Position: Shooting Guard
2011-12 Statistics: 20. 6 points, 3.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game
If you want to be technical, Eric Gordon isn't technically on the Hornets roster yet(neither is Ryan Anderson, until his trade to New Orleans is made official by league offices). Gordon is a restricted free agent and, if he had his way, he'd be a member of the Phoenix Suns.
Instead, he'll end up being a very rich and miserable man in New Orleans once the Hornets inevitably match Phoenix's max offer.
Gordon hasn't done himself any favors by openly complaining about not wanting to be in New Orleans. However, when you look closely at Gordon's beef with the team, he has a legit case.
He claims the team didn't contact him during the offseason and then he sat back and watched the team draft a similar guard in Duke's Austin Rivers. Naturally, it gave Gordon the impression that he was unwanted in the Big Easy. He also thinks the team is using the rules of restricted free agency to hold him in New Orleans, where he doesn't want to be.
It's a matter of miscommunication between management and its star player. Yes, GM Dell Demps and head coach Monty Williams should have done a better job of getting Gordon on the same page prior to Phoenix offering Gordon a huge contract. That's their fault.
However, it's Gordon's fault for letting ego and insecurity convince him into committing public image suicide. Gordon's going to be in New Orleans for a while(unless he foolishly leaves Phoenix's offer on the table and signs a one-year deal so he can hit free agency next season). It's not wise to irritate the fans by voicing your displeasure in the media.
You should learn from Dwight Howard, Eric. Once the fans turn on you, your career is in deep trouble. You gain nothing from making yourself look like a selfish jerk, as Howard is doing with his Brooklyn pipe dream.
Now, if you want to get technical again, Gordon was the team's leading scorer last year. Of course, he only played in nine games. That's why Gordon should just be fortunate to have been offered a max contract. Gordon's lack of durability has plagued him throughout his career. He owes it to Hornets fans to put together a healthy season and become the star we think he'll be.
As unfair as Gordon thinks the restricted free agency process is, it's also unfair to the fans to watch the centerpiece of the Chris Paul trade whine aloud about how the team low-balled him in January with a $40 million offer.
If Demps and Williams can keep Gordon content and Gordon can stay healthy, this Hornets team could do big things. Gordon is a vital part to New Orleans' big picture. It's important that management makes that point understood with their franchise player.
Otherwise, Gordon won't technically be an ex-Hornet in four years. He'll actually be one.