Eric Gordon is the last core player left on the Houston Rockets from the James Harden era. Just a few offseasons back, after some poor stretches during the season, Gordon’s contract was looked at as a “bad contract”. Now after an increase in cap room and reset in the market for role players in the past few offseasons, his contract does not stand out.
With a young roster and value in the aforementioned contract, Houston seems to be in an ideal position to trade Gordon. In addition to that, this offseason’s free agency market is notably scarce and trades have been the route that teams are going to fill out their rosters. With shooting being an all-time necessity in today’s NBA, Houston could look to move Gordon as an asset instead of cap relief.
New Orleans Pelicans
There might not be a team that lost out more in free agency than the New Orleans Pelicans. Not only did they lose out on their hopes of landing points guards such as Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry, they as well lost key contributor Lonzo Ball.
Similar to the next team mentioned (The Dallas Mavericks), the Pelicans have a young superstar in Zion Williamson. In the past, Pelicans have messed up a rebuild by trading for veterans with bad contracts in pursuit of expediting a young star’s success (i.e. Anthony Davis). For that reason, they may feel hesitant to trade for players such as Gordon who they may view as fitting the bad contract classification.
The one technical issue with this trade is the Pelicans would have to offload quite a few end of rotation players to make the cap room work. With an already thinner than most roster, the Pelicans may hesitate to do so. With that being said, if they are looking to improve their team around Williamson, a reunion with Gordon may be one of the most optimal routes left available for them.
Players Likely Included For Cap Purposes: Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr, Naji Marshall, Trey Murphy III
For the last few years, the Dallas Mavericks are constantly in rumors about acquiring shooting role players. With superstar Luka Donicic entering his prime, the Mavericks should be a leading candidate to pick up or trade for someone of the skills with Gordon.
One of Dallas’s biggest issues in previous years has been the production of their bench (or when Doncic goes off the floor). While Gordon doesn’t fill the desire for a floor general for the second unit, he is one of the best spark plugs off the bench (2017 Sixth-man of the year)
Dallas could look to wait into the season to make a move like this as there is not neccasily pressure to do it now. It is possible Dallas lets the market settle and as well evaluate their team before making the call to add someone to the bench such as Gordon. Regardless of when, if Dallas were to trade for Gordon, he will fill a vital role on their near championship-level team
Players Likely Included For Cap Purposes: Dwight Powell, Trey Burke (or Josh Green)
Los Angeles Clippers
Ever since Kawhi Leonard joined the Clippers, they are constantly in rumors to improve their team via trade. With another disappointing first-round exit, the Clippers are likely trigger-happy to improve quickly and will find it hard to do with very tight cap space.
If the Clippers view Gordon as someone who will push them in the playoffs with his play off the bench. The Rockets could leverage him in an attempt to get a pick in addition to the players mentioned below for cap purposes. Similar to the Mavericks, a trade like this could happen within the season if the Clippers struggle out the gate.
Players Likely Included For Cap Purposes: Luke Kennard, Keon Johnson
The market for a player like Gordon has never been hotter and the Rockets should look to capitalize on that landscape. Rafael Stone has made quite savvy moves since his placement as Rockets general manager, hopefully, he can continue that trend if he looks to trade Gordon.
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