Early Wednesday morning Yahoo! Sports Mark J. Miller reported that NBA commissioner, and current owner of the New Orleans Hornets until the NBA can find a suitable buyer, David Stern had given Hornets GM Dell Demps permission to offer a four-year extension to Eric Gordon. The Hornets then chose to play hardball with Gordon’s agent and both sides were unable to reach an agreement by the 9 p.m. Wednesday deadline. As the deadline for members of the 2008 draft class to reach an extension, Gordon and his agent chose not to accept the deal the Hornets were offering as they felt that it was not they deal they were looking for.
As I stated earlier the Hornets were allowed earlier in the day to offer Gordon a four-year extension but it was not the sort of deal that Gordon was looking for. Gordon had hoped to get a deal exactly like what Russell Westrbook got in Oklahoma City, five-years $80 million. Apparently the Hornets, as well as Stern, did not feel that it would be in the best interest of the team to sign Gordon to such a hefty deal.
Although this whole ordeal will probably be spun negatively Stern actually made a good decision. Gordon, although still young and very talented, is not a Russell Westbrook type player. This is also evidenced by the fact that Gordon has had his run-in with injury problems. Gordon has missed 46 games in the past two seasons due to a wrist injury and has played just two games for the Hornets this season because of a knee problem. Also to add injury to insult Hornets head coach Monty Williams said on Wednesday that Gordon would probably need three more weeks before he could rejoin the team.
After all of this one still has to wonder what David Stern is really doing. After he nixed a trade that would havesent Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, Stern and Hornets GM Dell Demps went back to the drawing board. Stern and Demps then came up with, what they felt, was a better trade sending Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in return for Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Minnesota’s first round pick. After the trade went through Stern was asked whether the Hornets would, “be free to make any approved basketball decisions, including signing Gordon, as long as Stern signed off on the deal.”
Stern continued to re-emphasize this sentiment insisting that he would like to sign Gordon to an extension as he is the type of player you can build a franchise around. Hornets GM Dell Demps also said that Gordon, “Gordon is a big-time scorer and one of the best (shooting) guards in the league.” Ultimately though the two sides could not reach an agreement. What this means is Gordon will now become a restricted free-agent this summer, and may choose to test the free-agency market. But even if Gordon does decide to test free-agency, albeit restricted free-agency, teams interested would only be able to offer Gordon four-years anyway and the Hornets could match any offer sent Gordon’s way.
If it comes down to the fact that Gordon is unhappy in New Orleans and would like to leave, then the only option for Gordon to do this would be to accept a one-year qualifying offer for next season, allowing him to become an unrestricted free-agent after next season.
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