After sitting out Wednesday night’s blowout win against an exhausted Portland Trailblazers team, the rumors began to circulate that Eric Gordon would be moved between then and the Thursday, February 21st trade deadline. Whether or not the rumors are true are, in a sense, immaterial. The simple fact is that Gordon hasn’t been healthy for most of the year and that’s caused feelings to sour amidst the fanbase towards him. Does that have any bearing in what the Hornets/Pelicans brain trust does with him? Probably not.
Look, I’m not going to get into whether or not the team should trade Eric Gordon. I’m only going to say IF the team is thinking of trading him, then here are the parameters that should be taken into account (as far as I’m concerned). It’s nothing more than a mental exercise. Don’t take it for anything beyond that.
Ideally, the team looking at Gordon is A) a contender with B) tradeable assets (young players + early picks) and C) in a big market that can attract Gordon enough to get him to agree to a deal. Remember, he can veto any trade this season. Unfortunately, the title contenders – Miami, San Antonio, Oklahoma City – cannot trade for Gordon because they don’t have a major piece to send back or would effectively have to gut their rosters to make it happen. More importantly, they have established pecking orders and bringing in Gordon would mess with that.
So the perfect partner is one of those teams just below the favorites that is looking for a piece that’s going to put them over the hump and make them legit challengers to the Heat or the Thunder or the Spurs. They would be looking for that final piece and could look at Gordon’s skillset and talents as too good to pass up, even with his large $58 mil, 4-year contract.
All that said, let’s go over the teams that could make a deal for Eric Gordon and why:
CHI: Gordon, like so many Midwest kids, grew up as a fan of Jordan’s Bulls. Now the Bulls have a need for an attacking, scoring guard given the careful rehabilitation they’re having to go through for Derrick Rose. Would the Bulls be willing to move for a guard with a history of injuries? If so, an Eric Gordon for Joakim Noah, Marcus Teague, Vlad Radmanovic & Nazr Mohammed makes it happen.
IND: Gordon is an Indiana kid and the Pacers are the best roadblock to the Heat’s coronation romp. They have front court talent and a young, talented PG in Paul George. Adding Gordon’s scoring touch would give them tremendous capacity to hang with Miami. And they’re looking to offload NOLA native Danny Granger. So let’s make it Gordon & Robin Lopez for Granger, DJ Augustin and Mason Plumlee
MIL: Currently, the Bucks are sitting at 8th in the East. They could either go on a run and secure a playoff spot or get overtaken by Philly or Toronto. Landing Gordon alongside Monta Ellis would be an intriguing (perhaps explosive) proposition. And all it would cost the Bucks is Brandon Jennings and Sam Dalembert.
PHI: I just mentioned Philly sitting at 9th in the East. This one, though, is a stab in the dark. Let’s say that the Sixers want out of the Andrew Bynum business. He hasn’t played for them this year and it’s hurt them and there’s no guarantee he won’t test the free agency waters this summer.. The Sixers are still a young team full of scorers. A trade of Gordon and Robin Lopez for Andrew Bynum and Royal Ivey is an option to add both Gordon and a low post presence for this season.
GS: The big rumors are that the Warriors are after Gordon with a fierce desire. It’s unlikely they’d part with Steph Curry when that was a non-starter in the Chris Paul talks. But they could be dangling Klay Thompson as the central piece in return. So let’s say Gordon for Andris Biedrins, Thompson and Festus Ezeli
UTA: The Jazz are sandwiched right between Golden State and Houston in the playoff seeding and could just as easily fall off as they could kick on. They’ve great frontcourt depth but are in desperate need of someone like Gordon with his scoring drive. They can part with one of their frontcourt foursome (Paul Millsap, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter or Al Jefferson) and add Gordon. So , let’s say Gordon for Millsap, Raja Bell and Randy Foye
So with all that said, I could see no deal for Gordon going through this season. Or rather, there’s a lot of pieces that have to fall into place for a deal to happen. All the same, I have trust in Dealer Dell and his ability to get the best for the Hornets IF he thinks that the best course of action is to move EG to a new home.