The Rockets have re-signed Eric Gordon to a max contract. Here’s why I think that was a no-brainer!
The Rockets have re-signed Eric Gordon to a 4 year max contract worth $76 million, which was the largest amount of money Gordon could have gotten based on his previous contract. This extension should also come as no surprise.
Gordon has had a career resurgence here in Houston, as he’s averaged 16.8 points over the course of the last 3 years. In addition, he’s shot 36.3% from deep on 31.3 minutes per game over the course of the last 3 years. Gordon can set himself up for his own shots, which has been pivotal on a Rockets team loaded with players such as Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, and Clint Capela who all need to be set up for looks. Gordon’s versatility has also been key, as it has allowed coach Mike D’Antoni to play him at the small forward position in a small ball line-up or to even play him off the bench.
More than just that, Gordon was the team’s second leading scorer last year in the playoffs behind James Harden, posting averages of 17.8 points per game. He was also second on the team in scoring during the playoff series against the Warriors with 20 points per game. During the 2018 playoff series against the Warriors, Gordon was second on the Rockets in total points and shot 37% from three as well.
Over the course of Gordon’s tenure on the Rockets, there have been 69 games in which he’s scored 20 points or more, and the Rockets have gone 52-17 during such games. During the playoffs, the Rockets have gone 7-2 in games in which he’s scored 20 or more. Gordon has also finished second on the team in total points during each of his three years in Houston, which may come as a surprise to many.
The value Gordon brings to the Rockets is undeniable, especially in D’Antoni’s system. It would have been painful to have lost Gordon to the open market, as he would surely have been signed quickly. But also, Eric Gordon did the Rockets a solid during these negotiations, which shouldn’t go overlooked. Most players will become a free agent and test the waters, whereas Gordon inked this extension now, despite speculation that he wouldn’t.
The other aspect of this is the fact that the Rockets didn’t really have a choice. If they were to trade for someone else, how long would it take them to mesh with D’Antoni and Harden’s style of play? The next several years presents the best window of opportunity for the Rockets to win a title considering how the Warriors super team has been broken up. The Rockets will now have the trio of Russell Westbrook, Harden, and Gordon all under contract through 2023. This is why the smart move and only move was to keep Gordon long-term.
The timing of this extension is important to note, as Gordon was entering his final year of the deal he signed in 2016. This is why I believe PJ Tucker will have a hard time getting his extension right now, as he’s got 2 years left on his deal, as compared to Gordon who would have been a free agent when the season was over.