Unless there’s some sort of surprising twist to the story, the New Orleans Pelicans expect Eric Gordon to opt into the final year of his deal, which keeps him as the highest paid player on the team.
And why wouldn’t he? He averaged just 13.4 points per game last season, a career low, and isn’t going to make the $15.5 million he’s expected to earn by opting into the final year of his deal, not with anyone. And if he does have one of those special contract years (which is unlikely considering the trajectory of his career) it positions him perfectly for the big money bonanza of 2016, when the salary cap rises by more than $22 million for each team.
What does this mean for the Pelicans? Gordon staying for another year means they have about $56 million on the cap, spread out between six players. However, it’s not that simple. Offering Anthony Davis the max deal and him signing it is the big move and question for the Pelicans this offseason. They also have to face a new era after Monty Williams was fired, replaced by Alvin Gentry, who is still busy assisting Steve Kerr win an NBA Finals series.
Gordon is a good shooting guard, but very different since his injury, and less and less a factor in the Pelicans offense, rotating more around Davis, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday when he’s healthy and Ryan Anderson when he’s on the floor. Gordon might be able to score more points and be more offensively meaningful on a different team, but that’s not likely to happen at the moment unless there’s a trade which looked reasonable a year or two ago. Otherwise, there’s no other team stupid enough to pay him the $15 million a year.