Only Gordon knows where New Orleans sits on his list of desired destinations, but he certainly wasn't happy when he arrived. He had planned to be with the Clippers during his prime, and was openly critical of their handling of the deal, in part because he had been told so many times by team officials that he was there to stay. He found out about the trade while taking part in a Clippers community event and riding on a bus full of teammates, coaches and fans.
"It was kind of surprising when I got traded, but it wasn't the worst thing in the world," he said. "It was tough to swallow. Anytime you have someone in the organization telling you that you're going to stay here -- I mean multiple times telling you personally -- that's tough. And for them just to up and do that without even telling me I got traded, and I had to find out from someone else in the family, that was even more bizarre."
The Hornets attempted to lock up Gordon once he arrived, reportedly offering a four-year extension in January and negotiating all the way up until the deadline. Looking back, Gordon said he's convinced the Hornets wanted to wait for the summer -- and the chance to see his true market and match any offer -- all along.
"That's why things didn't work out at that time, whether or not I wish they did," he said. "It was an offer that we both couldn't accept."
The offers are sure to be even more plentiful this summer. Sources close to the situation said Indiana, Phoenix, Portland and Dallas are among the teams with interest in Gordon.
The Mavericks' pursuit would be problematic because they are widely known to have New Jersey's Deron Williams atop their wish list and -- for salary-cap purposes -- would have to amnesty a player (likely center Brendan Haywood) before submitting a competitive offer sheet to Gordon, if he became the backup plan. The Pacers appear intent on re-signing restricted free agents George Hill (a reserve shooting guard) and Roy Hibbert (their starting center), and would likely need to resolve those situations before knowing how aggressively -- and how quickly -- they could go after Gordon (though renouncing the rights to free-agent guard Leandro Barbosa and his $11.4 million cap hold would help).
As for Phoenix, the future of free-agent-to-be Steve Nash (whose cap hold is a whopping $17.5 million) would have to be resolved before Gordon could be added. If the Suns renounced his rights in order to make a quick move on Gordon, they not only would run the risk of missing out on both players but also lose the ability to go above the salary cap to re-sign Nash in the event that they landed Gordon and the future Hall of Fame point guard wanted to join him.
New Jersey and Cleveland could be possibilities for Gordon as well. Whichever city he winds up in, Gordon is looking forward to raising his under-the-radar profile. He remains one of the league's most underrated talents, in part because of his injuries but also because he played his first two seasons for the Clippers before Blake Griffin and his eternal spotlight arrived.
"Yeah, I still think I get undervalued," Gordon said. "I've never gotten the credit as far as helping the team. Maybe I haven't made an All-Star team yet because of some injuries at certain times in the season, long injuries where I missed a lot of games. But at the end of the day, I made Team USA teams just like [other prominent players], and scoring and stat-wise it's just the same. I just haven't been on good teams at a young age."
Whether he helps New Orleans return to relevance or winds up elsewhere again, Gordon is ready to get past his Clippers days.
"I'm just happy that I'm able to still play basketball and move on to another journey," he said.