As soon as NBA Free Agency kicks off, Chris Broussard reports that Eric Gordon will be visiting with the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, the first day of free agency. The trip marks one of three stops for the restricted free agent, and former Indiana University and North Central star, who will also visit Houston Monday and finish with Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Pacers have been believed to be in the mix for Gordon for the duration of the season, but with injury concerns and the restricted status the New Orleans Hornets are almost certain to match, his return home has been left with doubt. The Pacers are often regarded as a team one piece short and Eric Gordon would be a major step in the right direction. But it all comes back to health for Gordon, who played just 9 games last season, in addition to the 50 games he missed the previous two.
With ample time off last season to get himself right (after all, would he have played on his knee if the Hornets were a contender?), can the discussion on Gordon's health be taken as a risk worth taking? The restricted status makes any risk the Pacers take almost certainly not enough for New Orleans, fresh off drafting Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers, to match given their own wishes to improve quickly.
Whether Gordon's trip to a Houston team wanting a big splash, or a Phoenix team desperate to minimize the damage from their likely loss of Steve Nash will play any factor in what the Pacers do remains to be seen, but EJ, who was seen in the stands for the Pacers/Heat series, one would imagine, would love to take a deal from the Pacers.
At the same time, Gordon's injury risks, and the team's need to spend wisely, not to mention the restricted free agency status that will likely trump any Pacers decision, it's a scenario that's hard to imagine coming into fruition, but the trip on Sunday will certainly give the Pacers an opportunity to be a player in Gordon's free agency, whether they decide to pursue him seriously or not.