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Eric Gordon regrets comments he made in restricted free agency

Dec 21, 2012, 8:58 PM EDT

Eric Gordon AP

Eric Gordon‘s rehabilitation from injury is progressing to the point that he’s expected to rejoin the Hornets very soon. The relationship between Gordon and the hometown fans has been tenuous at best,  thanks to some comments he made last summer while immersed in the restricted free agency process.

“I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now,” Gordon said, after the Suns signed him to a maximum four-year, $55 million offer sheet that New Orleans ultimately decided to match.

Gordon has yet to step on the court for the Hornets since making those remarks, but explained the reasoning behind them in an interview with Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

Gordon told Yahoo! Sports he regretted those words, but there was a reason he was so cavalier.

“Of course I did [regret it],” Gordon said. “But that was the only way to push the table on the Hornets. To get a deal done I was willing to negotiate. My agent and I were going through negotiations with them. But they weren’t leaning into really giving me one. So I had to ride with Phoenix and from Day 1 they weren’t playing games.”

Gordon was intent on getting a maximum deal and signing it prior to trying out for the Olympic team in mid-July. He felt the Hornets were taking advantage of his restricted free-agent status by taking their time. Without the maximum offer he sought from the Hornets, Gordon instead signed with Suns on July 10. The Hornets eventually matched the deal.

The business side of professional basketball can be tough for fans to swallow, especially when one of their team’s best players so openly declares his desire to play for someone else.

Only time will tell if New Orleans will get a performance out of Gordon that will match the dollars and years the franchise committed to him. But at least from the player’s perspective, he seems aware of his past mistakes, and is more than willing to move on and prove his worth to the Hornets organization.

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