Eric Gordon has largely made up his mind to pick up his player option worth more than $15.514MM to stay with the Pelicans for next season, a source close to the Rob Pelinka client tells John Reid of The Times Picayune. Gordon signaled as much back in March when he referred to 2015/16 as a contract year, and the latest development would come as no surprise even if he hadn’t dropped that hint, since Gordon’s stock has taken a hit since he signed his existing contract, originally an offer sheet from the Suns, in 2012. Gordon told Blake Schuster of the Indianapolis Star a few days ago that he had yet to come to a final decision, but Reid’s source indicated that Gordon would formally make his choice within the next 10 days in advance of the June 29th deadline for him to officially opt in.
New Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was coaching the Suns when Gordon signed the Phoenix offer sheet, which New Orleans matched, and Gordon is still fond of Gentry, Reid writes. The offensive maestro will no doubt try to unlock Gordon’s dormant scoring touch. The former seventh overall pick has seen his scoring average decline each of the past four seasons, from a career high of 22.3 points per game as a Clipper in 2010/11 to this past season’s 13.4 PPG. This year’s blistering 44.8% three-point shooting accuracy, his best mark in seven NBA seasons, is nonetheless cause for optimism.
A Gordon opt-in would close off any chance the Pelicans might have had to open max-level cap room without making significant salary clearing trades. New Orleans has more than $40MM in guaranteed salary against a projected $67.1MM cap for next season without Gordon’s option.