THURSDAY, 4:48pm: The Pelicans have officially announced that Gordon has opted in for next season.
WEDNESDAY, 7:50pm: Eric Gordon has decided to exercise his player option for the 2015/16 season and return to the Pelicans, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). The move was widely anticipated, as Gordon would likely have had a difficult time topping the $15,514,031 he is scheduled to make next season on any new deal. This sets up Gordon to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, and a strong 2015/16 campaign could serve to inflate his value just in time for the salary cap to increase courtesy of the league’s new television deal kicking in. John Reid of The Times Picayune had previously reported that Gordon was likely to opt in.
Besides the obvious payday associated with opting in, Gordon will also have the opportunity to play for Alvin Gentry, who was coach of the Suns when Gordon signed Phoenix’s offer sheet back in 2012, which New Orleans matched, and Gordon is still fond of Gentry, according to Reid. Gentry is known for his offensive expertise, and Gordon could become revitalized in an up-tempo attack. The negative regarding Gordon opting in, is that it defeats any chance that New Orleans had to open max-level cap room for next season without making significant salary clearing trades. New Orleans now has more than $56MM in guaranteed salary committed against a projected $67.1MM cap for next season, which includes Gordon’s option amount.
Gordon appeared in 61 contests for the Pelicans last season, averaging 13.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists in 33.1 minutes per game. His career numbers are 16.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per night. His career slash line is .437/.383/.809.