A Rockets, Spurs, Lakers win-win-win 3-team Eric Gordon trade

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks / Tim Heitman/GettyImages
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Trade rumors have followed Eric Gordon for the better part of two years, but he remains a member of the Houston Rockets. However, with a little creativity and some extra cap space, Gordon can find himself on a contender and net the Rockets a first-round pick. 

Eric Gordon is the final holdover from the last great Houston Rockets team. After six seasons in Clutch City, Gordon’s time with the franchise could be coming to an end. The Rockets are in a full-on rebuild, and Gordon is in the twilight of his career. While it will be sad to see him go, the Rockets owe it to Gordon to give him one more chance to chase a title.

Eric Gordon is difficult, but not impossible to trade

For a confluence of factors, Gordon is an incredibly difficult player to move. He’s owed $19.5 million this season, is 33 years old and has an extensive injury history. His play on the court makes him an attractive basketball player to contenders, but the lengths it would take to get a trade to be approved by the league office has muted his marketplace. 

Related. 3 Reasons Why an Eric Gordon Trade is so Difficult. dark

The Rockets need a desperate team and a soft landing ground for salary, and the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs are the perfect pair to make this three-team trade a win-win-win. 

This trade sees the Rockets land a first-round pick from the Spurs for sending Eric Gordon and David Nwaba to the Lakers, while the Spurs get the Lakers unprotected 2027 first for sending them Josh Richardson, Jakob Poeltl, and taking on the final year of Russell Westbrook’s contract. 

Why the Spurs win

The Spurs end up swapping Charlotte’s 2023 first-round pick for the Lakers’ unprotected 2027 is a massive win for them. Charlotte’s pick is top-17 protected in 2023 and top-15 protected in 2024 and 2025 before conveying as a 2027 second-round pick. The cost to get one of the most coveted draft picks in the league is high, notably taking on Westbrook’s $47 million and losing Jakob Poeltl, but the Spurs were never going to sniff an asset of that value by trading Poeltl on his own. 

The Spurs are also squarely in the Victor Wembanyama tankathon. Poeltl isn’t an All-Star but his particular skill set sets a strong defensive floor that makes bottoming out more difficult. Moving him now, before any damage is done, is the right decision for a franchise aiming to rack up lottery odds. 

Next: Why the Lakers win the trade