April 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Orleans Hornets shooting guard Eric Gordon (10) heads down court as Los Angeles Clippers guard Randy Foye (4) follows in the first half of the game at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Depending on what the Washington Wizards do with Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis, they could have around $12 million of salary-cap space to spend this summer. It remains to be seen if the Wizards actually use it or bank it towards the 2013 class, but in any event, there are a number of free agents that could help the team's push into playoff contention. We'll take a look at several of those options in this running series. First up: Eric Gordon.Team: New Orleans Hornets.
Type: Restricted free agent.
Last year: Played in only nine games due to injury, but when he played, he was very good. Averaged over 20 a game for the second straight year despite his efficiency going down a bit due to increased usage. His return was the major reason the Hornets finished the season strong.
Why he's fit in well: Easily the best shooting guard on the market, and he's right up there with James Harden among the best young shooting guards in the league. Gordon is an outstanding scorer, with a pure three-point shot, the ability to draw fouls and a great in-between game that he improved the season before this year. Despite being a bit undersized, he's also a much better defender than most give him credit for being.
Why he might not: He's a bit ball-dominant -- not Jordan Crawford ball-dominant, but not, say, Danny Green either. His pick and roll game is very good, but you'd think that John Wall might be better off with a flat shooter playing off the ball and Crawford coming in to play that role off the bench. Also, Gordon has an injury history dating back to his time in college at Indiana, and while most of the injuries aren't related to each other, it's still a bit scary to give a guy like him a lot of money when he hasn't really demonstrate a clean bill of health.
Likely price tag: He could end up being a max player, but I suspect he ends up getting a bit less because teams will be scared by his injury history.
Verdict: Unless the Wizards move a young player to clear some salary, I think Gordon is out of their price range. Too bad, because I'm a huge fan of his.