Eric Gordon is the best player on the Hornets, and his absence has been evident through the first 9 games, as the Hornets have largely struggled because of their guard play. A healthy return would bring needed athleticism, scoring, ball-handling, and on-ball defense to a backcourt that has struggled to provide consistent production. With that said, Gordon is a polarizing figure in the Hornets community, and his burdensome contract will certainly become a liability should he continue to miss games. Gordon is said to be scheduled for a return somewhere in December, which lines up with the first day he is eligible to be traded (Dec. 15). If Dell Demps wants to trade Gordon, what kind of value would he command?
Gordon’s basketball ability and potential are hardly a secret, but player value is not directly tied to production. A number of other variables come into play when determining a player’s value: potential, age, contract size, contract length, and health. Take Joe Johnson, for instance. Johnson has been an All-Star 6 times in his career, yet was traded this offseason from the Atlanta Hawks to the Brooklyn Nets. The return? A bag of chips and a Lil Jon CD. Seriously, the Hawks traded Johnson for a bunch of mediocre players and a conditional draft pick. Johnson was an asset on the court, but he was a liability on the books. Consequently, he was traded for nothing.
Johnson’s trade paints an ugly picture for Gordon’s current value. Gordon is young, productive, and has potential, but he has shown an inability to stay healthy, and his contract is both heavy and long. The Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets were both willing to hand out fat contracts to Gordon this summer, but that was before he re-aggravated the same knee that kept him out for all but 9 games last season. Simply put, Gordon’s value is very low right now.
Per the CBA, the Hornets are not able to trade Gordon to Phoenix during the life of his current contract. Houston is most likely not a possibility either, as they have already built their backcourt of the future. With that in mind, the Hornets’ options are limited. Their best chance at getting something decent, or anything, in return for Gordon would be to agree to terms with a team that is desperate to grab a star. Unfortunately, Gordon has to agree on a trade to any team this year, and the “desperate” teams are not usually attractive destinations.
Let me be very clear: despite Gordon’s promise, I am absolutely tired of the headache that he has caused this franchise since his arrival, and I want the guy gone. I don’t know if the coaching staff and front office feels the same way, but then again, Gordon is doing his rehab on the other side of the country. His future in the Big Easy is most certainly uncertain, but for now, we need him to get healthy: it would at least help us in the standings, and it would also make him a more attractive trade option. Whether we like it or not, our immediate future is tied to him and his paper-maché knee.
Categories: Hornets Buzz/The Bird's Word