When James Harden was traded by the Houston Rockets this past January, Eric Gordon became the longest-tenured Rocket on the roster.
EG has been through all of the highs with the Rockets, and he’s won five playoff series with the team over the course of his five years with the team.
Those five years include this past season when the Rockets plummeted into the doldrums of the league and a 17-win campaign.
Gordon was not a primary factor as to why the Rockets lost so much considering he missed 45 games this season and played just one game after the All-Star Break.
With the news surfacing this week that John Wall was looking for a new home, attention now begins to direct itself toward Gordon as the Rockets must figure out what to do with his future.
As Kelly Iko stated in The Athletic, Gordon is in “NBA Limbo.”
The Rockets drafted four 19-year old players in this summer’s NBA Draft and have several other young players worth playing, including Kevin Porter Jr. and KJ Martin.
The writing is on the wall: Gordon does not fit this team’s timeline.
However, like Wall, Gordon faces a bit of a dilemma. Trading a player who missed 45 games last season that is set to make nearly $38 million over the next two seasons isn’t easy to do if you don’t want to give up future draft capital.
Unlike Wall, Gordon is showing signs that he is going to play for the Rockets this upcoming season. He joined the team in a pre-camp trip to the Bahamas and has forged strong relationships with the rookies, looking to mentor them as they venture into their hopefully long NBA careers.
Rookies like Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba would love to have a career like Gordon’s, one that spans three decades, nets him millions of dollars, and has him contributing for contenders into his 30s.
Even though Jalen Green is projected to be on a superstar higher than Gordon’s level, having Gordon on the roster can be a blessing and a curse for the second overall pick.
There’s a very good chance Gordon comes off the bench for Green to begin the season, but having EG there could pierce into Green’s playing time. That being said, having a crafty veteran guard like Gordon can be beneficial towards Green’s development.
This shows that the Rockets have made an effort to find Gordon a new opportunity to contend on a playoff-bound roster and it shows that the Rockets are likely displeased with the current market for Gordon.
But if the Rockets play Gordon for the first half of the season, perhaps he can build enough trade value to be dealt at the trade deadline and all sides can walk away content and ready for the next chapter.