Like most small market teams, the New Orleans Hornets have had difficulty holding on to their best players. Given the structure of NBA free agency and the success of most large market franchises, teams like the Hornets always run the risk of losing their stars.
As free agency approached for the two best Hornets players since the team moved to New Orleans, fans like me knew our doom was upon us like we were counting down the Mayan calendar. David West left for the Indiana Pacers and the Hornets wisely traded Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers before he could leave as well.
The top player acquired in the Chris Paul trade was Eric Gordon. To be sure, Gordon had his ups and downs in New Orleans this past season. A bizarre knee injury and doubts about his desire to play in New Orleans had Hornets fans wondering if Eric Gordon would fit into the team's long term plans.
However, in the nine games that Eric Gordon played in for the Hornets, New Orleans was 6-3. Given the flashes of brilliance that we saw from Gordon coupled with the impending selection of Anthony Davis, the Hornets' rebuilding process could be complete in the blink of an eye.
Sounding a lot like Drew Brees, Eric Gordon recently stated that his main goal is to secure a long term contract. His situation is different from Paul and West in that Eric Gordon is a restricted free agent. Even if another NBA team like his hometown Indiana Pacers decides to break the bank to sign Gordon, the Hornets can match the offer.
When Hornets head coach Monty Williams stated that Eric Gordon likes New Orleans, I wondered why he couldn't just say that himself. Well now he has. Eric Gordon recently said that he likes the city, the fans and the organization.
The cynical view is that because he's a restricted free agent, it doesn't matter whether Eric Gordon likes New Orleans or not. However, the last thing the young, hungry Hornets need is a disgruntled, bad influence in the locker room. If New Orleans signs him to a long term deal, Eric Gordon's comments seem to indicate that he'll be a happy camper.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. A loyal New Orleans NBA fan, Patrick was a diehard New Orleans Jazz fan and now cheers for the Hornets. Patrick was in the New Orleans Arena the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
"Eric Gordon 2011-12 Game Log," basketball-reference.com
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