By Brian Hanley
Ben Gordon believes he and the Bulls are about to part ways.
"Right now, honestly, it doesn't look like it," Gordon told the Hartford Courant about returning to the Bulls for a fifth season. ``I think a decision is going to be made soon. I've had a great time [with the Bulls]. I was fortunate enough to play on a team that made the playoffs. I led the team in scoring three of the four seasons I've been here. It's been a good experience, but we haven't been able to come to any common ground. It's just part of the business. You have to do what you have to do sometimes."
Gordon, who the Bulls drafted third in 2004, is now a restricted free agent. He and the team have failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension since negotiations started last summer. Gordon turned down a five-year, $50 million offer from the Bulls last October. The team is believed to have now offered six years and approximately $60 million and do not want to go any higher because then they would be subject to the NBA's luxury tax, a dollar-for-dollar penalty when the payroll exceeds the tax threshold of $71.15 million.
Messages left for both Gordon and general manager John Paxson were not immediately returned.
Gordon's comments to the Courant came while he was home to promote his charity weekend in Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Since Gordon is a restricted free agent, the Bulls could match any offer from another team. The only team with significant salary cap room is the Memphis Grizzlies and they reportedly tendered a $58-million offer sheet Thursday to Atlanta's Josh Smith.
Gordon, as a restricted free agent, would have to agree to any sign-and-trade deal. He could also sign the team's $6.4 million qualifying offer, play out this season, and become an unrestricted free agent next summer free to sign with any team.
August 2008 Archives
By Brian Hanley