with Gordon.
"We made good faith and amicable efforts to reach an agreement on a contract extension over the past few days," Demps said.
"Unfortunately, although close, we did not reach an agreement. Eric will be a restricted free agent this summer, and we are optimistic and encouraged with the opportunity to sign Eric to a contract that will make him a member of the Hornets organization and community for years to come."
Gordon, who has averaged 18.1 points per game since joining the NBA in 2008, has only been able to play two games so far this season. The Hornets announced Thursday he could miss up to six weeks with a right knee contusion.
Former Hornets point guard Chris Paul was dealt to the Clippers last month in a blockbuster deal that saw Gordon, center Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round pick traded to New Orleans.