NBA Free Agents 2012: Who Can Replace Eric Gordon for Hornets If He Leaves?

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NBA Free Agents 2012: Who Can Replace Eric Gordon for Hornets If He Leaves?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After being traded to New Orleans in December 2011, Eric Gordon played only two games for the Hornets before an injury to his knee was discovered, shutting him down for three months.

Though Gordon only playsed in nine games for the Hornets, his 20.6 points and 1.4 steals averages during those nine games were enough to convince the Hornets that they needed to bring him back the following season.

Gordon will become a restricted free agent on July 1, and though some have questioned Gordon's desire to stay in New Orleans, the Hornets have indicated that they would be willing to pay whatever it takes to bring Gordon back to the Big Easy, even if that means paying him the maximum contract of $80 million over five years.

The Hornets would be able to afford this after recent salary cap clearing moves, namely trading Emeka Okafor, and the expected move to buyout Rashard Lewis's contract.

While it is likely that the Hornets' determination to bring Gordon back will result in him playing in New Orleans next season, the front office may decide that their salary cap space could be better used in other ways, namely signing a center to replace Emeka Okafor or making an upgrade at the point guard position.

If Gordon and the Hornets decide to part company, the team has several options that they would almost certainly explore to replace him as starting point guard.

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