NBA Rumors: Adding Eric Gordon This Summer Would Make Pacers Title Contenders

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 26:  Eric Gordon #10 of the New Orleans Hornets handles the ball during the season openning NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 26, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Hornets defeated the Suns 85-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Indiana Pacers are riding high after handing the Chicago Bulls their first home loss, but something is still missing. This team isn’t complete yet.

The addition of David West has proven to be huge, yet the guard play leaves something to be desired.

Enter Eric Gordon.

The New Orleans Hornets shooting guard (and Indianapolis native) was dissed by team management as they fail to reach an agreement on a five-year deal that Gordon reportedly coveted.

That means he will become a restricted free agent who can sign a lucrative deal in the offseason, but the Hornets still have the chance to match an offer.

Considering the Pacers will have just $34.8 million committed in salary for next season, they can afford to overpay a bit for a star to join their small market club, especially one that went to Indiana University. Sporting News is reporting that the Pacers already plan on making a run for his services when July rolls around. 

The Hornets were weary of giving Gordon a lucrative eight-figure extension at the time he’s dealing with a knee injury that will keep him out of action for the next three to six weeks.

The Pacers shouldn’t be worried about it. Gordon did miss 26 games last year, but only sat out 24 games in his first two seasons. He hasn’t missed enough time to give him the injury-prone label.

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 06:  Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers tries to keep the ball from Greg Stiemsma #54 of the Boston Celtics on January 6, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Boston Celtics 87-74. NOTE TO USE
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In fact, it may lower his value a bit on the open market so the Pacers don’t have to shell out as much dough.

Right now Paul George is the only guard that has long-term value for the Pacers. Darren Collison is better severed as a backup and Dahntay Jones and Lance Stephenson are not players worthy of playing on a championship-caliber team.  George Hill? Eh.

Gordon adds star power and may even be able to bring in other big-name free agents that are looking for a new home.

A core of Gordon, West, George, Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger gives the Pacers a starting five that can compete with any team in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers will make the playoffs this season and may even win a first-round series, but until they make a move for a star like Gordon, the NBA Finals will continue to be nothing but a pipe dream.