When the New Orleans Hornets traded Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, the key returning piece in the trade was shooting guard Eric Gordon. Well, the 23-year-old who was on the verge of becoming a star in Los Angeles has only suited up for only two games with the Hornets this season. Now it is being reported that he will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee Tuesday and will miss at least six more weeks.
Gordon is in just his fourth season after spending one year in college at Indiana. The Clippers made him the seventh pick in the 2008 NBA draft and he rewarded them by improving each season.
Last year Gordon averaged career-highs in points (22.3 per game), rebounds (2.9 per game), assists (4.4) and steals (1.3). He also shot 45 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from 3-point range and hit 82.5 percent of his foul shots.
He had developed into one of the best young scorers in the league, and along with Al-Farouq Aminu, gave New Orleans a nice young pair in return for Paul.
This news is pretty devastating to the Hornets, who are already languishing at the bottom of the Western Conference with an atrocious 5-23 record so far this year. Since the NBA still owns the franchise, there is virtually no chance of the roster improving any time soon. With Gordon out the long season should continue.
Gordon is in the final year of his contract and was eligible to sign a long-term extension until January 25 of this year. That deadline passed with no new deal, and he will become a restricted free agent this summer. That means New Orleans will have the right to match any offer a team makes to him, and if the Hornets do so they would retain his rights.
I would expect the Indiana Pacers to make a strong push for the young guard this summer, as he is a native of Indianapolis who is still widely loved in his home state.
Gordon has to come back and play well if he expects to earn a big money contract this offseason. If he doesn’t, teams will be hesitant to toss big bucks at him, even with his immense talent and ability to put the ball in the hoop.
If he does return healthy and looks good on the court, I expect the Hornets to match any offer he gets in free agency.