7 NBA Teams That Would Be Perfect Fits for a Healthy Eric Gordon
Eric Gordon is one of the most talented scorers in the NBA, but injuries have dogged him in recent years. A knee injury limited him to just nine games for the New Orleans Hornets last season, and he has yet to appear in a game this season despite signing a long-term extension over the summer.
Even if he does get healthy in the coming weeks, Gordon made it clear during the offseason that he wanted to continue his career elsewhere. Unfortunately for him, he was a restricted free agent, and the Gilbert Arenas Rule allowed the Hornets to match any offer he received and subsequently agreed to. Given his feelings on the matter, plus his injury, New Orleans GM Dell Demps should look to trade his star guard.
Gordon is bound to attract a good number of teams, even if he has not played this season. The former Hoosier holds a career mark of 18.2 points per game and has made 37 percent of his threes.
Those numbers are respectable for any scorer, let alone an undersized shooting guard, and a small handful of teams would be wise to contact Demps about Gordon's services.
No. 7: Atlanta Hawks
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Atlanta is playing some great basketball this season, which is surprising considering how GM Danny Ferry traded star shooting guard Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets last summer. The team stands 14-7, but could still use some help at the 2.
The current starter there is Devin Harris, who continues to struggle with his scoring after an off 2011-12 season in Utah. He is averaging just 7.7 points per game and shooting only 32 percent from long range.
Gordon would be another heavy contract on the books, something Ferry got rid of in trading Johnson. Despite that, the Hawks could use another reliable scorer on the offensive end. They are playing well now, but Josh Smith and Jeff Teague cannot do it all alone.
Al Horford is capable of helping out on offense, but is focused solely on his defense this season and only scoring when absolutely necessary. A reliable shooting guard is needed, and Gordon can provide just that.
Yes, $58 million over four years is a lot to take on, especially for a guard whose knees are becoming a problem. Just the same, Gordon's skills speak for themselves, and his ability to score a lot of points in a hurry could help Atlanta get over the hump come playoff time.
No. 6: Chicago Bulls
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Like Atlanta, Chicago is not really desperate for any help. It finished the past two seasons as the NBA's best team, and at 13-9, are actually playing quite well without star point guard Derrick Rose.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, the backcourt could still use a lot of help in the meantime. Rip Hamilton is injured yet again, and Kirk Hinrich has struggled running the point during Rose's recovery. Marco Belinelli and Nate Robinson have been good off the bench, but both are more shooters than well-rounded 2-guards.
It would take some creativity on GM Gar Forman's part to acquire him, but a healthy Gordon would be a great fit in the Windy City. Not only would he help Rose shoulder some of the scoring load, but he would stretch the floor and help form a great core foursome of himself, Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah.
It's definitely a risky trade, as Hamilton is injury prone enough and Gordon's injury woes also seem to be becoming an issue. Still, Gordon is just 23 compared to Hamilton, who is 34. He is thus still young enough to bounce back from injury faster, and Chicago should immediately contact the Hornets if he becomes available.
No. 5: Utah Jazz
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Utah coach Tyrone Corbin runs an offense centered around his two big men, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. The guards contribute as necessary, but third-year man Gordan Hayward has yet to fully break out after being selected with the ninth pick in 2010.
This season, the former Butler Bulldog is averaging a career-best 13.3 points per game, but has shot just 41 percent from the field. He has talent as a shooter, but lacks the overall athleticism to become much of a difference-maker on the NBA level.
The Jazz have looked great as a whole this year, but need an electrifying guard to help get them back among the elite. Acquiring Gordon will cost GM Ted Lindsey a pretty penny, likely one in the form of either Millsap or Jefferson, plus draft picks.
It's an expensive trade, but Gordon and Jazz point guard Mo Williams spent half a season together with the Los Angeles Clippers. This prior history could make for a fine backcourt tandem and definitely help Utah get back into regular contention.
No. 4: Cleveland Cavaliers
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The Cavaliers needed a go-to guard for second-year floor general Kyrie Irving and selected Dion Waiters (pictured) out of Syracuse with the fourth pick. Though talented, Waiters still has much to learn on the NBA level. He is averaging 15.2 points per game and shooting 36 percent from long range, but has shot just 36 percent from the field as well.
Waiters is currently out with an ankle injury, and the rest of Cleveland's guards have not been much help. C.J. Miles and Daniel Gibson have talent, but are essentially useless outside of three-point shooting.
Team management really needs a consistent producer at the position, and Gordon could be their man. He owns a career field-goal percentage of just over 45 and has a natural scoring touch.
Cleveland would, and should, be understandably wary of trading for him. After all, Irving has already been injured quite a bit, and this is only his second year in the league.
It would still be worth it for them to roll the dice on Gordon. His experience would be welcome in the team's young lineup, and his knack for scoring in bunches would help young Waiters in further developing his game in the coming years.
No. 3: Minnesota Timberwolves
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Minnesota GM David Kahn took a big gamble this offseason when he convinced guard Brandon Roy to come out of retirement and sign a two-year contract with the Timberwolves. Roy had retired prior to the lockout-shortened season due to chronic knee issues, but chose to come back for 2012-13 despite injury concerns.
Thus far, it's looking like Roy made a mistake in coming back. He has only averaged 5.8 points on 31 percent shooting over five games, and recently had his seventh knee surgery.
Roy could return at 100 percent and immediately become a force, but Kahn would still be wise to look into trading for Gordon. Alexey Shved and Malcolm Lee are not ready to be full-time starters in the event that Roy retires again, and Gordon would provide Minnesota with the help it needs at shooting guard.
Gordon would also be in a fine position in Minnesota in that he would have a great young point guard in Ricky Rubio getting him the ball. With someone already creating plays for him, he would not have to worry so much about driving the lane and putting his body on the line, let alone creating his own shot.
Minnesota is going to be a good young team in the very near future, and Gordon fits the mold for the guard it needs very well.
No. 2: Indiana Pacers
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On paper, the Pacers are not a good fit for Gordon. The team already has Paul George and Danny Granger as its two top scorers, and given how the Pacers were the No. 3 team in the Eastern Conference last season, they are not really in a position where giving either man up is at the top of the front office's to-do list.
However, trading Granger for Gordon would actually be a great idea, and here's why.
Look at it this way. Granger is the Pacers' best scorer, but his scoring has dropped each of the past four seasons, from 25.8 points per game in 2009 down to 18.7 last season. At age 29, it is very possible that he has peaked already.
Trading him is easier said than done, as he has missed all of this season with a knee injury and is not expected back for at least another couple of months. Just the same, it would be wise for GM Kevin Pritchard to explore a deal for Gordon.
Not only is Gordon from Indianapolis, but he also played his college ball at Indiana University. Playing for the Pacers would be the ultimate homecoming for him, as many of the fans likely watched him play in high school and at college. Hurt or healthy, he would have the full support of the fans and usher in a new era of success in Indiana.
No. 1: Phoenix Suns
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This season was destined to be a tough one for the Phoenix Suns, as point man and team leader Steve Nash headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. Team management brought in Goran Dragic to replace him and also forward Michael Beasley, both of whom were expected to be perfect fits for Phoenix's fast-paced offense.
Instead, neither man has really been much of an offensive catalyst. Dragic has been decent, but does not have the same accuracy nor court vision of Nash. Beasley has struggled with his jump shot all season and is averaging just 11.1 points per game.
Suns GM Lance Blanks should thus reach out to Dell Demps for two reasons. First, the Suns need a spark on offense, and Gordon can provide it.
Also, believe it or not, it was the Suns with whom Gordon agreed to an offer sheet last summer before New Orleans matched it. He clearly wants to play here, and his scoring talents could immediately turn Phoenix from pretenders into under-the-radar contenders.
No matter where he plays, of course, Gordon's health is going to be a concern. Despite that, Phoenix's system is basically perfect for him. It just calls for him to do what he does best: score points.
If he can get his knees right and a deal can be made, his career can start fresh in the desert.