Businessman Tom Benson owns two professional sports teams, the New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Hornets. Being the decisive-minded person Benson is, he managed to lock in both team’s franchise players only days apart in high dollar deals.
While Benson may not be the man writing out the paperwork or dealing directly with agent’s for the players, he ultimately has to give his blessing for anything to happen with his franchises.
On Friday, the Saints agreed to terms on a 5-year, $100 million contract for franchise quarterback Drew Brees that was on the cusp of a Monday deadline for him to sign. It makes Brees, who’ll earn $40 million this year, the highest paid player with such a structured contract.
Likewise, the Hornets were facing a similar deadline on Saturday to match a $58 million offer sheet for guard Eric Gordon who was being courted by the Phoenix Suns. Like Brees in 2006, the Hornets consider Gordon to be a major piece of the puzzle to rebuilding the team.
But unlike the beloved Brees, Gordon angered some Hornets fans when he declared after a visit with the Suns that his heart was in Phoenix. This lead to thoughts that even if the Hornets matched the offer from the Suns, how dedicated would Gordon be to a forced return.
Gordon made this statement following the Hornets matching the offer sheet:
”There is always a business element to the NBA when dealing with contracts, but I never lost my appreciation for New Orleans. I look forward to giving my very best on the court this season to make our team successful.”
Along with Gordon, top draft picks Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, and recently acquired forward Ryan Anderson could help propel the Hornets towards a championship. That is if Gordon’s heart is into it and the fans allow some forgiveness from their’s.