I was one of the few people who was glad that something shady went down in December when the Chris Paul to the Lakers trade fell through in mysterious fashion. We may never know what actually happened when David Stern swooped in and prevented the trade from going through, but I will remain forever grateful. Put me in the category of fan that wants to win a championship, not root for a team that is a 2nd-round playoff out every year. Therefore, going through a tough time period right now by blowing the roster up instead of rebuilding on the fly with a lesser potential team is my preferred way of rebuilding.
So, when I heard the news that the Hornets were landing a possible superstar in Eric Gordon and Minnesota's #1 pick in the loaded upcoming draft, naturally I was ecstatic. A trio of Gordon, Anthony Davis, and Michael-Kidd Gilchrist was a legitimate possibility for a while there. While that excitement has tapered off because of the Timerwolves' improved play, I still hoped that along with Gordon, those two picks would become the core for a championship contender in four to five years. However, when the January 25th contract extension deadline passed and Gordon was not extended by the Hornets, I heard a lot of chatter that the Commissioner would not be a Hornet much longer. Most were saying that he has his heart set on his home state Indiana and they loved him back. My reaction? "WE JUST FREAKIN' GOT THE GUY!!"
But, I'm a pragmatist. The realization that keeping Gordon long-term would be an expensive proposition, and with his apparent recurring knee injury, it might not be in the Hornets' best interest to throw money at the guy in hopes that he stays healthy and develops into the superstar that he certainly can be. Recent history shows that having a good to great shooting guard is a constant on championship team:
Dallas Mavericks (2011) - Jason Terry
Los Angeles Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010) - Kobe Bryant
Boston Celtics (2008) - Ray Allen
San Antonio Spurs (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007) - Manu Ginobili
Miami Heat (2006) - Dwyane Wade
Detroit Pistons (2004) - Rip Hamilton
For a while there, expecting Gordon to compete with the likes of those names (Kobe and D-Wade would be a stretch) was a reasonable thought. But with his recent knee troubles it would be risky for these Hornets to rely on him too much. I've said before that in order for this organization to win a championship in the future, it is absolutely necessary to take risks on players. When it comes to injuries, though, Greg Oden has scared me into submission. The Hornets front office would be smart to wait it out on Gordon and see him through a successful comeback this year before they attempt to sign him to a long-term deal.
To answer the question I pose in the title of this: Yes. But management will have to be smart financially because becoming tied down to a guy who gets injured every year will be a fatal blow to the Hornets.