The top priority of the New Orleans Hornets this offseason will be to re-sign Eric Gordon to a long-term contract.
Gordon will be a restricted free agent this summer and will draw attention from several teams looking to pay for his services.
The new ownership group in New Orleans will have plenty of issues to address from this team that has played to one of the worst records in the league this season, but at the top of their list must be to lock up Gordon and ensure he becomes the building block for this franchise.
Although he has played in only a handful of games this season, Gordon has performed well in those games and has shown the pure scoring ability he had last season with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Among all of the reasons that the Hornets must match any potential deal for Gordon here are three that stand out.
The team needs a star
After trading away Chris Paul just before the season started, the New Orleans Hornets were left as a team without a star. Gordon was supposed to fill that role as the key piece that the team got in return.
Unfortunately for Gordon and the Hornets, he went down with an injury for most of the season. In the games that he has played since returning from injury, Gordon has performed well, given this team a spark and has shown how good he can be going forward.
In coming seasons, Gordon will be that star player that the team will desperately need. The Hornets will again have a very young team and will need the scoring and offense power Gordon can bring each night.
Justify the Chris Paul trade
Whenever a trade is made in the NBA, both teams like to feel like they received something good from the other team. It is always more tricky when All-Star players are involved.
Gordon was the main player the Hornets got back in the preseason trade and needs to have a chance to prove himself to the team and it's fans.
It is understandable that he went down with an injury, but it would not make sense for the team to allow Gordon to leave by not matching offers for him. Gordon deserves a chance to show the fans and the rest of the NBA that the trade was not bad for the Hornets and that he will be a great player in the league.
Matching Gordon with the players they will add to the team this summer in a strong NBA draft will decrease the time it takes the Hornets to rebuild.
Gordon is the best player on the team and the most important part of the future of the team going forward.
Draw in free agents
Keeping Gordon with the Hornets for the long term will not only help the team by having a strong player on the court, but it will also help other players to want to come to New Orleans as free agents.
It will not be long that many teams in the league will not be able to re-sign all of the players they want to due to upcoming luxury tax restrictions. Gone are the days where teams will just pay the tax to keep players as easily as they could in the past, resulting in a lot of good players looking for new homes.
With Gordon keeping the young Hornets respectable, it may take only a couple of big free-agent signings to get the team back to contention.
As other players see the things that Gordon is doing in New Orleans, they will look to the Hornets as an option to sign with that team and pair with a great scorer. If Gordon is allowed to leave, this greatly decreases the bargaining power the team has to use to draw free agents to play for them.
The New Orleans Hornets are not going to make a huge mistake by not matching any and all offers from other teams for Eric Gordon. Re-signing the young shooting guard to a long-term deal is the top priority of the Hornets this summer.
Gordon will be a key player and the scoring leader for the Hornets for several years to come.