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?