Better Late Than Never for New Orleans Hornets to Trade Eric Gordon

Jimmy Spencer@JimmySpencerNBANBA Lead WriterApril 9, 2013

Mar 15, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) dribbles against the Washington Wizards during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA Today Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gordon isn’t the right fit for the New Orleans Hornets.

He’s talented, no doubt, but Gordon is suited for a team built to win now and not a Hornets team that is building around potential superstar big man, Anthony Davis.

The Hornets must make trading Gordon a priority this offseason.

As teams fail to land high-priced free agents this summer, the list of buyers will open up for a high-priced talent like Gordon.

Gordon's contract, which doesn't end until after the 2015-16 season, per

 According to
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Eric Gordon $14.28 million $14.89 million $15.51 million


Gordon's ceiling remains high.

He's just 24 years old and, before missing much of the last two seasons with injury, he scored 22.3 points on 45 percent shooting and averaged 4.4 assists per game in 2010-11 with the Los Angeles Clippers.

This season he is averaging 16.5 points and 3.2 assists. In 37 games since returning from injury, Gordon has scored 20-plus points in just 14 games.

But despite down numbers, Gordon maintains a scorer's mentality. He's able to step back and knock down jumpers with consistency, and he has the rare ability to dance into the lane and finish.

But it's also a tough sell, as Gordon has only played in 46 games (51 if he finishes this season) in the past two seasons.

Gordon, after being traded to New Orleans from the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the 2011 offseason Chris Paul deal, missed six weeks of last year's shortened season following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

Prior to this season, Gordon opted against microfracture surgery and instead chose to do further rehab that cut his recovery time down to the first 29 games of this season.  

While his play hasn't returned to the numbers he established with the Clippers, the bigger issue for New Orleans has become the disgruntled attitude of their starting guard, highlighted by an on-court incident with coach Monty Williams.

From's Andrew Aragon on April 6:

Hornets coach Monty Williams and point guard Eric Gordon got into a screaming match during a timeout ... Millsap had just scored on a putback to put Utah ahead 55-47 and New Orleans called a timeout. Williams was visibly agitated, yelling in Gordon's direction. He had to be held back by assistant coach Randy Ayers after Gordon hollered back at him, and when the team went to the sidelines, Williams continued screaming at Gordon. Gordon, the team's leading scorer, did not return to the game after the confrontation.

And let's not forget, Gordon didn't want to return to New Orleans.

As reported last summer by Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune, Gordon, a restricted free agent at the time, was disappointed the Hornets matched a four-year offer from the Phoenix Suns. "As for now, I don't know what's going on. (If the Hornets match) as of right now, I'd be disappointed."

Gordon, in that same interview, went on to tell reporters that he felt disrespected by the Hornets.

He added in the conversation, as quoted by Smith: "Obviously they're saying all that (about him being the cornerstone on which the franchise will rebuild) to scare everybody off. If I don't really hear that from them, and they haven't shown it. It wouldn't be like this right now."

So here we are, closing in on the end of his first season back, and Gordon has engaged in an on-court battle with his coach, he's underperforming compared to years past and the team is obviously rebuilding around even younger talent.

Gordon is not the cornerstone of the renewal process in New Orleans.

He understands that, hates it and it's becoming more clear that the relationship between him and the Hornets isn't the right fit for either side.

New Orleans wasn't able to move him at this past trade deadline.

But this offseason, as the shallow pool of available guard talent goes, it could be Gordon who is swooped up by one of the many teams in need of scoring.

It's vital that New Orleans takes advantage of the teams' needs and trades Gordon.

It just makes sense.