Jan 21, 2012, 2:55 PM EST
When the Hornets traded Chris Paul for multiple players including Eric Gordon, there was a concern that due to their rebuilding process, Gordon may not be willing to spend his years in the Big Easy wasting away through a lottery reconstruction. Gordon is entering restricted free agency, after all, and a signing of the qualifying offer and exit in free agency the following year would allow him to pick where he wanted to go.
But there’s a problem.
The money is so important coming off that first rookie contract.
It’s the first contract that gets you real money, that sets you up for future raises and puts you into veteran dough. To be sure, the millions structured in the rookie scale aren’t a pittance. But that money, the security, especially for a player with Gordon’s injury issues, is vital. He can get it done now, and have it. If the Hornets are willing to make the call. And if Gordon decides that’s what he wants. And the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that’s exactly what’s happening.
“I’m very open to a long-term extension,” said Gordon, the seventh pick in the 2008 draft. “It’s all about having enough security to where I’m able to be here.”
Gordon said his agent, Rob Pelinka, has had ongoing dialog with the Hornets about an extension, and that the Hornets have expressed an interest.
“You know they’ve told me they want me here, they want an extension,” Gordon said. “But it’s all about what they think is the worth in me. They see that I’m capable of helping this team win, capable of playing hard every night offensively and defensively. Now it’s all about dealing with what I’m worth.”
In short, with Gordon dealing with another injury issue, the Hornets want to see if they can get him at a discount. And based off Gordon’s desire for that security, they might be able to. But Gordon could also be using public statements to put pressure on the Hornets to give him the max. If they don’t, he’s able to say “I wanted to stay, they didn’t come through.”
But if the statements have any truth to them, the Hornets are going to have their star player for the foreseeable future. And that’s some good news to come out of a bad year for the Hornets.
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