The Charlotte Bobcats waived shooting guard Ben Gordon on Sunday, leaving him ineligible to be a part of a playoff roster for a different team by one day.
President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins wished Gordon well in a release through the Bobcats' official website.
“With the recent acquisition of additional backcourt depth to our roster, we believe this is in the best interests of both parties,” said Higgins. “We want to thank Ben for his contributions over the past two seasons and wish him the best as he moves on in his career.”
Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported how Charlotte and Gordon tried to strike a buyout agreement before the midnight deadline on Saturday so that Gordon could be eligible for the postseason elsewhere, but it wasn't done:
Ben Gordon tried to get buyout from Bobcats but couldn't line up a deal. So they waived him today, 1 day after buyout deadline for playoffs— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) March 2, 2014
Gordon is averaging career-low totals across the board in 2013-14 with 5.2 points in 14.7 minutes per contest while shooting a putrid 34.3 percent from the field.
What is Ben Gordon's NBA future?
It does make sense that Gordon is being let go at this point, since the Bobcats worked hard at the NBA trade deadline to acquire Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour. Both players should add scoring to the backcourt while also bringing high basketball IQs and defense to the hardwood.
Gordon is now 30 years old, and as talented of an offensive player as he is, he didn't quite fit into the new system constructed by new head coach Steve Clifford. With the tendency to get a bit too selfish with the ball and take questionable shots at times, he has never quite fit or established himself as the surefire starter he has the potential to be.
Nevertheless, Charlotte is 27th in the Association in scoring entering Sunday's action, and casting aside someone like Gordon in this fashion seems at least a little unjust.
Derek James of ESPN felt that Gordon deserved better than the curious timing of the Bobcats' waivers request:
I was no Ben Gordon fan, but he still should have had the opportunity to latch on with a playoff team.— Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA) March 2, 2014
It's also interesting because Gordon was in the final season of his five-year, $50 million contract (h/t Spotrac.com), after which he would be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Now it looks like he'll be on the open market extra early—unless an elite team wants to shelve him and keep him in tow for next season at a substantial bargain now.
ESPN.com reported on Feb. 21 that Gordon and the Bobcats were near a buyout—plenty of time in advance of the deadline for Gordon to be on a playoff roster. However, nothing materialized and now Gordon is in professional limbo as a result.
A contender would have loved to covet Gordon's services. Even though he was all but knocked out of the Bobcats' rotation, he is a career 40.2 percent three-point shooter who has averaged 15.6 points per game across nine-plus pro seasons.
Without the opportunity to showcase his skills this season, though, Gordon is going to have a hard time marketing himself to other teams given the advanced stage of his tenure in the NBA. Perhaps he can train for another shot next season, and this disappointing outcome could fuel him to mount one more stretch of strong play and boost his stock moving forward.