I wrote this morning on the matter of a possible extension for Eric Gordon for Forbes. As I outlined in that piece, under the collective bargaining agreement, the most the Rockets could do is tack on three additional years to Gordon’s existing deal with raises limited by certain percentages; he would make about $20 million in the final year of the deal. Considering that Gordon would be 33 in the last year of such an extension, I’m fairly certain that’s the most the Rockets would want to do anyways.
But the intriguing wrinkle is the prohibition on a subsequent trade. If extended, the Rockets could not trade Gordon for another six months. Thus, the team severely limits its options if a deal requiring Gordon’s inclusion presents itself in-season.
I think it’s pretty unlikely that Gordon would be against an extension if it were offered today. He’s in the midst of a career renaissance of sorts and by all accounts, is happy here in Houston. And he’s got to know that as a 31-year-old, he won’t be able to command more on the open market than the $16.87 million an extension could pay him in year one. And for the Rockets, with over $111 million committed in total team salaries in 2020, retaining a key cog now could seem prudent. An extended Gordon also becomes an attractive asset in a trade. Of course, it’s possible Houston isn’t willing to extend him at the full amount he can earn under the rules.
Still, I suspect Morey wants to keep his options open. He’ll wait until the trade deadline passes to re-engage in discussions. After that, it almost only makes sense to seek an extension. An expiring Gordon won’t have much value next year and losing him in unrestricted free agency is dangerous. With so much money committed to James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela, the Rockets don’t have enough avenues for improvement to lose core players for nothing.