This is not a referendum on Eric Gordon. Whatever your thoughts on him as a player, it seems nearly certain his time with the Rockets either ended when he went out with an injury last season or will end as quickly as can be effectively managed by the Rockets.
It truly doesn’t matter if you think he’s good, bad or indifferent, in terms of his Rockets career. What he is now is, at best, an player asset to be traded for some value, or at worst, a contract to be shed at a hopefully minor cost to the Rockets.
So, Gordon is undoubtedly on the trade market, and probably has been for quite some time. With the NBA draft in the rearview mirror, and the free agency officially opening Monday at 3pm EST (wink, wink), it seems possible that Eric Gordon will join a new team soon.
Eric Gordon has three years remaining on his contract. His deal is, roughly, $18 million this season, $19.6 million in 22-23, and $21 million in 23-24. This is a disadvantage to the rebuilding Rockets, but for certain teams, three years of team control could be considered an advantage.
Gordon’s salary is not out of range for his skills and position. He’s a two way combo guard who can score at three levels. Well, a two way small SG in any case, though due to his solid frame and strength, he’s been able to successfully defend from the 1 to certain 3s in the NBA.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks expects the top four FA NBA shooting guards to earn approximately what Gordon is earning now, and a similar wage increase over several years seems likely as well. Those players are Norman Powell, Tim Hardaway Jr, Gary Trent Jr, and Evan Fournier. None of those players seem clearly better than Gordon. Like Gordon, each one has significant strengths, and weaknesses.
What teams could use his services? Will the Rockets need to wait for other chips to fall before he can be moved?
Let’s look today at teams with cap space (as of the NBA year reset on Monday). These are teams with likely space already available, and also space cleared through not opting to renew contracts, or re-sign certain players. This is, of course, before any free agent signings.
Rumor has it that many teams have a similar FA plan this off-season, with many of those plans seemingly revolving around former Rocket Kyle Lowry. Obviously only one team will sign Lowry, and others will need to look at other options. That’s where Gordon might enter the picture. His skills are clear, and his contract is in line with the market.
Here are a few possible destinations based either on cap space, what I think of as a good fit, or a combination of both.
New York Knicks - The Knicks more or less traded out of the draft, and have been clearing space. Their cap room could be above $73 million, so they could sign or trade for a premium free agent (some speculate, Chris Paul) and Eric Gordon. This would solve what showed itself to be a glaring weakness in the Knicks-Hawks series - the lack of anyone who could reliably score the ball.
Miami Heat - Now that Tyler Herro is worth considerably less than James Harden, perhaps the Heat would consider Eric Gordon instead, especially if they don't re-sign Dragic and Robinson. The Heat, without those signings, should have around $29 million in cap space, so Gordon again could presumably be traded into cap room.
Indiana - There were rumors that Houston and Indiana were in serious trade talks pre draft, with Gordon being the centerpiece. Gordon is an Indiana native, and his deal would offer the Pacers three years of team control. This is an important consideration for a team that is not thought of as a free agent destination. A trade involving TJ Warren, Jeremy Lamb or Myles Turner are possibilities. The Pacers did draft Chris Duarte, so perhaps they consider Gordon’s niche filled.
Dallas - If the Mavs don’t re-sign Tim Hardaway Jr, Gordon might be a possibility there. Josh Richardson has already been moved, so it seems as though the Mavs would be looking for more guards, and more shooters that Luka Doncic can find. Gordon worked well with James Harden, there’s no reason to think he might not work with Luka. Of course the Mavs coach is now Jason Kidd, so anything is possible.
Those are a few options, and others might open up. What are your thoughts?
Eric Gordon will be...
This poll is closed
traded within the season.
play out the season with the Rockets.
be Luka’s bestest, best, friend.