April 13, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Hornets head coach Monty Williams with shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) during the second half of a game against the Utah Jazz at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Jazz 95-86. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
I know how it looks. We all know how it looks. This isn't a pretty situation. Ideally, the Hornets would have approached Gordon with a less than maximum offer and he would have smiled, talked about earning his salary and signed it. Then we all would have talked about our past struggles over some coffee at Cafe du Monde. Instead, full blown panic is in place here in Hornets land. And I get it. As I said, I know how it looks.
It's important to note that we all anticipated Gordon signing an offer sheet and the Hornets matching it. We hoped it wouldn't be a maximum offer but that was the plan all along. I, myself, said that was a complicated plan because it sends the wrong message. It's not simply about letting the market dictate your value and then the Hornets paying that. It's about sending a message to your player. The Hornets didn't go out and approach Gordon and say we want you here, this is what we'll give, these are the plans we have for you. And I get it. Gordon only played 9 games last year and a lot of you think he's not worth it. But Phoenix did. So I forgive Gordon for feeling how he feels now.
More than likely, Gordon will stay. This is simply a process of restricted free agency. I believe Gordon feels slighted and, while it's unwise for him to continue to throw the franchise under the bus, cooler heads will prevail once the offer is matched and he returns to the team. It seems so odd to go from Dell Demps, just a week prior, mentioning how Gordon was committed to the team and how they were committed to him to going to this now. It also seems weird that Steve Nash said he couldn't put on a Lakers jersey because of the rivalry and then openly calling Kobe Bryant up to go and join him in Los Angeles.
Players are people and they're impulsive. It's a good thing they have contracts because, if left to their own devices, they'd probably switch things up every year. I know it's not pretty and I know a lot of people feel slighted. I feel slighted too. I felt Gordon would sign a deal, the Hornets would match it, and it would be business as usual. The more he opens his mouth, the more I open mine to bash him. Then I stop aside and calm down. And I feel like the fans here really need it.
Just over six months removed from Chris Paul being traded, I just think we feel jilted at the altar. It's been a great off season, the trains are moving forward for once as it relates to our franchise and, let's face it people, our best player had strong words for the franchise in Phoenix and stronger words, in my opinion, for the franchise in New Orleans. But it also seems like he's making up excuses to leave (Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley being a better core? Drafting Austin Rivers as a sign that the Hornets have a different plan?).
This is restricted free agency. This is the risk the Hornets assumed by being blase about the process in the first place. Gordon is going to talk to other teams, flirt with other teams, maybe fall for some of them and then open his mouth to tell everyone about it. We should have anticipated that. The Hornets will match the offer and Gordon will return. When he does, I ask for the resentment to not be so prevalent. If he continues to hate after the offer is matched and continues to pout then we can hate away. Until then, I think a little more clarity and a lot less chaos is in order.