Eric Gordon became the second free agent to agree to terms with the Houston Rockets on Saturday, July 2.
The Gordon deal is said to be for a 4-year term for a total of $53 million. This deal came on the heels of the first deal of the day as the Rockets agreed to terms with Gordon’s Pelicans teammate Ryan Anderson.
Both deals are for 4-years and in each case the players offer offensive upgrades.
— Tamberlyn's Tip-Off (@TTOTambz) July 3, 2016
Rocky start to free agency
As the free agency period officially kicked off at midnight on July 1st, Rockets fans were hopeful General Manager Daryl Morey would land key free agents. Although 21 teams had the cap space to offer a max contract, the Rockets found themselves in the enviable position of being able to offer 2 max contracts.
This became possible once Dwight Howard opted out of his contract. Though Rockets management and Howard both indicated there was interest to re-up, everyone knew the relationship was over.
Despite this cap space the most coveted free agent (Kevin Durant), and very good friend of Rockets superstar James Harden didn’t extend a meeting to Houston.
With that knowledge Houston kicked off their recruitment with an aggressive pitch and offer to Kent Bazemore. While the Hawks wing man was bowled over by the Rockets presentation ultimately he chose to return to Atlanta.
Next up the Rockets zeroed in on big man Al Horford, but he was more interested in offers from the Wizards, Celtics and his existing team. Horford gave the Hawks a chance to retain him even acquiescing to his initial 5-year term. The Hawks furiously tried to create cap space even going as far as shopping their other top asset Paul Millsap. In the end Atlanta’s offer was $6 million off Horford’s request, so he agreed to terms on a 4-year max contract with the Celtics.
Success on Day 2
At the same time as Horford was mulling over his decision the Rockets were meeting with offensively versatile Ryan Anderson. This time the pitch hit the right notes and the stretch four who should excel in D’Antoni’s offense agreed to a 4-year $80M deal..
A few hours later Houston pitched Anderson’s teammate Eric Gordon who became the second successfully recruited free agent when he agreed to a 4-year, $53 million dollar deal
Gordon and Anderson have much in common.
- Both have spent significant portions of their NBA career in New Orleans: Gordon 5 seasons, Anderson: 4 seasons.
- Both were earmarked to become All-Stars early in their careers
- Injuries have derailed both players from meeting expectations with Gordon for several seasons.
- Anderson has missed 98 games in his 4 season in New Orleans although he played 81 games in his first season. Gordon missed 221 games over his 5 seasons as a Pelican.
- Both have spent at least half their careers as a Pelican
- Neither is a particularly strong defender as Gordon has a minus -2.2 defensive plus/minus while Anderson is a minus -2.9
Their familiarity with each other should translate well as they assimilate to their new team and systems.
As noted Gordon has missed extensive games due to knee issues, so this signing, especially because of it’s length (4 years), carries a high risk-reward factor.
2015-16: per game stats
3 Point Shooting: 38.4%
Field Goal Percent: 41.8%
Ultimately the second day of free agency proved to be fruitful for the Rockets as most of the top tier free agents had already committed to teams.
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In fact of the top 50 names on the Vertical’s list:
- 2 will most assuredly re-up: LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
- Kevin Durant has his pool of 6 teams he’s selecting from
- 6 restricted free agents have been issued qualifying offers
That left only 15 players (including Anderson) open to recruit in the top 50 and just 5 in the top 25:
- Dwyane Wade
- Pau Gasol
- Ryan Anderson
- David West
- Rajon Rondo
The fact the Rockets were able to lock down one of the remaining 5 players of the top 25 available as well as Gordon can be viewed as significant progress. Further, Houston also met with the Heat’s Tyler Johnson, though no offer qualifying offer has been extended yet.
Teams like Houston with cap room still available could pull from the bottom portion to complete their rosters. However, it may be more logical to assume Morey will now investigate trade options instead.
SCS will update as free agency news develops. For now if you’re a fan who wants to follow free agency closely consider checking out my Free Agency Profiles for all 30 teams:
And early free agent signings:
Along with articles covering the draft:
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