Hornets' go-to guy finally healthy, but is he happy, too?
By SAM AMICOFS Ohio
Eric Gordon has returned, the question becomes whether the veteran guard wants to remain with New Orleans.
“I have a feeling he’ll learn to love it,” an Eastern Conference executive told FOX Sports Ohio.
Gordon, 24, is a 6-foot-3 scorer. He was traded to the
Hornets prior to the start of last season. That’s last season, kids. Not this one.
But a bum (and we’re talking major hobo here) knee kept him sidelined for all but nine games last year. This year, he’s played in one.
That took place Saturday in a win at Charlotte — in which Gordon scored a game-high 24 points.
Not bad for a season debut, eh?
Actually, not a surprise when you’re talking about Gordon. That’s why the Hornets traded Chris Paul to the Clippers. They knew Gordon, part of the return in the trade, has All-Star potential and would immediately become their go-to guy.
Then the Hornets landed the No. 1 overall pick, and drafted former Kentucky standout Anthony Davis.
With Gordon and Davis (and free-agent acquisition Ryan Anderson), people figured the Hornets might have something. And they might.
But this has hardly been smooth sailing for new owner Tom Benson, GM Dell Demps and coach Monty Williams. More like an almost-worst-case scenario.
Davis has occasionally been injured and Gordon, again, just got on the floor.
More than that, Gordon signed a large free-agent contract (four years, $58 million) with Phoenix during the season. A lot of folks in the know speculated Gordon didn’t want the Hornets to match the offer, that he wanted to play for the Suns.
If true, that’s interesting. It’s not like the Suns are in a considerably better place than the Hornets, or that Gordon would get the ball more in Phoenix.
Still, the Hornets matched the offer.
Then Gordon missed the first 29 games, and everyone assumed he wanted a trade. And maybe he does.
If so, the Suns are still very interested (although by NBA rules, they would have to wait until July). So are the Indiana Pacers. One GM even suggested the Oklahoma City Thunder should make a play.
“They certainly have the assets, but I’m not sure how you’d make the money work,” the GM said, before admitting such a plot is highly unlikely.
No matter, this is where Gordon has to earn his money, be a professional, come out with the determination he displayed Saturday. He certainly has the talent. He’s certainly capable of being a No. 1 option, an All-Star, a winner on a team with potential.
If that doesn’t happen, according to sources, the Hornets would be willing to move him quick.
“That’s not what they want, and they’ve made that clear,” said the Eastern exec. “The best situation for everyone is that Gordon stays healthy and happy and this team gets a chance to build.”
• Most executives around the league interviewed by FOX Sports Ohio seem to think Phil Jackson will consider coaching the Brooklyn Nets. “With Phil, it’s all about how much control he has,” said one GM. “I think he’s probably OK with not winning another championship. It’s more about getting the most from his team without a bunch of annoying interferences.”
• USA Today reported that Geoff Petrie’s 19-year run as Sacramento Kings GM may be nearing an end, perhaps even before the season comes to a close. That’s a fairly interesting development — as Petrie has developed a reputation among former employees as someone who doesn’t put in the necessary time, but who has always gotten a free pass from team owners Joe and Gavin Maloof.
• The Kings have denied they’re trying to trade center DeMarcus Cousins, a true talent as both a player and a trouble spot. But multiple sources who claim to have taken their calls said that’s not true, that Cousins is actually on the market. The asking price, however, “is way too high right now,” said one opposing GM.