Kevin C. Cox
Eric Gordon has been connected to the Houston Rockets. How likely is a Gordon deal?
It's no secret that Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets have been interested in Eric Gordon in the past, but with New Orleans matching a massive offer for him and the Rockets acquiring James Harden, it seemed like that ship had sailed. Now, as the NBA Trade Deadline approaches, there are new rumors coming out, with the Rockets reportedly checking in on Gordon.
Here's an excerpt from Chris Broussard's article on ESPN Insider:
I'm told a Gordon trade this season is highly unlikely, with one source with knowledge of the situation telling ESPN.com this week that, as things stand, there's "less than a 10 percent chance'' New Orleans would move Gordon before the deadline. Still, the fact that the Hornets made calls around the league implies that they are at least warming up to the idea of moving him at some point.
Word is Dallas, Houston and Golden State are among the teams that have inquired about him. Houston envisions playing him alongside James Harden and Jeremy Lin in its fast-paced system, with Harden at small forward.
Of course, both Houston and Dallas view Gordon as Plan B. Both clubs are saving their max cap room this summer to make a run at the disgruntled one, Dwight Howard. If that falls through, the loser(s) will turn their eyes to Gordon, among others.
Gordon is only one of the many options Houston would consider if it can't land Howard. Several executives have said the Rockets have interest in Philadelphia's Andrew Bynum, assuming Bynum returns from his knee injury for a significant chunk of the season's second half and plays up to his typical All-Star form. That might be a big assumption, though, with Bynum's recent comments about still suffering pain in his knee.
Whatever the case, the Rockets aren't expected to be as active next week as they typically are around the deadline because of their desire to save their cap space for the summer. I'm told they're not in play for Zach Randolph, Danny Granger or Pau Gasol, as has been often rumored.
It's a single report and Broussard has certainly missed before, but Gordon's name is quite interesting. As Broussard notes, a trade for Gordon would necessitate a corresponding move of Harden to the three, displacing Chandler Parsons. Parsons would likely be included in any deal for Gordon, but do the Rockets really want to go down that path?
What's unique with Gordon in comparison to the other players listed that the Rockets aren't interested in (Gasol, Granger, Randolph) is that he fits in exactly with what the Rockets want to do for now and the future. He's young, can score, and is under team control for three more seasons after this one. A Gordon acquisition would bear fruit both now and in a couple of years. The question is whether it's worth the risk.
If they could acquire Gordon, say, for a package of Parsons, Morris, Donatas Motiejunas and Cole Aldrich (unlikely), they would be capped out and committing to a core of Lin, Gordon, Harden, and Asik for the foreseeable future. That team would be young, dynamic, and score a ton, but would it be a championship contender? I don't think so.
Morey has cap room this summer, a number of good, young pieces, and a young core to build around. If Morey's going to cash in his chips for anyone, he'd better be sure that the Rockets could compete for a championship with that player.
There is no doubt that Gordon makes the Rockets better. But the marginal benefit is nothing compared to the potential huge reward that comes with landing a free agent coup this summer. I'm not willing to say that I'd be completely opposed to a Gordon deal, but I would definitely have to be convinced.