NBA Rumors: Eric Gordon Would Push Phoenix Suns into Playoff Picture
Gordon has signed a max offer sheet with Phoenix worth $58 million dollars over four years. According to The Republic, the Suns' front office won Gordon over after he also considered offer sheets with Indiana and Houston.
"After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible," Gordon said in a statement through his agent, Rob Pelinka. "(Suns Managing Partner) Mr. (Robert) Sarver, (President of Basketball Operations) Lon Babby, (General Manager) 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."
The Suns have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, the first time they have done so in consecutive years since 1987-88. With Steve Nash being fitted for a Lakers jersey, Phoenix needs the scoring punch Gordon would provide.
Gordon is not a Sun quite yet, though. The New Orleans Hornets still have a chance to match the offer sheet and retain their star shooting guard.
However, Ric Bucher of ESPN confirms Gordon feels more strongly about the way Phoenix is constructing its roster, worrying that the Hornets would not have room for both him and Austin Rivers, both of whom are combo guards.
In Phoenix, Gordon would join forces with Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley, both of whom have also agreed to terms with the Suns. These three players would reshape the face of the organization moving forward with Gordon at the forefront.
Nash may be gone, but the group that is taking his place averaged a combined 43.8 points per game last season. Gordon put up his 22.6 points in only nine games due to injury, but he had 22.3 points per game with the Clippers the year before.
Where the Suns have recently consisted of a star point guard and a revolving cast of mediocre talent, Phoenix's roster is now balanced better. Dragic played like a borderline All-Star in his time as a starter in Houston. To pair him with Gordon, one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, is to give Phoenix an offensive powerhouse in the backcourt.
With Phoenix's improvement in this offseason, the playoffs are now very much within reach. After all, they were still a .500 team last season at 33-33, finishing only three games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The Suns are losing Nash's 12.5 points and 10.7 assists per game, but their two leading scorers remain in Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley.
If Alvin Gentry wanted to go small inside and put Beasley at power forward, he could play a lineup consisting of Dragic, Gordon, Dudley, Beasley, and Gortat. That is a much more potent lineup than Phoenix has had in recent years, and one that could play into May for the first time since 2009-10.
There is a big "that said" involved here, though. That said, without Gordon, Phoenix has no elite scoring threat. His ability would lift Dragic from being a good point guard to a very good one, and it would allow the forwards to operate inside by keeping defenses focused on the perimeter.
All across Arizona, Suns fans must hope the Hornets will let Gordon go rather than resign him against his will. If the Suns do get Gordon, he will single-handedly make the difference between a small step of improvement and a giant leap back into the playoffs.
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