Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon has officially accepted their qualifying offer, allowing him to be a free agent next year.
So much for not seeing Gordon in a Bulls’ uniform this year. I knew that at the end of the day, there was no reason for Chicago to bend from its position. The 6-3 guard couldn’t go anywhere because he’s a restricted free agent and no other team thinks he’s worth the money that he’s trying to get.
If Gordon can have a stellar season, the Bulls will probably try harder to get over their $58 million offer. If he is the same streaky shooter that he has been in previous years, where a 30-point game comes just as often as scoring two, Chicago will come out looking smart.
No. 7 needs to have a drastically better year if he expects to get a higher offer than what the Bulls are willing to pay him. Believe it or not, Gordon actually rejected a higher offer that would’ve made him look like a genius if he took it back then.
But now Gordon’s value is decreasing fast. If he didn’t figure it out now, he’ll figure it out on the free agent market. There’s a reason why none of his threats were successful in getting the Bulls to budge.
It’s the same reason why the Miami Heat backed out of trading disgruntled star Shawn Marion and why the New York Knicks refused to let the Bulls dupe them once again into receiving another overpaid contract.
The Bulls are trying to get rid of Gordon just as quickly as he wants out of Chicago. He’s mentioned in nearly every trade talk, whether it was the infamous Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol offers or just the opportunity to dump his contract. Bulls General Manager John Paxson made it very clear he wants Gordon out.
Can Gordon come back to a team that pretty much wants nothing to do with him? We’ll see how this season goes. Despite losing Chris Duhon to the Knicks, the guard spot isn’t any less clogged up. It’s pretty safe to assume that Gordon is going to start, although he better watch his back if Thabo Sefolosha can play some defense this year.
The ideal situation would be the Bulls opting to trade Gordon in the middle of the season so when he flocks for free agency, they will at least get something in return.
Chicago deserves a lot of credit for how they treated the situation. When Kirk Hinrich’s payday came, he got a fair offer. So did Andres Nocioni. And Luol Deng.
The Bulls gave Gordon a pretty reasonable offer considering his performance and salary cap situation, but he kept resisting. Perhaps the Bulls are realizing that they don’t have to hold on to every player they draft, although it’s probably too soon to tell.
“I don't want to be sitting here a year from now without Kirk or Ben. That was the reason we held pat in the back court,” Paxson told the Tribune.
Chicago would’ve been fine without Gordon, despite Paxson’s belief that he needs both of them to return to the playoffs. Derrick Rose is going to be the point guard of the future and Sefolosha makes a great role player when he defends.
Gordon’s agent knows how much he means to the team and engaged Paxson in a standoff but lost. Next season it is Paxson who will have the leverage, if he didn’t have it already.
Sure, Gordon can go to whatever team he wants, but the Bulls are going to set the market value. Another team will only outbid the Bulls if they feel Gordon isn’t worth the money.
However, it’s likely that Gordon is going to run into roadblocks that he saw this past offseason, where teams admire his scoring ability until they realize that he isn’t a point guard at all and can’t play defense.
In other words, expect another frustrating summer next year for the Gordon camp.