This past Thursday, during Tyreke Evans official introduction, Monty Williams dropped this tidbit:
"I think it's always important that we not only bring in talent like Tyreke, but we also have somebody who wants to be here, and that's something that's paramount to me as a coach," Williams said. "He's not somebody we have to continue to sell on why to come here. He wanted to come here and that spoke volumes for me. I'm excited about that.
If this set off any alarm bells, the name that should have immediately popped into mind was none other than Eric Gordons. We can still vividly recall all the numerous instances that have signaled a murky future, at best, in New Orleans. Recently, though, with all the busy off-season activity, the Gordon debacle was happily pushed to the back of the line.
Well, this quote brought much of it all back, and consequently, one should believe Dell Demps will continue to actively shop Gordon. Of course, it's easy to dismiss this notion, amid all the euphoric feelings of a revamped roster, but we shouldn't kid ourselves. There exist more reasons for moving Gordon rather than keeping him, in hopes he finally blossoms.
5 Reasons Begging for Gordon's Departure
1) Eric Gordon has never fully embraced New Orleans. From his heart residing in Phoenix, to the discrepancy between Gordon and the team's doctors, to last year's shouting match with Monty Williams, Gordon has usually been surrounded by controversy. Add the fact he has missed 97 games out of a possible 148 in our jersey, it's no wonder many fans feel his prerogative has never been to give us his all in the Crescent City.
With the recent acquisitions, it is conceivable Gordon will finally put away his angst but could, or more importantly, should Dell Demps give Gordon the benefit of the doubt? Some may argue, emotional issues are besides the point: a contract exists and the player must honor it. Unfortunately, it's not that cut and dried as it's vital one of the team's best players be on board with an organization's direction. A Monty Williams-led team demands it.
Moreover, Gordon's injury history alone, should be enough to wane Demps from placing his full trust in the fragile shooting guard ever again. The organization has largely been handicapped during his tenure and now, it seems it's important to the Benson ownership, the team gain back the trust of it's fans through winning. Even though I've largely been an ardent fan, trust and Gordon will always be on polar opposites of the spectrum.
2) Eric Gordon has never sat atop of Dell Demps wishlist. We all remember the failed Chris Paul to the Lakers trade. However, after David Stern's veto, did you know Demps continued to rework the deal instead of looking elsewhere? Obviously, he wasn't enamored with a deal centered around Gordon, and he almost resigned partially because of it.
In addition, after receiving a maximum contract, Gordon remains linked to multiple trade proposals: around last year's trade deadline and earlier this off-season. It appears Demps has never decidedly stopped shopping him. Considering the decisiveness demonstrated with the Holiday and Evans' deals, it's difficult to fathom the organization wasn't already planning this direction around the time of the last trade rumors.
Finally, after adhering to a strict regiment of no back to back games, Gordon's restriction was lifted in the final weeks last year. If preserving his health for the following season was the primary concern, the team wouldn't have deviated from the plan. There was no pressing reason to risk injury in the final days of the regular season, if Gordon was still considered a large part of our future plans. No, it was obvious he was being showcased, especially after we learned Gordon was dealing with painful scar tissue in his ankle that resulted in off-season surgery. One doesn't push a feeble and hurting player down a more strenuous path during the silly season for any other reason.
3) Tyreke Evans didn't agree to become the permanent 6th man. There has to be more behind the scenes than we're aware of. A player, who won rookie of the year, was considered one of his team's best players and hasn't reached his prime, SHOULD have reservations. It's just not in these athletes' veins to willingly accept this demotion of sorts, at this stage in their careers. However, we've gotten no inkling of them, as Evans is promising to do whatever the team commands.
Nor is it wise to agree to large degree of minutes possibly playing out of position -- at shooting forward. Tyreke knows where he is best-suited:
For me, probably running the show, but I don’t mind playing two-guard. I already played there, so I know that position pretty well, but I’m quite sure Monty Williams knows what I can do and the position I like to play, so you know, we’re just gonna go from there.
Nope, the once proclaimed mini-Lebron, isn't willingly coming on board to a small market team, one that has struggled in the standings for over the last several seasons, for a reduced role. Consequently, it's fair to say Evan's has been promised plenty more that we're unfortunately not privy to.
4) Dell Demps didn't kick off free agency hoping to first land another 6th man. With two glaring holes in the starting lineup, Demps is smarter than to seek another reserve at 12:01 AM, on the first day of free agency. A flawed team doesn't commit 44 million dollars to a reserve, let alone another one -- we're already paying Ryan Anderson a tidy sum to already fulfill this role.
In other words, the Pelicans have decided to invest roughly 40% of the overall salary on one position. When it comes to Eric Gordon's brittleness, initially, a deal like this may make sense. However, from an economic point of view, it goes against the rules of diversification, a fundamental principle of prudent investing. This is furthered by the fact our present roster has practically swallowed the entire cap. For a young team, that still has several holes but must also be concerned with extending contracts down the road, having that flexibility is a must.
Besides, super subs aren't normally signed first, not on talent-deprived teams. The Manu Ginobili's, Jamal Crawfords and Jason Terry's of the world are usually pushed into these roles once a team is sated with plenty of depth. Although the Pelicans are on their way to building a formidable roster, the team wasn't yet in position to worry about plugging secondary roles.
5) Depth at SG. In drafting Austin Rivers a year ago and playing him an extraordinary amount of minutes, the Pelicans committed themselves to this questionable experiment. Sure, they could abandon the plan, but it doesn't seem to make that much sense anymore.
Pleasantly, Rivers has shown he appears primed to give more productive minutes in the upcoming season. His performance in the 2013 Summer League has been a nice revelation, as through 3 games, he is averaging 17.3 points (46.5 FG%), 4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals. When you factor the growth, his friendly rookie contract and his tender age, gambling on Rivers over Gordon seems wiser.
Does Dell Demps truly believe the path to winning a championship revolves around a back-court of Jrue, EG and Reke? Highly improbable. Our current roster construction, Gordon's checkered past and high propensity for injury and, our now limited cap flexibility, demand Eric Gordon be moved in the near future.
However, don't expect the Pelicans to continue yelling this from all rooftops. The company line must currently be all about preserving Gordon's value. It's already going to be quite a task in accomplishing the endgame -- Demps will be forced to rely on Eric Gordon remaining healthy.