What’s Going to Happen with Ben Gordon?

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By Anthony Zilis

Remember those few days after Christmas when you were a kid? The excitement for weeks leading up to the big day was palpable. You could hardly sleep the night before, and then it finally came.

That’s what the days following the NBA Draft are like for me. I’m an NBA Draft fan, plain and simple.

It’s time to get back to reality. After drafting forwards James Johnson and Taj Gibson, the Chicago Bulls have to answer the question of whether they’ll re-sign Ben Gordon. Before I delve into the details, let’s look at how the Bulls’ rotation would shake out without Gordon.

PG – Derrick Rose 38 mpg, Kirk Hinrich 10 mpg

SG – John Salmons 28 mpg, Hinrich 20 mpg

SF – Luol Deng 30 mpg, Salmons 10 mpg, James Johnson or Tyrus Thomas 8 mpg

PF – Thomas 30 mpg, Joakim Noah 10 mpg, Taj Gibson or Johnson 8 mpg

C  – Noah 25 mpg, Brad Miller 23 mpg

So where does Gordon fit in to the equation? The answer, in short, is nowhere. Having Deng back in the lineup moves Salmons, a much bigger, better defender to shooting guard. That would leave Hinrich and hypothetically, Gordon, on the bench left to split playing time at shooting guard.hinrich_getty

Detroit, reportedly is ready to offer Gordon $11 million per year. With Hinrich making an average of $9 million over the next three seasons, it would be unheard of to have two backup guards making over $20 million. Signing Gordon would effectively put the Bulls near the salary cap for next year’s mega-free agency period. Having Gordon would put in jeopardy any chances of the Bulls signing Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or any other free agents in next year’s class.

The Bulls would most likely, have to trade Hinrich if they re-signed Gordon. With Hinrich on the team, though, the Bulls are saved having to sign a backup point guard. He can score although he isn’t the scorer Gordon is. But Hinrich is a premiere defensive player, and can guard three positions. With Salmons at shooting guard, the Bulls are looking at a much-improved, bigger and better defensive team.

If the Bulls commit to Gordon for five or six years, as they did with Deng, they’ll quickly regret it. And the Deng contract is obviously a regrettable decision.

The popular opinion seems to be that Hinrich is overpaid. Maybe the Bulls should just trade Hinrich and re-sign Gordon. But, crazily enough, having Gordon gone makes the Hinrich contract seem very reasonable.

Yes, $27 million over three years is a lot to pay a backup point guard. But his versatility and ability to play, and guard the shooting guard position makes him worth it. If he can give the Bulls 30 quality minutes per game, this contract seems very reasonable. The numbers are in the ballpark of guards like Jose Calderon, Maurice Williams, TJ Ford, Jamal Crawford, and Jason Terry. Hinrich absolutely belongs in that group.

Just think if he, and not Gordon, was guarding Ray Allen throughout one of the most exciting playoff series in history.

Yes, they would have missed Gordon’s scoring spark, but Allen would have been smothered by Hinrich’s defense. The series wouldn’t have been as exciting, but the Bulls may have actually won. Isn’t that the goal?

If the Bulls re-sign Gordon, they’ll win some exciting games. But when they’re not relying on his streaky scoring to dig them out of holes created by his own bad defense, they’ll probably win more.

So comment below…Do you think the Bulls should re-sign Gordon or trade Hinrich? Does Gordon’s offense make up for his defensive deficiency? What team do you think he’ll go to if he doesn’t re-sign?

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I guess the Bulls think they have him locked down- that’s why they didn’t draft a 2 guard. Gar Forman’s answer to that at the Berto Center on draft night…we’ll start addressing that on July 1st and worry about that on July 1st. I was like dude, that’s 3 days away.

  2. paulmbanks says

    There’s a lot of teams that could use his backcourt scoring…he’ll find plenty of suitors

  3. Charley Davis says

    Although the Bulls will miss his scoring punch and it will turn out to be another drafting misstep by Paxson, they should let some other team over pay for Gordon’s services. I concur that without him they are a better defensive team, which is more in keeping with Chicago’s blue collar reputation. Even with all Jordan’s flash, he was still a perennial all-defensive player. Therefore, the Bulls should strongly consider having a less dynamic offense for a year, so they have the cap space to be a player in the 2010 free agent bonanza.

  4. David K. says

    Man, I don’t know… I think Gordon’s scoring ability is too great to just let him walk… if he’s re-signed, there is no way Salmons starts over him at the two… NO WAY…

    I’m not sure why he’d want to sign with Detroit though… They already have Rip at the two, so how does that rotation work out? Plus, isn’t Rodney Stuckey a sort of poor man’s Ben Gordon? If I were Gordon, I’d take $12-14 mil a year from Chi, play alongside Derrick Rose and eventually compete among the East’s best… rather than go to a Detroit team that’s not sure if they are re-building or what???

  5. David K. says

    Plus, Salmons is in the final year of his contract, so letting Gordon walk and then possibly Salmons next off-season would be costly… of course, if they were trying to clear some cap space to bring D-Wade back to the Chi, then I’d be all about that…

  6. Ever since he signed that contract Hinrich has been underrated in my opinion. Yes, it was a little too much, but what he brings defensively can’t go unnoticed. I think the Bulls should just let Ben Gordon walk instead of giving him the long-term, $11-12 million deal he might get in Detroit.

  7. Salmons still has two years left on his deal and only 11.2 million. If the Bulls are even going to THINK about signing Dwyane Wade, they can’t sign Gordon. They absolutely can’t afford to make the same mistake as they did signing Deng. Gordon may win you a few games, but he won’t win you championships. Yes, there are times Gordon can light it up from anywhere on the court, but he’s not a guy you can rely on night in and night out. He would be a good addition to a tteam already with a championship-ready roster, but I don’t think you can say that about this Bulls team.
    People forget, after watching the playoffs, how much of a difference having Deng back will make to the lineup. There’s almost no way you’re getting rid of that contract, and he’s not getting paid $13 million per to sit on the bench.

  8. David K. says

    whoops… Salmons does have two-years left… I’m slipping… I understand what you’re saying about Gordon not being a championship caliber two-guard… but how does losing him for nothing help the team?? With Rose’s development over the next couple years, Gordon could be the perfect two-guard compliment… If he is not brought back though, Chi would have about $18 mill to spend next off-season which likely wouldn’t be enough to lure Wade or any of the elite, elite level players…

  9. To get these elite, max-deal players, there’s a good chance you’d have to sign-and trade anyway, because a team with bird rights can give more money and an extra year. You could also back-load the contracts. There are only a select few teams who would have more space than that. Losing him for nothing is much better than paying him twice or 150 percent what he’s worth to you. The Bulls will be in danger of becoming stagnant at the 5-8 seed range for years if they sign him.

  10. David K. says

    AP reporting Pistons sign Gordon 5 year 55 mil… Villanueva 5 year, 35 mil

  11. paulmbanks says

    I don’t think his departure is the end of the world. When Deng gets back, it will be yet another reminder of how dependent this team is on jump shooters. With both Hughes and now Gordon gone, we won’t have to worry about finding enough balls to go around with all the outside shooters.

    Hinrich can and should take on an increased role. Maybe Vinny’s lack of coachign defense won’t look as bad with Gordon gone. The defense wont seem as horrendous

  12. paulmbanks says

    I love Salmons by the way, his pickup was huge in turning the season around. I’d liek to see him take on a bigger role next season

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