By JAMES SARGENT
As most people know by now, or if you don’t know, Eric Gordon signed an offer sheet with the Phoenix Suns worth $58 million over four years on Wednesday. The New Orleans Hornets have three days to match or else Gordon winds up in Phoenix. It has been reported that the Hornets will match, and even if the Suns opted to not have Gordon sign the offer and possibly execute a sign-and-trade with New Orleans, it wasn’t going to happen.
New Orleans just recently traded point guard Jarrett Jack to the Golden State Warriors in a three-way deal that landed them Bosnian forward Edin Bavcic (who?) and a $5.5 million trade exception. This goes to show you that the Hornets are adamant on keeping Gordon and possibly starting Austin Rivers at point guard; not to mention they have Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson in the front court. If everything works in the Hornets’ favor, this could potentially be a dangerous team in the Western Conference.
As for the Suns, it might be time to think of Plan B, which could actually be better than Plan A. Eric Gordon was obviously Plan A and for what he has done in the league, I feel he is not max contract worthy. The dude has a ton of talent and the sky is the limit for him, but he only played in nine games last season and seems to be very injury prone.
Plan B should be to target former Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo. Believe it or not, he has actually had a very similar career to Gordon and they were both drafted in 2008, with Mayo being selected four spots ahead of Gordon at number three overall. You can also sign Mayo for a fraction of what you would sign Gordon too. The Suns could then use that extra money to sign another quality free agent to fill in any other holes that they deem important.
Here is a breakdown of both players career stats:
Gordon: 18.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.4 TO, 45.2 FG%, 37.0 3pt%, 80.7 FT%
Mayo: 15.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.7 apg, 2.1 TO, 43.3 FG%, 37.5 3pt%, 81.7 FT%
Gordon and Mayo are also very similar in height and weight as well. Gordon stands at 6’3”, 215 lbs, while Mayo is 6’4”, 210 lbs.
One could also argue that Mayo’s numbers could be a little higher had he not been relegated to a bench role after the addition of Tony Allen. In Mayo’s first two years in the league, he was actually averaging more points per game than Gordon.
Economically, this makes total sense for the Phoenix Suns. Heck, you are basically signing the same guy as Gordon for half the price. Mayo’s potential out of college was also off the charts. He was, and still could be, a superstar. Pair that with another potential superstar in Michael Beasley and who knows what the Suns’ future could hold.
Here are the ages of the Phoenix Suns’ starters with O.J. Mayo:
Goran Dragic (26), O.J. Mayo (24), Michael Beasley (23), Channing Frye (29), and Marcin Gortat (28).
The rebuilding process seems to be shaking up pretty well in the Valley of the Sun, even after Steve Nash’s departure. And before I forget, if Channing gets yanked from the starting rotation, you have 22-year-old Markieff Morris waiting just behind him.
So before you get excited for Eric Gordon (and trust me, Gordon or Mayo, I will still be ecstatic), just remember that Mayo could provide the same fire power for a lot less money. It is definitely a high risk, high reward for Phoenix, but one that could easily work out.