Posts Tagged ‘Chris Broussard’

Kobe Signs Two-Year Extension




VIDEO: Kobe Bryant talks to Rick Fox about all things Lakers

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Whatever the Los Angeles Lakers’ future plans are, they included Kobe Bryant front and center. The longtime Lakers’ star signed a two-year contract extension Monday, making sure the face of the franchise for most of the past two decades remains the same.

The business became official earlier this morning in Los Angeles, when Bryant signed the extension, worth a reported $48 million (per ESPN’s Chris Broussard) at Lakers headquarters.

ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelbourne has more on Kobe’s new deal:

The Lakers did not announce financial terms, but a source told ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne that the deal is worth $48.5 million.

Bryant will remain the NBA’s highest-paid player over the course of the extension, the source told Shelburne. The former league MVP will receive $23.5 million in the first year and $25 million in the second year of the extension, according to the source.

Bryant, who is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, will make over $30.4 million this season, the final year of his current contract with the Lakers.

Bryant is back on the practice court, but the Lakers are still awaiting word on when he will be able to return to action. He missed the end of last season and the start of this one with a torn Achilles, plus the rehabilitation and recovery process needed after his April surgery to repair the Achilles.

“This is a very happy day for Lakers fans and for the Lakers organization,” Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak said in a statement released by the team. “We’ve said all along that our priority and hope was to have Kobe finish his career as a Laker, and this should ensure that happens. To play 20 years in the NBA, and to do so with the same team, is unprecedented, and quite an accomplishment. Most importantly however, it assures us that one of the best players in the world will remain a Laker, bringing us excellent play and excitement for years to come.”

That ends any speculation about the Lakers’ offseason plans, now that Kobe is in the fold for at least two more seasons. With a robust crop of potential free agents expected to populate the market in the summer of 2014 (most notably New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony). With a healthy Kobe as their lead recruiter, the Lakers figure to be a major player in those sweepstakes.

Now that the extension business is done, we can all get back to Kobe Watch 2013-14 … he’s already been ruled out of Tuesday night’s game against Washington. But there’s always Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn to use as the next target date.

LeBron, Part 2: Difference Is The Rings

a

HANG TIME, Texas — There’s no reason to think the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich has been reserved for a certain night in July 2014. Or that Jim Gray is waiting in the wings fixing his makeup.

There is a reason why The Decision, Part Deux should come with far less Hollywood frippery — though no less high anxiety — than the original.

Deux of them, actually.

When LeBron James announced that he was taking his talents to South Beach on July 8, 2010, he was still, in so many different ways, a young man full of questions and doubt.

Now he is a two-time champion and those rings on his fingers are the answers and the validation that should be able to shut down any of the peripheral noise.

James is, of course, the biggest star who’ll be able to become a free agent next summer, leading a pack that will include Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony, as well as his Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. And while the four-time MVP says that his first inclination is to continue hanging out and chasing titles in Miami, James admitted to ESPN’s Chris Broussard that nothing is certain.

“I have absolutely no idea,” James recently told ESPN.com. “I would love to spend the rest of my career in Miami with this great team and great organization as we continue to compete for championships. That’s ideal. But we don’t know what may happen from now to the end of the season. That’s the nature of the business. It’s the nature of not knowing what tomorrow brings.

“I mean, as a kid, I never thought the Bulls would break up. Never. If you’d of told me as a kid that [Michael] Jordan and [Scottie] Pippen wouldn’t play together for the rest of their lives, I’d have looked at you crazy. And Phil Jackson wouldn’t be the coach? I’d have looked at you crazy. But sometimes the nature of the business doesn’t allow things to happen like you would want them to. But we’ll see.”

The question then becomes whether LeBronmania 2 can grow into the Melodrama and Dwightmare scenarios that nearly consumed Anthony and Dwight Howard and even himself over the past several years?

On the surface, the difference is age and maturity. But the truth is that it’s those championships that set him apart. Before he jumped to the Heat, it was insecurity that drove James to fuel the gossip mill. While he had the numbers and the individual accolades, he could never be sure of himself as a champion until he’d done it. The past two seasons have seen him raise his game and his teammates onto his back and lift the cloud of self-doubt.

Now when James looks ahead to the next chapter, it will only be about setting higher goals and where he wants to chase them:

Miami – If Wade can get through another long playoff run reasonably healthy, the Heat will have to be consider the odds-on favorites to keep James. Wade would still be a quite capable second banana. Assuming that Bosh won’t give up the $42 million left on his contract to become a free agent, it could be time for team president Pat Riley to make the kind of deal that infuses the roster with younger, deeper talent that could make James’ task less Herculean.

Cleveland — If Kyrie Irving continues on track to becoming a perennial All-Star point guard, if No. 1 draft pick Anthony Bennett lives up to his billing, if coach Mike Brown’s return puts the bite back into the Cavaliers’ defense, it would not be so very, very far-fetched for LeBron to return. It would be the biggest sports homecoming ever. He would still be in his prime and could heal so many of the old scars left behind.

L.A. Lakers — If King James is really looking to put the ultimate jewel in his crown, what could be a more lofty goal than to pick up the NBA’s most glamorous franchise and put it back on track? Having won MVPs in Cleveland and championships in Miami, he could even get an extra special kick out of being the one who “helps” teammate Kobe get his sixth championship ring to tie Jordan.

But those are all fantasies for next summer and, as he told Broussard, he can avoid fanning the flames of the rumor mill:

“I owe it to myself, I owe it my teammates and I owe it to the Miami Heat to stay focused,” he said. “As a leader, I’m not even going to let that side of the business get me unfocused on what I’m trying to do and that’s trying to win another championship.

“I’m going to try to [stop the discussion about free agency], but you always have reporters who are going to always bring it up. They’re going to change the question and make it sound like something else. But it will get to a point, if I continue to hear it, where I will say, ‘Hey guys, I’ve answered the question and out of respect, let’s talk about this after the season.’ ”

This time there doesn’t have to be a prime time TV show. It doesn’t have to be so crazy, so out of control.

For two reasons, both on LeBron’s fingers.

No Surprise, Paul Sticking With Clippers




HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In what has to be the one and only lock of the NBA’s crazy season (also known as free agency), Chris Paul is reportedly forgoing the formal recruiting process and sticking with the Los Angeles Clippers.

This is a move, first reported ESPN’s Chris Brousssard, that was all but cemented the moment the Clippers hired Doc Rivers away from the Boston Celtics and moved him into position as their head coach and senior vice president of basketball operations earlier this week.

One of the top two players on the free agent market this summer, along with Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Paul won’t bother flirting with the other teams that planned to pursue him and will instead end the process before it gets started.

Kudos to Paul for handling his business in this manner. He could have turned his decision-making process into a complete circus and made the rounds, just because he could. But why go through all of that when you know exactly what you want to do? Rivers and Paul together gives the Clippers an ideal nucleus for whatever championship ambitions they have for the foreseeable future.

And his quick commitment this summer sends a message to whoever else the Clippers pursue now and in the future, that Paul is a firm believer in the plan and serious about winning at the highest level with the organization.

What the Clippers do with Pau’s backup, however, remains to be seen. With the Toronto Raptors and others reportedly in hot pursuit of Eric Bledsoe, Rivers and the rest of the Clippers’ brain trust will have to decide if moving him now in a package that allows them to strengthen the roster with perhaps an experienced shooting guard is more beneficial than Bledsoe spending another year backing Paul up before he becomes the object of free agent affection in the summer of 2014.

The most important business, though, appears to be complete with Paul’s camp letting it be known that he intends to stick with the Clippers long-term.

Doc Rivers And The Clippers Courting?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The idea of Doc Rivers coaching an All-Star point guard and big man during the 2013-14 NBA season is a given, right?

But will it be Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett … or Chris Paul and Blake Griffin?

Bewildered and confused Boston Celtics fans have to be wondering what the future holds with reports that there could be mutual interest between the Celtics’ coach and the Clippers, per The Los Angeles Times and ESPN.com.

It’s a speculation party that is sure to leave Celtics fans with indigestion as they await the fate of their proud (but clearly rebuilding) team. Rivers left the door ajar at season’s end, saying that he wasn’t sure what was in store with Rondo (knee injury), Garnett (age) and Paul Pierce (age, final year of contract) all in the crosshairs during a huge summer.

The idea of Rivers forgoing the final three years and $21 million of his deal with the Celtics was sparked by a nugget from ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard that indicated Rivers is contemplating a change.

While it wouldn’t be a complete shocker, it would confirm rumblings that began in May, when the Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs by the New York Knicks. Celtics boss Danny Ainge quieted that chatter early on, but the ensuing coaching carousel that has left the Clippers without a replacement for coach Vinny Del Negro has circled around to this possibility that Rivers could be a potential option, as ESPN.com‘s Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne detail here:

Sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that Rivers is highly intrigued by the idea of coaching the Clippers in the event that he and the Celtics part company after nine seasons together and one championship in 2008. Sources say the Clippers, meanwhile, would immediately vault Rivers to the top of their list if he became available as they continue a coaching search that, to this point, has focused on Brian Shaw, Byron Scott and Lionel Hollins.

The Los Angeles Times, citing several NBA executives, reported Wednesday that if Rivers decides he doesn’t want to coach in Boston anymore, the Clippers would be interested in him and he would become their No. 1 choice.

ESPN.com has also learned the Celtics and Clippers — in an offshoot of February’s Kevin Garnett-to-L.A. trade talks — discussed expanded trade scenarios that could have sent both Garnett and close friend Paul Pierce to the Clippers before the league’s Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Sources say those talks, before breaking down, were centered on Boston getting back both prized Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe and young center DeAndre Jordan and did not involve Clippers star forward Blake Griffin.

It is not yet known whether the Clippers intend to revive those trade discussions and pursue either Garnett or Pierce — or both — in conjunction with this month’s NBA draft. But one source familiar with the Clippers’ thinking told ESPN.com the club plans to be “very aggressive” and “shake every tree” in terms of upgrading the roster this offseason. Acquiring Garnett or Pierce — or both — would make Rivers even more of a natural coaching target for the Clippers.

If that’s not enough speculation for you, this all comes at a time when the Clippers are in the midst of interviewing Shaw, Scott, Hollins and Nate McMillan.

The Clippers also have to consider that whoever they select needs to be someone who will help them recruit Paul to stick around this summer in free agency. With rumors that Paul and Dwight Howard, this summer’s other marquee free agent prize, have been in contact about teaming up together in the future, the frenzy will kick into overdrive.

Rivers certainly has a history of coaching superstars in those sorts of situations and the respect that comes along with being a championship coach.

It should be noted that Rivers has been courted several times before during his decade-long tenure in Boston and in the end decided to stick with the Celtics. Orlando, where the Rivers family resides, tried to lure him back to Central Florida with an offer to run the Magic’s entire basketball operation. Rivers considered his options, but in the end decided that loyalty to his players and the Celtics outweighed whatever opportunities might have awaited him in Orlando.

It’s unclear right now whether or not he’ll have to make a similar decision about what to do with the Clippers, but that won’t stop the speculation from spreading.

CP3 Steamed At Clippers, As He Should Be!





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If this is the Los Angeles Clippers’ way of wooing Chris Paul, they might want to come up with a new strategy.

Hanging your superstar out to dry by indicating he’s the reason coach Vinny Del Negro was not retained and that whatever other decisions are made rest on his shoulders is not a sound strategy. That’s especially true with Paul just a month away from the full-court press of free agency from suitors around the league.

Paul is reportedly upset about being thrown into the middle of this Del Negro mess, by Clippers owner Donald Sterling of all people, and he should be upset. CP3 has been mindful throughout this entire process to stay clear of any controversy regarding the Clippers’ front-office plans. Both he and All-Star forward Blake Griffin have been thrust into this drama, as the main culprits in the decision-making process that they are believed to have influenced, despite no evidence to support this.

Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine reports, via sources, that Paul is upset that he’s being portrayed as some sort of coach killer:

“He’s angry right now and his anger is directed toward the Clippers organization,” the source said. “Chris is a man of principle and if he feels like you’ve gone against his principles, it will affect how he feels about you. He’s very agitated that his name has been put out there as the reason for Vinny’s firing. He had nothing to do with it.”

This fire started last week, when Del Negro was fired and T.J. Simers of The Los Angeles Times put Sterling on the hot seat about the decision. Sterling didn’t name names, but he made it clear that the wishes of the players were a part of the process:

“The coach is a wonderful man, and I’m sad about the whole thing,” Sterling said.

“Was this done,” I asked, “just to hang on to Chris Paul?”

“I always want to be honest and not say anything that is not true,” Sterling said. “So I’d rather not say anything.

“But you know, the coach did a really good job. I think he did. And I liked working with him. There are just factors that make life very complicated and very challenging.”

So the Clippers are trying to hang on to Paul.

But don’t they already have him locked up? The team has done everything to make him comfortable, even hire his favorite PR guy from New Orleans.

Do the Clippers really think he would accept almost $28 million less to sign elsewhere?

“Here you have two inexperienced people running your basketball operation in [GM] Gary Sacks and [son-in-law] Eric Miller,” I told Sterling. “And Andy Roeser doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to basketball personnel decisions.

“So I wonder, is this decision being made because the players are now calling the shots? Am I off base?”

“No, you’re not off base,” Sterling said. “This is a players’ league, and, unfortunately, if you want to win you have to make the players happy. Don’t you think that’s true?”

I answered: “No. Money makes players happy.”

As stated, the Clippers can offer Paul more money than any other suitor that will chase him in free agency. Anyone assuming they’ll be able to buy their way out of this mess with Paul doesn’t really know the man.

Del Negro isn’t the first coach (and he won’t be the last) thrown in the trash bin because he didn’t get a ringing endorsement from his star players. Paul didn’t force the Clippers’ hand in this matter and didn’t have to. Trying to make Paul the scapegoat for the fact that Del Negro’s ego is bruised because his stars didn’t lobby on his behalf is childish at best.

It’s a cheap shot for a franchise that can’t afford to squander the opportunity it has with this star-studded core capable of leading the organization to new places — namely on the right side of the divide in a city practically painted in Lakers’ purple and gold.

The fact the franchise is throwing Paul under the bus long before free agency begins only reinforces the belief that the Clippers often serve as their own worst enemy in the court of public opinion. There have been rumors that Del Negro was going to be fired from the moment he was hired by the Clippers. To lay it all on the doorstep of Paul and Griffin after the fact is disingenuous to say the least.

Paul has every right to be upset about the way he’s being portrayed. He was going to weigh all of his free-agent options anyway, including the rumored joining of forces with Dwight Howard (and Al Horford) in Atlanta, where there is cap space galore and the chance to for the Hawks what he did for the Clippers.

If Del Negro is such a wonderful man and coach, Sterling should have stood by his guy and then allowed Paul to make a decision on his own future without the sort of foolishness that will be involved in the process now.

Spurs Make A Reach on McGrady

a

HANG TIME, Texas — Apparently George Gervin had a golf date. So the Spurs picked up Tracy McGrady for their playoff run.

While T-Mac is only 33 years old, it’s been a long time since he gave coach Gregg Popovich nightmares with that amazing 13-points-in-35-seconds flash fire in Houston. Dec. 12, 2004, to be exact, back in the days when the 6-foot-8 McGrady was athletic, graceful, high-flying and could do virtually anything he wanted on a basketball court.

But since averaging 21.6 points for the Rockets in the 2007-08 season, McGrady has undergone microfracture surgery on his left knee, come back to earth with his game and was out of the NBA after sitting on the bench in Atlanta last season. Coach Gregg Popovich will likely use him in limited minutes to back up Kawhi Leonard at small forward after waiving veteran Stephen Jackson last week.

McGrady is eligible for the playoffs because he was not on an NBA roster at any time this season. His size can pick up a few rebounds and he’s always been a willing and adept passer. But the explosiveness that used to get him to the basket is gone and now he’s merely a jump-shooter.

McGrady averaged 25 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.6 steals in 29 games this season in the Chinese Basketball Association, but was not able to lift the Qingdao Double Star Eagles, who finished 8-24 and in last place in the 17-team league.

Joining the Spurs would seem to give McGrady the chance to fill that one glaring hole in his resume. He is currently the only NBA scoring champ in history to never win a single series and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

“I’m just glad to be part of this environment,” McGrady told Chris Broussard of ESPN via text. “Something I never experienced while being my best.”

San Antonio always been a no-nonsense organization that rarely makes excuses and McGrady’s has been a career full of them, leaving a trail of recrimination in his wake from Orlando to Houston to New York to Detroit to Atlanta.

With Manu Ginobili trying to make a playoff comeback from a bad hamstring, Tony Parker not up to form since he suffered a severely sprained left ankle in early March and Jackson now banished, the Spurs search for an offensive boost going into the playoffs is bordering on desperate.

And, well, Gervin is 60.

Report: Clippers Interested In KG?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The countdown to crazy season in the NBA is on.

Anything goes during crazy season, no rumor is too out there and no anonymous source is out off-limits. That’s what adds all of the spice to the process.

The very first and perhaps most intriguing report of the countdown season comes from The Sporting News, which has multiple sources claiming that the Los Angeles Clippers are interested in making a deal for Boston Celtics All-Star Kevin Garnett. The deal would reportedly involve the Clippers giving up promising young point guard Eric Bledsoe and veteran swingman Caron Butler.

The obligatory refuting of these claims are already in full effect, with ESPN’s Chris Broussard reporting that there have been no “trade talks” between the Clippers and Celtics, which of course would force someone to come up with a clear-cut definition of “trade talks.”

But there is no doubt that both the Clippers, losers of five of their last seven games with injured All-Star point guard Chris Paul on the shelf, and the Celtics, who will finish this season without their own All-Star point guard, Rajon Rondo, are searching for solutions. Sean Deveney of The Sporting News made a compelling case for these two franchises doing business in his initial report:

Celtics officials have made no decisions about the future, even with rookie power forward Jared Sullinger (back surgery) joining point guard Rajon Rondo (knee) last week in seeing their seasons end.

The Celtics came into Sunday’s game on a four-game winning streak and will wait until closer to the trade deadline to decide whether to keep this team together. The deadline is 3 p.m. ET Feb. 21.

For now, the Clippers wait on their injured guards. [Chauncey] Billups is working his way back from a foot injury. There is no timetable for the return of star point guard Paul from a knee injury. [Jamal] Crawford, the team’s sixth man, is wearing an industrial-strength facemask to protect his broken nose.

The Clippers are a battered bunch and losers of five of their previous seven games.

Coach Vinny Del Negro hopes to get Paul and Billups back during the team’s eight-game trip, which runs through Feb. 11.

“Right now, it is all about winning games,” Del Negro said. “We need to get guys back to win at a higher rate than we are right now, then we were used to at the beginning of the season. It’s a long season; you have to manage it the right way. When we think we’re getting everyone back, it seems like, so far this year, someone’s been injured. You have to manage that. You have to take the highs and the lows.”

But still, the Clippers are going for it. And why not? When healthy, they count themselves among NBA title contenders. That’s saying something for a franchise that had long been considered not just among the NBA’s worst, but in all of sports.

Considering, too, the struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers see this season as a chance to reach at least the Western Conference finals and in doing so to reorder the hoops hierarchy in LA.

Garnett, who makes his offseason home in Malibu, has a no-trade clause in his contract and two years left on his contract. So there is that one, gigantic hurdle to deal with. He’s not going anywhere he doesn’t want to go.

But he could have worse options than joining a Clippers team that could be one or two healthy stars away from making a championship run. The championship window in Boston is closed, no matter how hard Celtics coach Doc Rivers tries to fight it.

Garnett has a limited amount of time left to chase a second title to pair with the one he won with the Celtics in 2008. Rolling with the Clippers could be his best and last chance to add to his already Hall of Fame worthy resume. For a player as consumed by winning as Garnett has been his entire career, it would be hard to dismiss an opportunity like this were it actually on the table.

And that brings us back to the core of crazy season in the NBA. No matter how far-fetched an idea seems in theory, the possibilities will get floated to the basketball-loving public between now and the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

The countdown to crazy season in the NBA is on!

Knicks Tap The Dream As Tutor

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If there’s going to be a big man renaissance in New York this season, it will come with a huge assist from one of the all-time great big men in the history of the game.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson, a former teammate of Hakeem Olajuwon‘s, approached the two-time NBA champ about tutoring members of his frontcourt rotation as preparation for the 2012-13 season.

Amar’e Stoudemire, who worked with Olajuwon earlier this summer (above), Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby will all get a chance to learn from a master. Olajuwon normally tutors big men, but he’s also going to work with Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com.

Having Olajuwon school his guys on post moves and the art of winning at the highest level is a masterstroke by Woodson, who knows that the key for the Knicks this season will be finding the right fit between his biggest stars. It’s an understanding that Olajuwon already seems locked in on as well, per the report from Broussard:

“They both have to realize that the most important thing is not how great you are individually,” Olajuwon said. “You’re remembered for how many games you win. So to get to play with another great offensive player should help you. It should make your job easier. You have to work well together. You can’t be competitors with one another.”

While Olajuwon has taught Stoudemire back-to-the-basket post moves, he said the Knicks’ game plan should not be simply to post up Stoudemire while Anthony dominates the perimeter.

“It shouldn’t be Amar’e just staying in the post because he can be a scorer in the paint and outside,” Olajuwon said. “It’s the same thing for Carmelo. He can score in the post and outside. So if Carmelo is in the post, Amar’e can be at the foul line and he can make that shot. If Amare’s in the post, Carmelo can make the shot from the free-throw line, too. They shouldn’t be competing against each other; they should be complementing each other. They need each other to win.”

(more…)

Report: Lakers, Magic Talking Howard?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – They’re just talking about the possibilities of a potential deal involving Dwight Howard wearing a Los Angeles Lakers uniform.

And that should be more than enough to crank up the machine that has been the Howard rumor mill once again, now that one of the first teams mentioned as a potential destination for the Magic superstar is back in the middle of the madness.

You knew it was only a matter of time before we got back to this, courtesy of our friends at Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com:

Yahoo Sports! reports that the Lakers want a commitment from Howard that he will agree to a contract extension before they agree to a trade with the Magic.

The Lakers and Magic have been in talks over Howard for the last week or so, sources told ESPN The Magazine‘s Chris Broussard, but nothing is imminent.

Howard had demanded a trade to the Nets but talks broke down between the Nets and Orlando last week. Magic GM Rob Hennigan called Howard last week to see if he would consider giving the GM’s new regime a chance, but Howard rebuffed the overtures.

Howard has said he would agree to sign an extension with only one team, and sources have said that team is the Nets.

The Houston Rockets also made a new proposal to the Magic for Howard last weekend and are willing to take on long-term salary commitments from Orlando if they land Howard in Houston.

As long as Howard is in play for the Magic, the Lakers have to explore their options. They have Andrew Bynum, the one asset no other teams in the running for Howard can throw into the discussion.

While there hasn’t been any confirmation that they are doing anything other than simply discussing the possibilities, it doesn’t make much sense for anyone to get wrapped up in details that haven’t been shared.

But since when did anyone need actual details to get carried away during free agency/trade season?

Report: Suns, Gordon Agree On Deal





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.