Eric Gordon

Pacific Notes: Gordon, Tucker, Harden, Hachimura, Vanderbilt, Kerr

Injuries to Devin Booker and Bradley Beal have forced Eric Gordon to take on a larger role than he was expecting in his first few games with the Suns, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Gordon has made three starts already and ranks third on the team in scoring at 16.5 PPG. He’s also the team leader with 11 made three-pointers while seeing time at both guard positions.

“I am always comfortable. On a lot of teams I have been on, I have played a little bit of point guard and little bit of shooting guard,” Gordon said. “Even in playoffs and a lot of tough circumstances, and that is why I am here. Whoever is in and out I want to keep playing at a high level to where down the line, wherever it ends up being, whatever tough situation I will still find myself to be able to do well.”

The Suns have championship aspirations after trading for Beal and revamping their bench this summer, but they’re off to a 2-2 start. Gordon believes things will get easier once everyone becomes accustomed to playing together.

“There’s a lot of new guys. We’re all getting acclimated to one another,” he said. “I expect to just continue to get better as long as the games get better, as long as we play more games. Our chemistry’s getting better as you see. I’m definitely going to get shots and I’m gonna knock them down. Those (first) two games, things happen in this league, but the year goes along I expect to continue to shoot pretty well.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Coach Tyronn Lue expects P.J. Tucker to play tonight in his first game with the Clippers, tweets Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Lue told reporters that the process has already begun to integrate Tucker and James Harden, who were acquired in a trade with the Sixers that wasn’t finalized until this morning, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link). “It’s going to take some time, understanding process, rotations,” Lue said, “… but we’re excited about it … it’s going to take sacrifice whether shots … they’re willing to do it.” Also speaking to the media before tonight’s game, team president Lawrence Frank said Clippers officials studied how Harden adjusted his game when he was with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn and how he adapted to playing alongside Joel Embiid in Philadelphia (Twitter link).
  • Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, who’s missing his second straight game tonight, saw a specialist after he began to develop concussion symptoms, coach Darvin Ham said in his pre-game press conference (Twitter link from Dave McMenamin). Ham also said Jarred Vanderbilt, who has yet to play this season because of bursitis in his left heel, is making progress but is still limited to stationary drills.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr tells Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area that the 2022 championship was a “surprise” because the team hadn’t been at that level the previous two seasons.

Pacific Notes: Mann, Hyland, Gordon, Wainright

Asked on Thursday about the trade rumors surrounding Terance Mann, Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue indicated that he doesn’t want to see the guard go anywhere and expressed confidence that he’ll stay put.

“We love T-Mann, and T-Mann is gonna be here,” Lue said (Twitter link via Joey Linn of “So we’re not worried about what they’re saying outside, all the speculations. It’s a good thing to be wanted.”

Of course, the decision on Mann’s future won’t ultimately be made by Lue, but the Clippers have reportedly resisted including him in any offer for James Harden for months.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Bones Hyland‘s big night against his former team came to an abrupt end on Thursday when the Clippers guard sprained his left ankle in the third quarter vs. Denver. However, Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times hears that there’s some “initial optimism” that the injury may not force Hyland – who had scored 25 points in 24 minutes – to miss any regular season games. He’ll be reevaluated in a few days, the Clippers announced today.
  • Speaking to Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, veteran guard Eric Gordon named the Rockets, Warriors, and Bucks as some of the other options he had in free agency before he chose to sign with the Suns. “I felt Phoenix was onto something special,” Gordon said. “It was a tough decision, but I really think we have everything going on here from ownership, to coaches and to players. It’s hard to beat.”
  • The Suns are hoping that their release of Ish Wainright is “more of a logistical thing” rather than the end of their relationship with him, according to head coach Frank Vogel. As Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic observes, Phoenix has a two-way slot open and Wainright would be eligible to sign a two-way deal with the club if he clears waivers.
  • Within their season preview for the Pacific Division, Jovan Buha, Law Murray, and Anthony Slater of The Athletic agree that the best move of the offseason by a Pacific team was the Suns‘ trade for Bradley Beal. The Athletic’s trio cites Phoenix’s trade of Deandre Ayton, the Warriors‘ acquisition of Chris Paul, and the Clippers‘ unwillingness to increase their trade offer for Harden as the moves with the biggest potential to backfire.

Suns Notes: Ishbia, Nurkic, Booker, Watanabe, Ayton

Forget about the defending champion Nuggets. Forget about what the Bucks and Celtics have done in recent weeks. Suns owner Mat Ishbia confidently declares his team the best in the league, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic reports.

“We’ve got a great team. I think we’ve got the best team in the league,” Ishbia said. “Obviously, we’ve got to play it out. We’re really excited.”

Ishbia believes that Jusuf Nurkic, acquired in the three-team Damian Lillard blockbuster, is a “better fit” than Deandre Ayton, who was dealt to the Trail Blazers.

“We wish Deandre nothing but the best,” Ishbia said. “He was a great part of the organization, he’ll do great things in Portland, but for us, Nurkic is the better fit and it wasn’t my decision or a one-person decision. It was a unanimous decision that we think it was the right fit for our team.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • General manager James Jones is confident Devin Booker will feel comfortable as the main ball-handler, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets. “Devin’s a player. He’s figured out how to be effective on the ball, off the ball….He’s not gonna complain about having the ball in his hands more, so we’re looking forward to that,” Jones said. Jordan Goodwin and Eric Gordon will also serve as ball-handlers, he added.
  • Yuta Watanabe said one of the reasons he signed as a free agent was that he wanted to play again with Kevin Durant, Rankin tweets. They were teammates in Brooklyn. “I really enjoyed playing with him,” Watanabe said. “He’s a great teammate, great guy, great leader. After he was traded I was really sad.”
  • Ayton took a verbal shot at his former organization, hinting the Suns didn’t want him to succeed, Rankin tweets. “I’m with an organization that wants me and wants me to succeed,” Ayton said. “It’s a lot more passion when you feel that mentally and you’re seeing that physically as well. It’ll be a lot more grit and a lot more DominAyton this year.”

Stein’s Latest: Bahamas, Gordon, Thompson, Jones, Giannis

The Bahamas just had its most successful international run ever, winning a pre-qualifying tournament — and eliminating Argentina in the process — to have a shot at making next summer’s Olympics if the national team can win another six-team tournament.

FIBA drew some criticism for allowing veteran guard Eric Gordon to compete with the Bahamas, as he previously played for Team USA at the 2010 World Cup. However, as Marc Stein writes at Substack, Gordon does have a legitimate tie to the Bahamas — his mother was born and raised in the island nation, and the U.S. granted him permission to switch allegiances, likely due to his advanced age (he’s 34).

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Stein hears the Bahamian national team isn’t finished recruiting NBA players, with Evan Mobley, Isaiah Mobley and Naz Reid all eligible to represent the country. Stein also wonders if the team will recruit Klay Thompson, whose father, former top overall pick Mychal Thompson, is from the Bahamas.
  • Like Gordon, Klay Thompson would have to become a naturalized citizen in order to compete for the Bahamian team, and only one such slot is available in FIBA events. Thompson has already won a pair of gold medals with Team USA. His father neither confirmed nor denied that his son might attempt to compete for the Bahamas in the future, simply telling Stein, “We’ll see.”
  • Derrick Jones Jr. considered signing with the Heat in free agency, league sources tell Stein. The veteran forward, who played two-plus seasons in Miami, instead signed a one year, minimum-salary deal with the Mavericks.
  • The Lakers and Knicks are among the teams that may intrigue Giannis Antetokounmpo if he were to leave the Bucks in the future, according to Stein. The two-time MVP recently expressed a desire to keep winning championships, wherever that may take him. Antetokounmpo can become a free agent in 2025.

International Notes: Serbia, Bahamas, Gordon, Croatia

The Serbian national team has officially announced its 12-man roster for the 2023 World Cup, which tips off on Friday (Twitter link). The Serbians are missing star center Nikola Jokic, along with accomplished veteran guard Vasilije Micic, who made the move from the EuroLeague to the NBA this offseason.

However, the squad still features multiple current and former NBA players, starting with Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic. Heat forward Nikola Jovic, Sixers big man Filip Petrusev, and former Grizzlies guard Marko Guduric are among the notable players representing Serbia at this year’s World Cup.

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • The Bahmas defeated Argentina on Sunday in the final of an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament, with Suns guard Eric Gordon scoring a game-high 27 points, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Following the Bahamian victory, former NBA forward Andres Nocioni – who won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in 2004 – questioned whether it was fair for FIBA to allow Gordon to suit up for the Bahamas despite representing Team USA earlier in his international career (Twitter link). “Let’s not lose the essence of international competitions,” Nocioni added in a follow-up tweet.
  • A Croatian team led by Warriors forward Dario Saric and Clippers center Ivica Zubac scored an upset victory over Alperen Sengun and Turkey in the final of another Olympic pre-qualifying tournament on Sunday, as Eurohoops details. Croatia, the Bahamas, Cameroon, Poland, and Bahrain won this month’s pre-qualifying tournament to secure spots in next year’s Olympic qualifiers.
  • Vangelis Papadimitriou of Eurohoops highlights a handful of non-U.S. NBA players who could be difference-makers in this year’s World Cup, including Canadian forward RJ Barrett and Dominican big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

International Notes: Bahamas, Poland, Green, Lessort

Veteran Pacers swingman Buddy Hield submitted a team-most 17 points, while Suns guard Eric Gordon and center Deandre Ayton both made meaningful contributions during Bahamas’ 78-62 blowout win over Uruguay during the 2024 Olympics pre-qualifiers Saturday, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Bahamas will now square off against home team Argentina in the final of this year’s Olympic pre-qualifying tournament Sunday night, with the winner earning a spot in next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament. This is an entirely separate event from the FIBA World Cup, which tips off next week.

Here are more international hoops notes:

  • In winning one of this month’s Olympic pre-qualifying tournaments, Poland has now clinched a spot in the 2024 Olympic qualifying tournament, according to Eurohoops. Poland vanquished Bosnia and Herzegovina, 76-72, in the final. Napoli Basket small forward Michal Sokolowski paced Poland with 16 points and seven boards.
  • While playing their fourth FIBA World Cup exhibition game in Tokyo, Team Australia beat Team France 78-74. Boomers (and Mavericks) wing Josh Green departed the warm-up bout with a mild ankle injury, but the ailment appears fairly minor, per Olgun Uluc of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • After sitting out most of France’s training camp with an ankle issue, national team center Mathias Lessort has been given the green light to suit up for next week’s World Cup, reports Eurohoops. The Knicks own Lessort’s draft rights, though it remains unclear whether he will ever come stateside.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Gordon, Booker, Beal

Suns center Deandre Ayton led the Bahamian national team to a blowout victory over Cuba in a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament game on Monday, putting up 22 points and 10 rebounds in a game the Bahamas won by 41. Ayton, who said it felt “amazing” to represent his home country, was excited to team up with new Suns wing Eric Gordon, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes.

“Definitely lit,” Ayton said when asked about playing with Gordon. “Definitely something that you never thought would happen. He’s such a great player as well. Just having a feel for his game before we both hit training camp and start fighting each other to figure out some type of chemistry. I’m glad we’re handling that early. Just us trying to make some history now to make the Olympics is truly something special.”

Asked about the former No. 1 pick, Gordon said he believes he’s an ideal fit alongside Ayton both on the Bahamian squad and in Phoenix.

“He’s going to be a threat,” Gordon said. “So we needed to use him as much as possible. When he gets double-teamed, that’s when you got guys like me to space the floor.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Kevin Durant is a former MVP, a 13-time All-Star, and a future Hall of Famer, but former NBA star Kevin Garnett believes the Suns are Devin Booker‘s team, as he said during an episode of Showtime’s Ticket and The Truth (Twitter links). “So down the stretch, Booker’s getting the first look over KD?” Paul Pierce asked. “Abso-f–king-lutely, yeah,” Garnett replied.
  • Gerald Bourguet of outlines four ways that Bradley Beal can raise the Suns’ ceiling and make them legitimate championship contenders in 2023/24, noting that he’ll help carry the play-making load and can also be a spot-up threat when others are handling the ball.
  • In case you missed it, the NBA has announced the schedule for the league’s first ever in-season tournament. The Suns will face the Lakers on November 10, followed by Utah (Nov. 17), Portland (Nov. 21) and Memphis (Nov. 24).

Pacific Notes: Gordon, Ayton, Thompson, Booker, Paul, Watanabe

Eric Gordon, who joined the Suns as a free agent this summer, is playing alongside new teammate Deandre Ayton with the Bahamas national team this month, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic notes.

The new Suns guard scored 12 points as Bahamas defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 87-81, Monday in an exhibition game in Puerto Rico, Rankin tweets. Ayton didn’t play in the exhibition. Gordon played for Team USA in 2010. Team Bahamas will play in the FIBA Americas Olympic pre-qualifying tournament August 14-20 in Argentina.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson had a dust-up with the Suns’ Devin Booker early last season and was ejected for the first time in his career. However, Thompson now characterizes it as a moment of weakness. Appearing on Paul George‘s Podcast P, Thompson expressed his admiration toward Booker, Rankin relays. “He survived a tough regime in Phoenix where everyone is getting traded,” Thompson said. “He’s playing for a new coach every year. Now he’s franchise player who just kept working. I admire the guys who have work ethic like that.”
  • During the same podcast, Thompson said he’s thrilled the Warriors acquired Chris Paul and believes the veteran point guard will elevate his game. “That’s one of the greatest players ever,” Thompson said. “He’s top 75. He’s elevated every franchise he’s ran the point for and me as a shooter, I’m excited because I know CP is going to put it right here on the seams. He’s going to set me up nice. I’m going to get a couple of easy extra buckets every night. And he’s a winner. I’ve played against him so many times and seen how competitive he is. He’ll do anything to win and that’s the vibe you want, you know, with the Dubs.”
  • Yuta Watanabe was one of many free agent pickups for the Suns and Gerald Bourguet of takes an in-depth look at Watanabe’s strengths and weaknesses. Bourguet concludes that Watanabe will be an elite spot-up weapon who will fit in extremely well off the bench.

And-Ones: D. Rivers, M. Jackson, Bahamas, Shooting Tech, Contracts

After letting go of Jeff Van Gundy last month, ESPN/ABC has also laid off fellow analyst Mark Jackson, sources tell Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Jackson confirmed the news in an interview with Peter Vecsey, Marchand adds (via Twitter).

As Marchand writes, the new top NBA broadcast team at ESPN/ABC will be comprised of longtime play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, former Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and Doris Burke, who is being promoted. The hiring of Rivers and promotion of Burke aren’t yet official, but they are “quickly moving in that direction,” according to Marchand.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirms Marchand’s reporting (via Twitter).

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The SunsDeandre Ayton and Eric Gordon, Pacers wing Buddy Hield, and Hornets big man Kai Jones are on the 2024 Olympic qualifying roster for the Bahamas, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. The Bahamian national team will play its qualifying games in Argentina from August 14-20. “I’m excited to be back playing for Team Bahamas and to see how much the program has grown,” Ayton told Spears. “Can’t wait to play with my guys. It’s truly a special experience to compete with teammates – who are from where you’re from – with Bahamas on your chest.”
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN details how Breakaway Data — a startup focused on the biomechanics of shooting — has partnered with Overtime Elite and Las Vegas Summer League to provide detailed breakdowns of each player’s shot. “I thought it was very informative,” Overtime Elite product Amen Thompson, drafted fourth overall by the Rockets, told ESPN. “Not everything works for everybody, but that [data] can’t really be a bad thing. It can only help to get as much information as possible. I felt like that’s what it gave us.”
  • Which players have inked the most lucrative contracts in NBA history? Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype provides the list. Jaylen Brown‘s new super-max extension with the Celtics is the current largest deal ever, Gozlan notes.

Suns’ James Jones Talks About Rebuilding Roster

In an interview with Duane Rankin of The Arizona RepublicSuns president of basketball operations James Jones gives himself an “eight out of 10” for how he was able to construct the team’s roster around its new Big Four. Jones was limited in the moves he could make after trading for Bradley Beal to team with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton, but he found an intriguing mix of veterans and young talent.

Eric Gordon turned down better offers and accepted a veteran’s minimum deal for the chance to win a title. Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu, Drew EubanksKeita Bates-Diop and Bol Bol also agreed to sign for the minimum.

“We knew going into it who our four top players were,” Jones said. “The guys who were going to lean on heavily to reach our goals. I think that gave us more clarity and I think it gave the players more clarity around how we would play and how they could fit with our team.

“So when it comes to minimums, I think it’s that label or contract value that people look at, but I look at it more from a perspective of identifying the guys who have the attributes and skills that would complement our group and finding players that believe that this environment will increase their productivity and give them a boost for their careers going forward. This was more forward looking than backwards looking for us and for the players that we targeted.

“I think that clarity allowed us to move quickly and efficiently through the free agency process because we knew exactly who we wanted and we knew exactly who wanted us.”

Jones addresses several other topics in the discussion with Rankin:

On the decisions to re-sign Josh Okogie and trade Cameron Payne to the Spurs:

“Just balancing versatility, and I’m not just talking about from a player skill set and roster construction perspective, but it just gives us options. It gives us options from a roster perspective. It also gives us options going forward. JO is someone who had a tremendous impact on our team last year in a specific role that we think can grow and Cam was someone who had an impact on our team, but he was part of a team that was a different team that played differently. Those two moves allowed us to create balance and gave us some versatility and options to continue to build a more complete team.”

On Bol’s potential after a promising season with Orlando:

“He’s going to get a chance to compete. He fits the profile of the team we’re trying to build. Long, athletic, skilled. Has played some high-level basketball. Has dealt with high expectations and has bounced back from some tough setbacks. The mental grit, the resilience and adaptability that he’s displayed is something that I think will help improve our team and if he can play the way he envisions himself playing, it just gives us another high-level player that we can count on and rely on as we try to march toward a championship.”

On new owner Mat Ishbia’s input during his first offseason with the team:

“He talked about speed, focus and understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish and get after it. Don’t second-guess it, don’t overthink it. Trust your instincts, trust your team and then go out there, find the best options for us and then make those options work. For me, it’s clear focus. He’s given me clear direction that allows me to focus on the things I enjoy the most, which is figuring out how to maximize the environment for our players and coaches and get a win.”