And the Ben Gordon lottery begins…

It’s official: Ben Gordon is an unrestricted free agent. He can re-sign with the Bulls, or he can sign with any other team of his choice, provided that team is willing to pay him. It appears the team most willing and able to throw greenbacks Gordon’s way is the Detroit Pistons (who just fired their head coach and lost out on the potential opportunity to go after Carlos Boozer). It’s certainly possible the Pistons will go after Hedo Turkoglu instead, but unless I’ve missed something big, it’s basically a two-team race right now.

Mind you, Ben and his agent rejected offers of $50 million over five years and $54 million over six years the previous two summers. Rumors have the Pistons talking about a salary in the $11 million per year range. Every indication is that Gordon wants to remain a Bull, but to come anywhere close to Detroit’s rumored offer would likely create financial liability for the Bulls.

As K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune explains: “The Bulls have roughly $63.9 million worth of contracts committed for the 2009-10 season. This number doesn’t include the scaled rookie contracts of draft picks James Johnson and Taj Gibson, which combine for roughly $2.75 million. The league office will release the luxury tax threshold on July 8. Most league observers expect that figure to land somewhere near $69 million. Barring a trade, that means the Bulls only would have approximately $2.5 million to offer Gordon in the first year of a multi-year deal if they want to avoid incurring the luxury tax penalty.”

So what happens next? Losing Gordon — his 20 PPG, his big shot-making ability, his enormous biceps — would partially cripple the Bulls this season, even as it left them with some serious financial flexibility going into the already-fabled Summer of 2010 (when LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudemire become free agents). Keeping Gordon would almost certainly mean shipping off Kirk Hinrich, which would sort of make team defense the sacrificial lamb. And who, exactly, would back up Derrick Rose?

A sign-and-trade involving Gordon is possible, too. Man, anything seems possible at this point. How long has Gordon’s contract been an issue? Three straight summers now? I guess that’s why the Daily Herald’s Mike Imrem is calling this “one of the most annoying contract disputes in modern times.”

However this thing ends, one thing is certain: The Baby Bulls Era is over. Team building blocks are going to be discarded and rearranged. In all likelihood, this squad will look remarkably different in the next year or so. Something unknown (and, currently, unknowable) is being put together here in Chicago, we just don’t know what it is yet…and we don’t know whether Ben Gordon will be a part of it. Hopefully, we’ll find out — finally — in the next few days.

Update! We’ve all seen Ben’s stats. However, since nothing exists in a vacuum, I thought it might be interesting to look at some of his NBA ranks from the 2008-09 season, just to see how he measured against his peers. If you’re a fan of advanced stats, take special note of where he ranks in Player Efficiency Rating.

Top 25 Rankings – Regular Season:
Ranks #6 in Three-Point Field Goals Made (173.0)
Ranks #8 in Three-Point Field Goal Attempts (422.0)
Ranks #10 in Field Goal Attempts (1315.0)
Ranks #11 in Points (1699.0)
Ranks #14 in Minutes Played (2999.0)
Ranks #14 in Field Goals Made (598.0)
Ranks #17 in Points Per Game (20.7)
Ranks #22 in Field-Goal Attempts Per 48 Minutes (21.05)
Ranks #23 in Free-Throw Percentage (0.864)
Ranks #23 in Points Per 48 Minutes (27.2)
Ranks #24 in Total Turnovers (200.0)
Ranks #25 in Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage (0.41)

Other Rankings – Regular season:
Ranks #26 in Turnovers Per Game (2.44)
Ranks #26 in Three-Point Field Goals Per 48 Minutes (2.77)
Ranks #27 in Field Goals Per 48 Minutes (9.57)
Ranks #29 in Free Throws (330.0)
Ranks #31 in Minutes Per Game (36.6)
Ranks #34 in Free Throw Attempts (382.0)
Ranks #38 in Total Efficiency Points (1385.0)
Ranks #45 in Free Throws Per 48 Minutes (5.28)
Ranks #48 in Assists Per Game (3.4)
Ranks #50 in Efficiency Ranking (16.89)
Ranks #75 in Player Efficiency Rating (17.02)

Top 25 Rankings – Playoffs:
Ranks #4 in Minutes Per Game (43.4)
Ranks #8 in Points Per Game (24.3)
Ranks #9 in Assists Per Turnover (2.63)
Ranks #10 in Free Throws Per 48 Minutes (7.73)
Ranks #11 in Points Per 48 Minutes (26.8)
Ranks #13 in Free Throw Attempts Per 48 Minutes (8.84)
Ranks #14 in Free Throws (49.0)
Ranks #15 in Free-Throw Percentage (0.875)
Ranks #15 in Field-Goal Attempts Per 48 Minutes (21.15)
Ranks #20 in Free Throw Attempts (56.0)
Ranks #21 in Three-Point Field Goals Per 48 Minutes (2.68)
Ranks #24 in Three-Point Field Goals Made (17.0)
Ranks #25 in Three-Point Field Goal Attempts (46.0)

Other Rankings – Playoffs:
Ranks #28 in Efficiency Ranking (16.86)
Ranks #28 in Field Goals Per 48 Minutes (8.21)
Ranks #30 in Points (170.0)
Ranks #30 in Assists Per Game (3.0)
Ranks #31 in Field Goal Attempts (134.0)
Ranks #32 in Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage (0.37)
Ranks #39 in Field Goals Made (52.0)
Ranks #39 in Player Efficiency Rating (15.84)
Ranks #45 in Minutes Played (304.0)
Ranks #50 in Assists (21.0)

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3 Responses to And the Ben Gordon lottery begins…

  1. bscholtens@hotmail.com'
    Brad S. July 1, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Wow, Matt! That is some serious “stat-age”. I wonder if those help or hurt his personal mission to get paid. Obviously, one would think that having high numbers in all those catagories would help. Except for one: Minutes played. Lets look at just the playoffs: 4th in minutes played – 50th in assists??? …for a short guard? Really?

    Hey, I just had an idea! While it is not my job to spend countless hours analyzing these things, I wonder if some enterprising GM (that means you, Gar!) could create ratios for every position, (like assist/turnover, or free-throws vs. shots taken) and then try to assemble the team based on bring in those players that scored better than the acceptable ratios. In theory, you might not get the star power of a Vince Carter, but your team should be decent every year. Oh, wait: …It’s already been tried and we call them the Utah Jazz.

    Ugh! Nevermind.

  2. emailnelsonjr@gmail.com'
    Nelson Vargas July 1, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    Ranked #75 in PER! “Ba ba ba ba Bennnnn Gordon”, have fun in Detroit.

  3. andasiah16@yahoo.com'
    Orlando July 1, 2009 at 7:59 pm #

    Man nevermind ben gordon big head ass!! We need to go after a bigger star; if this team gone be successful for a championship. And another thing stop being scared to spend money for stars. This organization is very cheap and I know the GM got the money because he never do anything big!! As a fan I want to be happy for the next season to come!!

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