The Hornets, as expected, officially have matched the Phoenix Suns’ 4-year, $58 million offer sheet to restricted free agent guard Eric Gordon.
The Hornets announced, regardless of Gordon’s countless comments recently encouraging the team to allow him go; it had submitted its matched offer to the Suns.
“There is always a business part to the NBA when handling contracts, but I never lost my appreciation of the New Orleans followers,” Gordon expounded in a statement released by the team. “I look forward to giving my absolute best on the court this season to make our team successful.”
Added Hornets GM Dell Demps in the statement: “Eric is a remarkable player that we are excited to have in our franchise.”
Now that they’ve missed out on Gordon, free agents O.J. Mayo and Courtney Lee are at the very top of the Suns’ wish list to pair with incoming point guard Goran Dragic.
“While we are disappointed that Eric won’t be a Sun at this time, we have no regrets in doing all that we could under the rules to bring him to Phoenix,” Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby related in a press release.
Gordon was limited to 9 games last season because of a bruised right knee that needed minor surgery. Nonetheless he averaged a team-high 20.6 points, and New Orleans was 6-3 when he played.
The Hornets acquired Gordon a little before last season in a multiplayer trade that sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the L.A Clippers.
In 4 seasons in the NBA, Gordon never has averaged fewer than the 16.1 points per game he scored as a rookie.
In this 3rd season, injuries limited him to 56 games with the Los Angeles Clippers, but he averaged 22.3 points.
Demps and Hornets coach Monty Williams never hesitated in saying Gordon was New Orleans’ best player and a vital part of the club’s long-term future.
Still, Gordon’s 1st season in New Orleans left many fans wondering about whether he actually wanted to be in the Big Easy. After scoring the winning basket in the Hornets’ season opener in – of all places – Phoenix, he sat out for about 2 weeks while trying to recover from his bruised knee. He attempted to come back in a loss to Philadelphia on January 4, but the knee was still disturbing him.
He then went through a lengthened and apparently fruitless 6-week rehabilitation period that sparked debate among fans over whether the high-scoring guard was refusing to play. Those discussions heated up further when Gordon refused the Hornets’ 4-year agreement extension offer at a late-January cut-off point for teams to finish extensions with players who were due to become restricted free agents after the season.
In mid-February, Gordon and the New Orleans Hornets finally opted for surgery, and Gordon returned triumphantly on April 4, scoring 15 points in a shock victory over playoff-bound Denver. Vegas odds
New Orleans Hornets, which won only 21 games all season, won 8 of its last 13 thanks in large part to Gordon’s come back.