Utah Jazz: 4 way-too-early midseason buyout candidates

Blake Griffin (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Blake Griffin (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Utah Jazz
Eric Gordon vs Utah Jazz (Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports) /

We’re staying on theme here by proposing another veteran guard with ample experience spacing the floor alongside James Harden and whichever star point guard he shared the backcourt with. Only this time, it doesn’t require quite as strong an imagination to envision that player entering the buyout market.

Eric Gordon has grown accustomed to contending in Houston, but he’s highly unlikely to continue doing so in 2021-22. The Rockets have already reached a mutual agreement with John Wall that will see him function as, essentially, a glorified assistant coach until they’re able to re-route him to a team that doesn’t predominantly feature a cast of teenagers.

Enter the Utah Jazz.

Gordon may not, in fact, be as clean a fit on this Jazz roster as his less-renowned counterpart in Ben McLemore. You’d have to travel all the way back to 2014-15 to find Gordon’s last season shooting above 40% from downtown, when he shot 44.8% on 5.2 attempts per game as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. In fact, Gordon’s three-point accuracy has suffered over the last two seasons, as he shot 32.9% on 7.8 attempts per game in 2020-21, and 31.7% on 8.4 attempts per game in 2019-20.

It’s everything else Gordon brings to the table that should entice the Utah Jazz if Gordon ends up on the buyout market.

More than just a floor-spacer, Gordon also offers auxiliary shot-creation with solid ball-handling and a stout, sturdy frame and good positional strength that allows him to get to the basket and finish. It speaks volumes to his overall scoring ability that he was able to average 17.8 points-per-game last season in spite of his subpar three-point accuracy.

Chalk this up as a higher-risk, higher-reward proposition than McLemore for the Utah Jazz. It’s possible that Quin Snyder’s offensive machine will be humming too soundly to add a piece as substantial as Gordon. He arguably overlaps with reigning Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson: they’re both well-rounded scoring guards with inconsistent efficiency.

On the other hand, maybe two inefficient guards is better than one. Come playoff time, Gordon could offer Snyder a safety valve in the event that Clarkson is struggling.

The Houston Rockets will likely be hoping to find a trade partner for Gordon, but the roughly $18 million dollars per season he’s owed through 2023-24 may prove prohibitive to that cause.

If he ends up on the buyout market this season, the Utah Jazz should at least consider making use of his services.