Eric Gordon Trade to a Contender #2: New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans look poised to surge up the Western Conference standings with the return of Zion Williamson. After a dismal 3-16 start to the season, the Pelicans turned their season around and finished the year going 33-30. Along the way, they added C.J. McCollum, made the play-in tournament, beat the Spurs and Clippers to make the playoffs, and then pushed the Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round.
The Pelicans look ready to take the next step but still need to fortify their rotation if they want to make the jump. Eric Gordon is the perfect bench option to play alongside C.J. McCollum and lead the offense when he rests. This deal would see Gordon head back to the Big Easy in exchange for Garrett Temple’s expiring contract, Devonte’ Graham and two future second-round picks.
Devonte’ Graham’s recent DWI arrest and poor defensive fit next to McCollum have likely made him expendable. However, he remains a strong high-volume 3-point shooter with adequate playmaking chops and won’t turn 28 until next season. He has three years and $36.3 million left on his deal, but the final season is only guaranteed for $2.85 million. If he puts his legal problems behind him, he could have real trade value next season.
Garrett Temple is included in the deal for salary purposes, and the two future second-round picks will come via the Chicago Bulls and either the Pelicans or Detroit Pistons. The Rockets won’t be landing a first-round pick, but two second-round picks and Graham is more than enough compensation.
The Pelicans land a player that is a better fit for their current roster and someone they know won’t be dealing with legal troubles.