July 7th, 2012
Eric Gordon made it clear in a prepared statement earlier this week that he didn’t want the New Orleans Hornets to match the max offer he received from the Phoenix Suns.
Yesterday, he took it to a new level.
In a video interview Friday at the Olympic basketball trials in Las Vegas (h/t Hornets247.com), Eric Gordon spoke freely and at length for the first time about the situation.
And it wasn’t pretty.
In a nutshell Gordon is upset with the Hornets because they haven’t treated a player of his “caliber” (he used this term numerous times) with the respect that he deserves.
What are the Hornets’ crimes, you might ask?
The first offense, according to Gordon, was that the Hornets didn’t offer him a max contract back in late January.
Think about that for a moment. Gordon had barely seen the court at that point since being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Chris Paul deal. He had been sitting out with an extended knee injury that would limit him to action in only nine games that season.
And, because Gordon was a restricted free agent, it would have made absolutely no sense for the Hornets to throw a maximum contract at him without seeing what the market would bear first.
The Hornets did offer Gordon a reported four-year, $50 million contract in January. According to Gordon, however, this was an unforgivable slight.
Another apparent “insult” was using the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 draft on Austin Rivers, a player whose game is too similar to Gordon’s for the latter’s comfort. According to Gordon, the Hornets needed another big man, not another guard.
What, you didn’t know that Gordon was a GM as well as a player?
Even if Gordon is correct about the Hornets’ dearth of bigs, his disparaging comments about his current Hornets teammates is inexcusable. He mentioned power forward Jason Smith as the only legitimate big man currently on the team.
There were other complaints, as well, all centering around an alleged lack of respect for a superstar like him. This is all very curious because, according to Hornets head coach Monty Williams, Gordon participated in evaluating players this summer and has always been told that he is the primary player on the team.
Unfortunately, Gordon comes across in the interview as petulant and needy. And, let’s face it, his concerns about Rivers also make him seem a bit insecure.
If the Hornets match the Suns and bring Gordon kicking and screaming back to New Orleans, it is not hard to imagine Gordon turning into the proverbial locker-room cancer.
And that is something that the Hornets can’t afford with the promising young players they just drafted, including No. 1 pick Anthony Davis, starting their careers in the Big Easy.
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