Whatever their feelings on each other are like at this point, the Chicago Bulls and Ben Gordon aren’t separating any time soon.
At this point, both sides have run out of leverage, which should cause a very interesting few months considering that NBA training camp is under a month away.
All reports suggest that the Bulls have aggressively shopped Gordon, with the latest citing a potential trade to the Miami Heat in return for Shawn Marion. The Heat showed interest in his 18 points per game and willingness to take over a game when he has to until they had the same issue with Gordon’s demands as the Bulls have.
In the mean time, Chicago continues to call his bluff by refusing to go over the luxury tax and sign him for more money than Luol Deng as Gordon insists he deserves.
Gordon, on the other hand, is trying to find any possible incentive for the Bulls to give him the money he wants. He tells the media that he is finished in Chicago and has gone so far as to make up a rumor that he is considering an offer from CSKA Moscow, except that the team denied even having interest in him.
It’s likely that this issue isn’t going to get solved anytime soon. The Bulls have no reason to negotiate with him considering that they are set at the guard position. It would be a huge disappointment if the Bulls can’t at least trade him so that they get something out of the deal, but it won’t hurt Chicago if he doesn’t play next season.
What’s going to be interesting to watch is what Gordon’s next move is going to be. His two options are either hold out or sign on for the 2008-09 season and become a free agent next year.
Gordon needs to realize sometime between now and NBA training camp that he is in a no-win situation, and must put his hurt feelings behind him as it’s very unlikely that anyone will pay more than the Bulls are offering him.
That’s why when all is said and done, Gordon will likely play the upcoming season with Chicago, although it will create a very awkward situation for either side. If the Bulls really decide to think outside the box and end this feud from their point of view, they would buy out the last year of his contract and allow him to sign somewhere else.
This would be a terrible move for Chicago, and he’s too skilled to just be released. But the move could free up plenty of cap room and create a bad situation for Gordon because he will have no negotiating power for teams interested in his services.
Until the Bulls or Gordon decide to cave in, this situation will be a stalemate and not benefit anyone. If Gordon really wants to get a fat paycheck next year, he will have to accept losing this negotiation and hope that he does well enough to deserve Deng money with some other team.