July 3rd, 2012
Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has reported that the Phoenix Suns have offered restricted free agent Eric Gordon a maximum contract, which will pay him $58 million over the next four years.
Gordon was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers and was the key element in the trade for point guard Chris Paul that brought Paul to Los Angeles.
Gordon played only nine games for the Hornets this season due to a knee injury. He averaged 20 points, three rebounds, and three assists during those games.
The Phoenix Suns are beginning a rebuilding process and may be without Steve Nash, who received an offer from Toronto worth $36 million over three years.
Gordon would form a young backcourt with Kendall Marshall, who was drafted with the 13th overall selection in last Thursday’s draft.
Hornets General Manager Dell Demps has insisted that the team will match any offer presented to Gordon. Demps took forward Anthony Davis with the first overall selection and guard Austin Rivers with the tenth overall selection in this year’s draft.
Hornets Coach Monty Williams has been adamant about allowing Rivers, who played mostly shooting guard in college, to play the point guard position. Rivers will presumably start with Gordon if the Hornets match the offer.
Rivers and Gordon would form a formidable offensive backcourt, and Davis would be able to provide a strong defensive presence for the team.
However, as Broussard reports, “[Gordon’s] preference is to play for the Suns, not the Hornets.” If the Hornets match Phoenix’s offer, Gordon must stay in New Orleans.
Assuming that the Suns sign Gordon to an offer sheet when teams can officially begin signing players on July 11, the Hornets would have until July 14 to match the offer.
Rivers, Gordon, and Davis will form a strong young core for Demps to build upon and hopefully guide this team to the playoffs in the near future. If Demps wants this team to begin contending in the competitive Western Conference, he must match this offer.
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