Many people are unsure of what exactly New Orleans Hornets' general manager Dell Demps is trying to achieve this off-season. The relationship between the Hornets and Eric Gordon showed obvious strain during his free agency recruitment by the Suns. The Hornets have pursued a glut of personnel at the positions occupied by their franchise players (Anthony Davis and Gordon). Demps has been a tough read.
We have gained clarity on part of his plan - which was indicated from the outset. The Hornets have matched the Suns' offer sheet for restricted free agent Eric Gordon, just as sources maintained they would throughout this process.
The decision doesn't come as a surprise. The Suns have been active during the 3 day waiting period, with the notable visit from unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo on Friday. Presumably, this action was taken knowing there was a good possibility this would be the eventual outcome. All indications were that the following tweet was more of a formality than an announcement.
Hornets (taking the full 3 days to decide) announce---as expected, they have matched #Suns' 4-year, $58 million offer sheet to Eric Gordon— Craig Grialou (@Craig620) July 14, 2012
Now that the Suns are officially out of the running for Gordon, they will adjust their focus to other options to fill their current vacancy at the shooting guard position. Although Gordon was the most coveted name on the Suns' list of potential shooting guards, there is still other talent available. Two of the more popular names the Suns are reported to have interest in were mentioned again after the match on Gordon was confirmed.
Besides Mayo and Lee, the Suns may still have interest in bringing back their own free agents Shannon Brown and Michael Redd. This decision by the Hornets has not left the Suns without options. Phoenix also still has the matters of Robin Lopez and Grant Hill to attend to.
Don't be surprised if many of these pieces fall into place quickly now that the Gordon situation has been resolved.
----UPDATE: 3:50PM - Alex Laugan----
Suns official statement on the Gordon offer sheet right here. Suns still have plenty of room to maneuver under cap as long as Beasley and/or Dragic wait a bit longer to sign, so this should not impact them much beyond timing of press conferences.
"We have been notified that the New Orleans Hornets have matched our Offer Sheet with Eric Gordon, as is their right under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. While we are disappointed that Eric will not be a Sun at this time, we have no regrets in doing all that we could under the rules to bring him to Phoenix. Once Eric passes his physical in New Orleans, our full cap room will be restored and we will move forward in free agency. In the meantime, we are on track to pursue our plans."