Woj: Rockets guard Eric Gordon picking up significant trade interest

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Ben DuBose
·3 min read
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There’s a “great deal of interest” from other NBA teams in trading for veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon from the Houston Rockets, according to an update from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski late Wednesday.

With the injury-plagued Rockets (11-23) having lost 13 straight games, the brief television segment focused on veterans who could be traded out of Houston as the league’s annual trade deadline nears later this month. As expected, Victor Oladipo and PJ Tucker were mentioned, since each is in the final year of his contract, and the Rockets probably don’t want to take the risk of losing them for no compensation in the offseason — all in a year where a playoff run is becoming increasingly unlikely.

But even though Gordon isn’t in the final year of his contract like Tucker and Oladipo, his age means that he may not be an ideal fit for Houston moving forward, should they begin something of a youth movement. Thus, Gordon might make more sense for a team looking to contend now.

Wojnarowski, who said the Rockets have been “very active” in trade discussions, did not mention what the trade return for Gordon might be. He also did not identify any specific suitors.

Now 32 years old, Gordon is averaging 17.8 points and 2.7 assists in 29.3 minutes per game this season, and he’s looked much more explosive after missing much of last season with various leg injuries. At 58.4%, Gordon is shooting the highest percentage on two-pointers of his NBA career, and he’s also proven to be an adept perimeter defender.

While some fans have speculated that Gordon’s contract could limit his trade value, a closer look reveals that it’s not as bad as it might appear. Technically, Gordon is in the first season of a contract extension worth up to $75.6 million over four seasons. However, the final season — worth $20.9 million in 2023-24 — only becomes guaranteed if Gordon becomes an All-Star, or if his team wins the NBA title. To put it mildly, the All-Star scenario is quite unlikely. And if the final year is guaranteed by Gordon’s new team winning a championship (and earning the associated cash influx), that’s likely a “problem” that any suitor would love to have.

In effect, Gordon most likely has a three-year contract worth $54 million, and the initial season is partially paid for already. There’s also the reality that the NBA’s play-in tournament for the final two postseason seeds in each conference has brought more teams into playoff contention, and thus brings less competition to true “sellers” like the Rockets. In other words, Gordon may be one of the best available players on the market.

That could provide an opportunity to Houston general manager Rafael Stone, and it would be a surprise if he didn’t at least explore it.

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