Eric Gordon

Southwest Notes: Gordon, Chriss, Mavs, Pelicans, Spurs

Rockets guard Eric Gordon has been the subject of plenty of trade speculation already this season, and those rumors figure to continue heating up with the February 10 deadline just a few weeks away. However, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes, Gordon isn’t dwelling on the possibility that he could be playing for a new team next month.

“I’m not even thinking or worried about that,” Gordon said. “Things happen. Get traded or not, you’ve still got to play the game of basketball. Fortunately, I’ve been here for going on six years now, and it’s been really good. I know the situation I’m in. I’m looking to just continue to play my game and look forward to continue to thrive with this group of guys.”

A Monday report indicated that the Rockets are expected to seek a first-round pick in any Gordon trade.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • Marquese Chriss‘ new two-year, minimum-salary contract with the Mavericks includes a fully guaranteed salary for 2022/23, according to Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link).
  • New Mavericks president of basketball operations Nico Harrison will be involved in some key decisions at this season’s trade deadline, but he’s hoping to get a good look at the roster at full strength before making those decisions, per Brad Towsend of The Dallas Morning News. “I think you can always improve,” Harrison said. “But as I look at our team, we haven’t been whole for a while. I’m really excited to see how [good] we are, now that we’re whole.”
  • Examining the Pelicans‘ outlook for the trade deadline, Will Guillory of The Athletic contends that the team should try to acquire one more reliable perimeter player, while Christian Clark of NOLA.com makes a similar argument, writing that the team lacks consistent creators in its backcourt.
  • Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia has joined the Spurs as a minority owner, as first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and officially announced by the team. The franchise has brought in multiple minority stakeholders since Peter J. Holt took over as managing partner in June, according to Charania, who says 13 previous investors have sold off equity. Besides Gebbia, other new minority owners include Bay Area investment firm Sixth Street and Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Technologies.

Rockets Want First-Round Pick For Eric Gordon

The Rockets are seeking a first-round pick in any trade involving veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

According to Scotto, multiple playoff-caliber teams are monitoring Gordon. A report last month stated that the 33-year-old is on the Knicks’ radar.

Through 38 games (29.3 MPG), Gordon is having his best season as a shooter, establishing new career highs in FG% (.505) and 3PT% (.455). He has averaged 14.9 PPG and 3.3 APG for the rebuilding Rockets.

Although Gordon’s stats are impressive, it will still be a challenge for Houston to land a first-rounder for him unless the pick is heavily protected or the deal requires the Rockets to take back an unwanted multiyear contract.

Gordon’s age and injury history diminish his value, and his current shooting percentages likely aren’t sustainable — he shot .410/.355/.807 during his first five seasons in Houston. His contract also isn’t especially team-friendly. He’s making $18.2MM this season, $19.6MM in 2022/23, and $20.9MM in ’23/24, though that final year is non-guaranteed, making the deal a more palatable investment.

Gordon is one of several Rockets veterans expected to be on the trade block in advance of the February 10 deadline. Daniel Theis, D.J. Augustin, John Wall, and Christian Wood are among the team’s other trade candidates, though Wall’s gigantic contract will likely ensure he stays put, and Houston would require a substantial return to move Wood.

Scotto’s Latest: Bulls, Hawks, Finney-Smith, Thunder, Rockets

The Bulls figure to explore potential roster upgrades at the trade deadline, but they’re resistant to the idea of moving Patrick Williams, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.

If the Bulls want to make a major move at the deadline, it may have to involve Williams, 2020’s No. 4 overall pick, since the club has already traded away multiple future first-rounders. Williams’ ability to help the team this year may also be limited, since a wrist injury is expected to sideline him for most or all of the regular season.

Still, based on Scotto’s reporting, it sounds as if Chicago will likely hang onto Williams. One Bulls player who is available in the right deal is 2019 lottery pick Coby White, rival executives tell Scotto.

Here’s more from the HoopsHype Podcast:

  • Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari could be had for a first-round pick or as part of a larger package, rival executives tell Scotto. I’m very skeptical any team will be willing to give up a first-rounder for Gallinari unless they can dump an unwanted long-term contract on Atlanta. Scotto adds that execs believe Hawks forward Cam Reddish is more likely than not to be on the move at the deadline.
  • Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith and Thunder forward Kenrich Williams are among the role players on modest contracts who are drawing trade interest from playoff teams, says Scotto. Oklahoma City is obviously more likely than Dallas to be a seller, but rival executives believe there may be an opportunity to poach Finney-Smith since he and Jalen Brunson are free agents in 2022 and re-signing both would likely make the Mavs a taxpayer.
  • Playoff-caliber teams are also monitoring Rockets veterans Eric Gordon and Daniel Theis, according to Scotto. They’ve been mentioned multiple times this season as potential trade candidates, since they probably don’t fit the timeline of a rebuilding Houston squad.
  • League sources tell Scotto that Thunder rookie Aaron Wiggins is a good candidate to have his two-way contract turned into a standard deal at some point this season.

Stein’s Latest: Simmons, Hawks, Ingles, Cavs, Blazers

Although it’s possible the Sixers will trade Ben Simmons before the February 10 deadline, their preferred scenario would be to convince him to rejoin the team and play as much of the rest of the season as possible, a source familiar with Philadelphia’s thinking tells veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein.

Trading Simmons in the next month for the best available package would improve the Sixers’ chances of competing in the short term, but the team fears that taking that route may mean squandering an opportunity to land a true complementary star for Joel Embiid, says Stein. Convincing Simmons to play the rest of this season would improve the club’s short-term outlook while also leaving the door open for Philadelphia to make an offseason play for a star, should someone like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal become available.

One league source who spoke to Stein suggested keeping an eye on the Hawks as a potential suitor for Simmons. Atlanta badly needs to upgrade its defense and president of basketball operations Travis Schlenk said this week that he plans to be active at the trade deadline in an effort to improve his struggling squad (Twitter link via Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

The Hawks don’t have the sort of trade candidate who would appeal to the 76ers as the centerpiece of a Simmons trade, but have several young players and draft picks they could put on the table, as Stein observes.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • The Jazz considered the idea of trading Joe Ingles during the offseason, but decided against it due to concerns about how it would affect the team’s culture, says Stein. However, Danny Ainge has been hired by Utah since then and may be less reluctant to move Ingles if his expiring contract is necessary to land a defensive-minded wing.
  • The Cavaliers continue to seek more play-making after acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Lakers, per Stein. Cleveland has lost two key guards – Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio – to season-ending injuries.
  • According to Stein, teams are keeping a close eye on how the Trail Blazers handle Damian Lillard‘s abdominal injury, since an extended absence for the star point guard would likely impact Portland’s approach at the trade deadline.
  • There has been an “undeniable uptick” in trade discussions around the NBA since the holidays, according to Stein, who identifies Myles Turner, Jerami Grant, Dennis Schröder, Eric Gordon, Terrence Ross, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, Robert Covington, and Jusuf Nurkic as some of the players considered league-wide to be this year’s most likely trade candidates.

Western Notes: Murray, Ibaka, Warriors, Gordon, Wiseman

Nuggets coach Michael Malone has tempered expectations about Jamal Murray‘s return date, Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets. Malone said on a radio interview with 92.5 FM Altitude Sports that fans shouldn’t expect to see Murray return from his knee injury in January or February. The organization is taking it very cautious with their franchise point guard.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Clippers big man Serge Ibaka admits he’s frustrated with his playing time but he won’t become a distraction, according to Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times. “I’m going to be honest with you, as a human being it can be frustrating,” Ibaka said. “As a coach, [Tyronn Lue] tries to do his best he can to keep the team together, to keep the team playing the best basketball you can and as a player, like, hard worker, someone who loves basketball like me, I want to play, too. . . . but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop being professional.” With Isaiah Hartenstein out of action, Ibaka scored 17 points in 20 minutes off the bench against Sacramento on Wednesday. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • Arctos Sports Partners is increasing its stake in the Warriors from 5% to 13%, Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams of Sportico report. The team is valued at about $5.5 billion in the deal, the same valuation as when Arctos bought its initial 5% earlier this year. A majority of this new equity is coming from minority partners, with a small portion from the team’s main owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the Sportico report adds. The deal must be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors.
  • The Rockets’ Eric Gordon, who has battled knee problems in recent years, is playing both ends of a back-to-back this week for the first time this season, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “This was the plan long ago,” Gordon said. “I’ve been feeling pretty good all year. This was definitely the plan before the season started. But I will be looking forward to playing back-to-back.”
  • Warriors big man James Wiseman could advance to on-court contact next week, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Wiseman has been rehabbing from offseason knee surgery.

Eric Gordon On Knicks’ Radar

Rockets shooting guard Eric Gordon is among the players the Knicks have discussed internally as potential trade targets, a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Berman cautions that the Knicks’ list is a long one, so there’s certainly no guarantee that the club will actually pursue Gordon, who turns 33 on Christmas Day.

However, Berman contends that the Knicks could use more three-point shooting and notes that point guard Derrick Rose has tried to recruit Gordon to New York in the past — the two veterans have a long history, having played AAU ball together.

Gordon has played well for Houston this season, averaging 14.7 PPG and 3.1 APG on .477/.434/.712 shooting through 24 games (29.9 MPG). He probably doesn’t have a long-term future with the Rockets though, since he’s a holdover from the pre-rebuild version of the squad and his timeline doesn’t fit with the organization’s new young core.

Still, it’s hard to envision the Knicks making a serious play for Gordon, who has a guaranteed $19.6MM cap hit in 2022/23 and a non-guaranteed $20.9MM salary in ’23/24. Pairing Gordon with Evan Fournier, another shooting guard in the same salary range, doesn’t seem like the best use of the club’s resources, and the Rockets almost certainly wouldn’t have any interest in Fournier, whose contract doesn’t expire until 2025 (guaranteed through ’24).

Rockets Notes: Wood, Shooters, Christopher, Green

Rockets big man Christian Wood thinks the team’s impressive turnaround is for real, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN. The Rockets started the season 1-16, but had won seven in a row prior to Friday’s 123-114 loss to the Bucks. Wood admits he wasn’t necessarily expecting the winning streak, but believes in the team.

A little surprising, but we’ve always believed,” Wood told ESPN on Friday. “We’ve always stayed together and always had that team chemistry. We know that we’re better than a 1-16 record and better than what we were showing. We never put our heads down. We just stayed together.

I believe it’s real. Especially with Jalen Green being out, which is a key piece, points that [would be] on the board that are not. We’re still managing to win games. And with Kevin Porter Jr. out. I think we’re even better than we’re showing. We’re just clicking.”

The two young guards are sidelined with hamstring and thigh injuries, respectively.

Here’s more from Houston:

  • The Rockets have benefited from excellent shooting from players like Eric Gordon, Garrison Mathews, and Armoni Brooks of late, Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle writes. Gordon has even been taking some mid-range shots, a relic of the past in Houston with its analytically driven approach. The shooting and ball movement has led to better spacing for the entire team, Huq notes.
  • Ethan Fuller of BasketballNews.com writes that the Rockets have been successful with an unlikely group of heroes. He mentions Mathews, Brooks, and Jae’Sean Tate as being particularly noteworthy.
  • Josh Christopher, the 24th overall pick of the 2021 draft, had a breakout performance on his 20th birthday on Wednesday, notes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Iko takes an in-depth look at Christopher’s development, stating that stints in the G League have been beneficial for the young rookie.
  • Green says he’s “making good progress” in his recovery, but there’s still no timeline for his return, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

Rockets Notes: Wall, Augustin, Sengun, Simmons, Theis, Gordon

As we previously detailed, John Wall met with Rockets management on Sunday, including general manager Rafael Stone and head coach Stephen Silas. Wall informed his bosses he would like to return to the court and be a starter again. Since the Rockets would prefer to have him play a limited role off the bench, the two sides reached an impasse.

However, the situation remains fluid, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Silas said the Rockets will continue to have conversations with Wall while he works himself into game shape over the next couple weeks.

Rafael and I did meet with John (on Sunday) and he had indicated that he wants to play and work towards that so right now we’re in that phase as far as getting him back in game shape,” Silas said. “He’s been doing a lot of one-on-oh type stuff and one-on-one type stuff but nothing up and down, nothing four-on-four, five-on-five.

Right now is the ramp-up time. That’ll probably take a couple weeks. We’ll continue our conversations and try to determine what it looks like.”

Here’s more from Houston:

  • Silas said backup point guard D.J. Augustin is in the health and safety protocols, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. It’s unclear how long Augustin will be sidelined.
  • In his latest mailbag, Kelly Iko of The Athletic tackles a number of topics. He believes rookie Alperen Sengun will stay in his current bench role, especially since the Rockets have finally found some success (winning three straight after starting 1-16). He thinks Sengun will eventually get more minutes as the season progresses, but writes that Christian Wood is playing too well right now as the lone big man to disrupt his rhythm.
  • Within the same column, Iko says he doesn’t think the Rockets have any interest in Ben Simmons, but they could potentially help facilitate a deal involving multiple teams. He says Houston is committed to Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green as its backcourt of the future.
  • Iko also believes that offseason addition Daniel Theis and shooting guard Eric Gordon will be available if the price is right. Theis has fallen out of the rotation recently, but he’s a veteran with a proven defensive presence, and his contract (four years, $35MM, with $26MM guaranteed) will likely be easier to move than Gordon’s (two years, $37MM guaranteed).

Rockets Notes: Losing Streak, Gordon, Silas, Wall

The frustration in Houston has increased as of late, with the Rockets‘ losing streak reaching 15 games, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle writes. The Rockets didn’t enter the season expecting to make the playoffs, but the goal was to be more competitive than they’ve been so far — the team has an NBA-worst 1-16 record.

Head coach Stephen Silas wants his club to keep its collective head up, telling reporters that when the Rockets eventually end this slide and look back on it, they’ll see the character they built by fighting to end the streak.

“We have 19-year-olds on the floor,” Silas said, per Feigen. “We have a young 21-year-old point guard (Kevin Porter Jr.) We have a second-year player (Jae’Sean Tate) playing the three. Christian Wood is still a young player. We’re looking at other teams that have gone through this, and we’re staying positive. And we’re keeping the pressure on as far as coaching the guys and making sure we’re at least attempting to do the right things as much as possible.”

Here’s more on the Rockets:

  • Eric Gordon began the season as the Rockets’ sixth man, but has started the last three games. As Feigen writes for The Houston Chronicle, head coach Stephen Silas‘ hope is that playing alongside Gordon will make it easy for rookie Jalen Green to create off the dribble. “Being out there with Eric helps him because Eric is a vet and he knows what he is trying to do and what he’s trying to get to,” Silas said of Green.
  • Feigen of The Houston Chronicle and Kelly Iko of The Athletic both recently published mailbags examining several Rockets-related topics, including how much patience the team will have with Silas. Feigen suggests Houston should give Silas “a leash that is years long, not weeks,” while Iko says he remains confident that the team’s current coach can be the one to successfully lead the multiyear rebuild.
  • Veteran point guard John Wall, who is being held out of games until the Rockets can find a trade partner, may be getting a little restless. As Dan Feldman of NBC Sports notes, Wall agreed on Monday night with a tweet that said he’s “getting punished for something (he) can’t control.”

Southwest Notes: Mavs, Grizzlies, Rockets, Pelicans, Gordon

Appearing on the podcast 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he has a vaccine mandate for his employees.

“It is your choice. It is absolutely, positively up to you. But there are consequences that come with that,” Cuban said, per Selby Lopez of The Dallas Morning News. “If you work for me, I require my employees to be vaccinated unless there’s a doctor’s reason where they can’t be.”

Since the NBA doesn’t require its players to be vaccinated, that mandate doesn’t apply to the players on Dallas’ roster such as Trey Burke, who said during training camp he remains unvaccinated.

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic interprets the Grizzlies‘ summer trades of Jonas Valanciunas and Grayson Allen as signals that the team isn’t feeling pressure to take another big step forward after making the playoffs last season. Hollinger expects his old club’s end-of-season record to look similar to last year’s, projecting a 41-41 finish.
  • Hollinger also recapped the offseason and previewed the upcoming season for the Rockets and Pelicans. He was confused by Houston’s four-year commitment to Daniel Theis, given that most other veterans on the roster seem to be on the trade block, but expects the Rockets to be entertaining in 2021/22, projecting 26 wins. Hollinger had mixed feelings on New Orleans’ offseason, but suggests the moves look better in totality than they did individually at the time, and forecasts 43 wins for the Pels.
  • Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle explores whether the Rockets should hang onto Eric Gordon or focus on trying to find a trade that gets him to a contender as soon as possible. As Huq observes, it’s difficult to find a good match for Gordon at this point, so it probably makes sense for the team to sit tight and see if more opportunities open up by the trade deadline or next offseason.