Just one year ago, Eric Gordon was causing a stir with comments about how he preferred that New Orleans not match a max offer sheet from the Phoenix Suns. Flash forward to the present, and Gordon is excited about the potential of the Pelicans and happy to be a part of what's being built in New Orleans.
The Pelicans have made quite the splash this offseason, starting with a trade of No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel to the Philadelphia 76ers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. Following that, the Pelicans acquired Tyreke Evans via sign-and-trade with the Sacramento Kings. Several other smaller moves have been made to help bolster the team's depth, and New Orleans could be a team that contends for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference.
Much of the Pelicans' success could depend on Gordon, who expressed his pleasure with this offseason to USA Today's Sam Amick:
"It's an all new beginning for me," Gordon told USA TODAY Sports. "That Holiday (trade) - that was surprising because he's still a young dude. You would've never thought that would happen. It's good that we have him for sure, and we've made some pretty good moves for sure.
"It's definitely heading in the right direction. We've got a lot of good young talent that's been experienced and they've proven themselves. Especially with Tyreke and Jrue, where we all can play together and break down (defenders), it just makes more opportunities for this team."
Gordon has battled injuries for much of his career, and he has only played in 51 games over two seasons in New Orleans. When healthy, Gordon is a dynamic scorer who, along with Holiday and Evans, could pose a lot of problems for opposing defenses.
If everything works out for New Orleans, a playoff spot could be on the horizon. But Gordon knows that there's a lot of competition in the Western Conference, so that spot won't come easy:
"I definitely would like for it to be a playoff team, but you've also got to look at some of these playoff teams from this past year in the West that have gotten better," he said. "I think we're going to be fighting for it. As long as we stay healthy, we're going to be fighting for it. I want us to be a playoff team. That's definitely the main expectation, because we're still a young team and this is our first year playing together."
As Gordon says, it likely will take some time for the Pelicans' crew of young players to gel. But if that happens, New Orleans will be one of the more enjoyable teams to watch in the NBA.