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Rockets' Eric Gordon Tough To Trade Due To Leadership

Eric Gordon has been on the trading block for almost two years, but his veteran leadership makes it tough for the Houston Rockets to trade.

HOUSTON — Rafael Stone has done a significant job rebuilding the Houston Rockets since taking over as general manager. 

With the acquisitions of Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr., Stone has arguably drafted the best prospect in two consecutive years. And he has done a superb job adding talent around Houston's top draftees by paring them alongside Kevin Porter Jr. and Jae'Sean Tate.

Stone has succeeded when flipping veterans for additional assets to help speed up Houston's rebuild. But when it comes to Eric Gordon, the looming departure has not been easy. 

Gordon has played a critical role for the Rockets since he signed with the franchise as a free agent in 2016. Six years later, Gordon's departure is inevitable. He has been a highly sought-after trade target since the Rockets embarked on their rebuild following the departure of James Harden.

The latest trade rumor surrounding Gordon has him associated with the Philadelphia 76ers, as general manager Daryl Morey continues to reunite Harden with several of his old teammates from Houston.

The Rockets have not budged on the trade value they have placed on Gordon. His on-court production no longer helps Houston win an average of 54 games — similar to his first four seasons playing for the Rockets. But it's Gordon's veteran leadership that has made him difficult for Houston to trade.  

"Eric Gordon is a really good vet and was an important part of our team this year," coach Stephen Silas said during the Rockets exit interviews in April. "He does everything the right way. When he plays, the players love it. He is someone these young guys really look towards for leadership."

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Gordon's trade value has doubled since he took the helm as Houston's veteran leader over the previous two seasons. 

At 33 years old, Gordon is the elder statement for a team with an average age of 23.7. A source told Inside the Rockets that Silas has a deep admiration for Gordon due to his leadership presence.

His leadership is the reason coach Silas, Jalen Green and several other players felt grateful Houston decided not to trade Gordon at the trade deadline in February.

"He has a lot of experience, and he is starting to open up to us more," Green said following the trade deadline. "I've started to pick his brain a lot more. One of the lessons he taught me was to stay on my routine and to keep going after it."

You can follow Coty Davis on Twitter @CotyDavis_24

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