It’s going to take more than one game to make the fans of the New Orleans Hornets forgive Eric Gordon for signing an offer sheet with Phoenix last summer and saying publicly that is where he wanted to play, which combined with his injuries made it seem like he wanted out of New Orleans.
But more games like his debut will do it.
Gordon was clearly the creative playmaker the Hornets have missed as he scored 24 points on 13 shots — getting to the free throw line 14 times — plus dishing out seven assists in the Hornets 98-95 win over the Bobcats. Gordon came in off the bench and was clear and away the best player on the floor and showed why he was such a key piece coming east in last year’s Chris Paul trade. He can attack and get into the lane like nobody the Hornets have. Like nobody a lot of teams have. As he did that, things opened up like a kick-outs to Ryan Anderson for corner threes.
Gordon played just 9 games last season before a knee injury that required surgery and kept him out until Saturday this season. He is not all the way back yet.
But it was plain to see he is a key piece, along with Anthony Davis, to bringing the Hornets to basketball respectability.
Jared Dudley: Giannis Antetokounmpo practiced mean mugging in locker room
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer withdrew from the Suns coaching search, but that he was even involved with another opening while under contract with Atlanta is telling. It probably wasn’t about the Phoenix job being special. He’s also talking with the Knicks – and maybe that goes somewhere.
Mike Budenholzer is genuinely interested in the Knicks’ job, according to an NBA source who has spoken to the Hawks coach.
“New York’s his top choice,’’ the NBA source said. “If they offered him the job, he’d say yes. He wants to live in New York.’’
“Phoenix and the Knicks are trying to win every game,’’ said the NBA source who has spoken to Budenholzer recently. “There’s a good chance Atlanta is not looking to win games the next two years. This wasn’t Mike’s decision. He didn’t expect it. He doesn’t want to lose games.’’
Going to the Knicks to win? What a time to be alive.
But the Hawks are only one year into what appears to be a multi-year rebuild. Relative to that, New York is ahead.
The Knicks would probably also offer Budenholzer a raise and the Hawks compensation. Though dealing with James Dolan carries downside, this could be a financial boon to everyone else involved. It’s no wonder Budenholzer and the Hawks are both into this.
The big question is whether New York, which is casting a wide net, tabs Budenholzer. He doesn’t have a clear connection to Knicks president Steve Mills or general manager Scott Perry. But Budenholzer is a demonstrably good coach, and that ought to matter plenty.
Andrew Bogut signs to play in NBL in native Australia
Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.
So he is going home.
Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.
In line with player contracting procedures, the Sydney Kings have submitted to NBL head office appropriate paperwork for @andrewbogut for review and processing. The Kings will make no further comment but will provide an update in due course
Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).
At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.
When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)
Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.
Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.