Eric Gordon Trade Makes Perfect Sense for Golden State Warriors

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterFebruary 20, 2013

According to the New Orleans paper The Times-Picayune, the Hornets are exploring an Eric Gordon trade. Specifically, they're exploring an Eric Gordon trade to the Golden State Warriors

Now, there are reasons for the Warriors to be wary of acquiring Eric Gordon, reasons that are likely propelling the Hornets to shop him. Gordon is oft-injured and makes upwards of $58 million over four seasons.

To make matters even more troubling, Gordon has exuded discontent with his situation in New Orleans ever since they ignored his wishes and retained him in restricted free agency. Here, he gives to a group of reporters what Deadspin termed the "World's Most Awkward Interview" on the matter. 

So those are the warts. The guy gets hurt a lot and might not be a company man. I still believe that the Warriors should move, or at least strongly consider, moving the rumored Klay Thompson package in exchange for Gordon's services.

I use the "strongly consider" caveat because it's hard to divine just what is wrong with Gordon medically. The "knee soreness" description is vague, and if Golden State's investigation reveals something much more serious, then staying away from this deal might be wise.

But in a vacuum, knowing what we know now, I like this trade for Golden State. In the short term, their salary-cap situation remains largely the same, and Eric Gordon is a more talented player than Thompson.

After that short term, the final two years of Gordon's deal kick in, and his $30 million owed takes up a large swath of salary space. This would likely make the retaining of Andrew Bogut an impossibility.

For now, the latter aspect of this isn't the worst news in the world. Bogut has barely played for Golden State, and his impact hasn't been felt on the team when he has played. 

This is certainly a risk for the Warriors, especially if they do find Bogut's services valuable in the future. 

I'm just inclined to lean towards the better player, regardless of risk. Gordon hasn't been good this year, but his past work far outpaces Klay Thompson's. Though Thompson is a three-point sniper, he can't get to the rim, and it's partially why he has a mediocre 53.5 true shooting percentage. 

Thompson also struggles to create for others after that first pump fake. Gordon, though not shooting well this season, at least can penetrate and dish.

The Warriors are lacking in players who can break down a defense. They're in the bottom third in attempted free-throw attempts and shots taken at the rim.

Eric Gordon can help the Warriors improve on that front, without giving up much of what they'll lose in Thompson. Gordon can shoot from long range, just like Thompson can. Though Thompson is taller, Gordon compensates for his short build with a 6'9'' wingspan. 

Teaming up Stephen Curry and Gordon will not be another Monta-Steph situation, because Gordon can actually guard his position. The risk isn't so much that this tandem won't work, but that it won't be healthy enough to work. 

That's a scary possibility, but bold moves are necessary when you're sub-elite. Nobody will give the Warriors contender status. They have to take it, possibly with moves like this.