It's Ben Expected: Gordon Joins Pistons
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jul 2, 2009 2:00PM
Turns out that the rumors we'd heard over the past couple weeks were true. On the first day that NBA teams could make offers to free agents, the Detroit Pistons lured Ben Gordon away from the Bulls. Gordon reportedly agreed to a five-year deal worth between $55 and $60 million. While the Bulls claimed to want to retain Gordon, and Gordon stated his desire to remain in Chicago, he sure didn't waste much time in signing elsewhere.
With Gordon's departure, the Bulls lose their leading scorer from each of his four seasons -- the shooting guard averaged 20.7 points/game during the 2008-09 season, and over 24 points/game during the playoffs. Perhaps it was his spectacular series against the Boston Celtics that priced Gordon right out of the Bulls' plans. For much of the past year, it looked like Gordon's earlier illusions of worth might cost him in the end -- over the past couple years, he'd previously rejected contract offers of $50 million/5 years and $54 million/6 years. Turns out, his gamble paid off. Many are surprised that he ended up finding somebody willing to offer a richer deal, but Detroit is trying to revamp its team after a disappointing season. Having fired coach Michael Curry yesterday, Detroit also agreed to a $40 million deal with Gordon's former UConn teammate, Charlie Villanueva on Wednesday.
And what's the next move for Bulls? In last week's draft, GM Gar Forman selected two power forwards instead of addressing the possibility they might be light in the backcourt. While mid-season acquisition John Salmons played primarily small forward in Luol Deng's absence, perhaps coach Vinny del Negro plans to shift him to shooting guard with Deng recovered from his leg injury. We don't expect the Bulls to make any big free agent slash this year, as they position themselves to lure one of next year's top talents.
Said Gordon when asked about joining the enemy, "The Bulls and Pistons always have had a great rivalry. It will be exciting going against [the Bulls], especially here because this is one of the best sports towns anywhere. I'm definitely going to miss the fans. But being on the other side will be fun too."