NBA AM: Still No Timetable For Eric Gordon
Gordon Says He’s Progressing: New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon met with his team for the first time in weeks as they came to Los Angeles, where Gordon has been rehabbing his troublesome right knee. Gordon sought several medical opinions on what was going on with his knee and was told that rehab and treatment was the right course, and he says the knee is getting better.
“It’s getting better; progress is getting better, but there’s no straight-up timetable,” Gordon said to Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune. “The main thing is things have been getting better. They’ve got a plan for me and the main thing is the pain level is going down. Just trying to get back to 100 percent before I get back out there playing.”
Gordon was asked how the doctors describe what’s going on with his knee, and he compared it to the issues Philadelphia 76ers big man Andrew Bynum and Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger are dealing with.
“It’s almost like a disorder,” Gordon said. “There was a little bit of a bone bruise, and, you know, kind of like some of these other guys like (Andrew) Bynum and (Danny) Granger. Luckily my process will be shorter than that.”
Bynum and Granger have a long history of knee and knee related problems, which does not bode well for Gordon, who just signed a four-year, $58 million contract.
Gordon says he’s been working with very little pain or swelling.
“That was the main thing,” he said. “I’m just fine. Everything has been better. The main thing is to get better before I get back playing.”
Gordon met with Hornets’ coach Monty Williams and both parties agreed to revisit the situation a little further down the road and neither side would put a timeline on Gordon’s return.
There has been a lot of speculation that Gordon does not want to be in New Orleans, and he becomes eligible to be traded with his consent on December 15th. Because the Hornets matched a contract offer sheet originally issued by the Phoenix Suns, Gordon has the right of refusal for the first year of the deal.
Gordon and the Hornets engaged in a PR blitz to downplay any perceived rift between Gordon and the franchise.
Gordon has never played a complete season in his five-year NBA career; the closest he came was his rookie year when he logged 78 games. Over the last five seasons, Gordon has logged minutes in 205 of a possible 325 games.
Something To be Said About Loyalty: Standing in the Boston Celtics’ locker room, it’s hard not to notice the 18-inch, dotted scar that runs down the center of forward Jeff Green’s chest. Last December, as part of a routine physical given to players after they sign contracts, Green was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm of the abdominal aorta. Green had open heart surgery in January and has worked his way back to the game.
The Celtics could have simply parted ways with Green, but not only did they hold on to his rights, they signed him to a four-year, $36 million contract this past summer.
Green talked with HOOPSWORLD about the loyalty the team showed him and how supportive the Celtics were in his rehab and eventual return to the game.
Gooden and The Bucks: There was some talk yesterday about the Milwaukee Bucks exploring options for big man Drew Gooden, with the general vibe being that Milwaukee has explored trading Gooden and found little interest in him.
Gooden is well traveled, which was one of the reasons he chose Milwaukee as a free agent, as they offered a long-term deal and the promise of some stability. Gooden has played for six teams in his 11 NBA seasons and has become well versed in the unpredictability of the league.
Sources close to the situation point to Gooden’s contract as the key reason he’s being shopped, as the Bucks are looking for as much cap flexibility next summer as they can amass, mainly because they know in order to keep both Brandon Jennings and soon-to-be free agent Monta Ellis, they are going to have to overpay both to stay in Milwaukee.
Gooden has yet to log a regular season minute for the Bucks so it’s clear that he is out of the game plan for Scott Skiles, which lends credence to the idea that the Bucks owe $20 million over the next three years to a guy that won’t likely play this season.
The problem the Bucks will have in trading Gooden is that there are not many teams that would look at Gooden’s $6.6 million annual salary as favorable, especially given he has two more season after this one.
For Gooden’s part, he is trying to be a good soldier and say all the right things.
“I’m not a selfish person and I’m not a selfish teammate,” Gooden said to Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times. “I’ll do whatever I can to help the team. Right now, I’m trying to help the team vocally in any way I can.”
The Bucks are sitting on $46 million in likely salary commitments, which includes team options on Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh and Tobias Harris. The Bucks will have to issue a $4.33 million Qualifying Offer sheet to Brandon Jennings to restrict his free agency rights in July and Monta Ellis is an $11 million Early Termination Option that he has said repeatedly that he’ll exercise out of, barring injury.
If the Bucks want any shot at adding talent to the roster, offloading Gooden seems almost a requirement, unless they can trade Gooden for that fresh talent.
Bucks sources say Gooden has been a mentor and leader all season, so there really is no urgency to “dump” him, but that moving him seems to be more about economics than anything Gooden is doing.
Those same sources remind that Gooden is a serviceable big for Milwaukee, and that should injury strike he’d have a role, but for now the younger guys are taking up all the minutes and the Bucks sit at 7-4 on the season, which is good enough for home court if the playoffs started today, so they are not going to change much with the rotation unless they have to because of injury.
IN RELATED: A lot was made yesterday about the barbs being exchanged by Bulls center Joakim Noah and Bucks big man Drew Gooden, with some calling it a ‘Twitter War’. The truth is both Noah and Gooden are extremely good friends, and were having fun with each other in advance of the Bucks playing in Chicago last night. During the exchange, Gooden gave his ticket allotment away on Twitter to the first fan that tweeted a picture of a Bulls jersey in the toilet. He got a winner pretty quickly. Milwaukee also got the win in Chicago 93-92 and a one and a half game lead for control of the Central Division.
Brooklyn Holding It Down: In a match-up that was originally supposed to kick off basketball in Brooklyn, the Knicks and the Nets finally had a game in Brooklyn last night and the Nets, who have been dominating at home at the Barclays Center, got the best of the Knicks, 96-89.
While the Knicks and their start have been the talk of the NBA, the Nets have quietly been handling their own business and, with the win last night, find themselves tied for first place in the Atlantic, and by virtue of the win last night ahead of the Knicks for command of the division.
The Nets are 3-0 in division play and 6-1 in conference play. Their lone loss at home came against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second game of the season, and their lone conference loss came at the hands of the Miami HEAT in Miami.
The Nets have been getting inspired play from two players they scooped up on minimum deals in reserve guard C.J. Watson and sixth man of the year candidate Andray Blatche, who was an amnesty cut by the winless Washington Wizards. Blatche has found something of a resurgence in his game in Brooklyn and has become something of a pet project for Nets coach Avery Johnson.
If the playoffs started today, the Brooklyn Nets would be the No. 2 seed in the East. That’s hardly where the pundits had them when the season started.
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