HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — An Eric Gordon–Kendall Marshall backcourt of the future probably sounds good to the fans in Phoenix.
The Suns have done their best to make it a reality by offering Gordon, the Hornets restricted free agent shooting guard, a maximum salary contract worth $58 million over four years, ESPN The Magazine‘s Chris Broussard reports. It’s an offer Gordon intends to sign on July 11, the day players can sign contracts and offer sheets. The Hornets would then have three days to match that offer or let Gordon, their prize in a the Chris Paul trade last year with the Clippers, leave for Phoenix.
And apparently, Gordon leaving with prized rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers in the fold in New Orleans, is not what the Hornets have in mind:
New Orleans has claimed all along that it will match any offer Gordon receives, but Gordon is hoping the Hornets do not match.
Gordon said Tuesday night that his preference is to play for the Suns, not the Hornets.
“After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible,” Gordon said in a statement. “Mr. (Robert) Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the Front Office Staff and Coach (Alvin) Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now.”
Gordon’s desire to leave the Hornets puts a damper on what had been a terrific week for the club. Last Thursday, New Orleans selected Anthony Davis with the No. 1 pick in the draft and guard Austin Rivers at No. 10.
The league-wide assumption was that Gordon and the two rookies would form a trio that would lead the Hornets back to relevance. Of course, that could still be the case if New Orleans matches the offer.
Gordon’s statement makes for an interesting dance between the star guard and the Hornets over the next few days. The Hornets clearly had plans of their own where Gordon is concerned, even though they drafted Rivers (whose profile on Draft night is reminiscent to what Gordon’s was at the same stage.)
But if Gordon doesn’t want to be there, that obviously complicates matters a bit for the Hornets.