Report: Rockets reluctant to take back significant salary in Eric Gordon trade

Report: Rockets reluctant to take back significant salary in Eric Gordon trade

Photo by Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY sports

Should they choose to make a move by the Feb. 10 trade deadline, the Houston Rockets have repeatedly expressed confidence in their ability to land a first-round draft pick for veteran guard Eric Gordon.

To that point, The Action Network’s Matt Moore (@HPbasketball on Twitter) reports Sunday that the Rockets are telling teams that they have Gordon bids from two different franchises involving a first-round draft pick. But an apparent stumbling block is the issue of matching salary, since teams who are above the salary cap (nearly all during the season) need to send out close to as much money in trades as they take in.

Moore writes:

The issue is finding a team that won’t send back significant salary, as Houston doesn’t want anything major on the books.

As it stands today, Gordon’s salary of just under $20 million per season can come off the books after next season (2022-23). That’s the same offseason when John Wall and Christian Wood become free agents, which could give the Rockets major financial flexibility to be a player on that offseason’s free agent market, if desired. (James Harden, anyone?)

While it makes sense for a rebuilding team like the Rockets to value a first-round draft pick over a 33-year-old role player in a one-for-one asset comparison, the reality is that most deals are not truly one-for-one swaps. In other words, the negative impact that a longer-term salary would have on future financial flexibility also has to be considered.

With four days left until Thursday’s deadline, Gordon continues to have one of the most efficient seasons of his nba career. The 14-year veteran is shooting a career-high 49.1% from the field and 42.7% on 3-pointers, and he remains an impact player defensively, as well. In 29.5 minutes per game, Gordon averages 14.2 points and 3.0 rebounds.

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