According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: “Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon and Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva flew to Detroit on Wednesday morning for a mid-day meeting with team president Joe Dumars and indications are both are moving rapidly toward deals with the Detroit Pistons, league and sources close to the two players told Yahoo! Sports. Gordon and Villanueva, both unrestricted free agents, would be significant strikes on the first full day of NBA free agency. Gordon and Villanueva played one season together at the University of Connecticut, and are good friends. The Pistons have nearly $20 million in salary-cap space and it’s thought that the offers to these two players would come close to expending that money.”
Whoa! Both are moving rapidlytoward deals with the Pistons?! That sounds awfully set-in-stone-ish to me. I thought BG wanted to remain a Bull? Of course, money could very well rule the day. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that Dumars is expected to make Gordon an offer “in the neighborhood of $50 million over five years.” I can’t see the Jerry Reinsdorf matching that offer. But hey, here’s some good news: The Bulls extended a qualifying offer to retain or match on Aaron Gray. (The offer is worth just over $1 million, fully guaranteed.) So you can go ahead and erase that entry off your Worry Board.
Even if the Bulls do end up losing Gordon to the Pistons, it’s okay. After all, Ben just gave Dime Magazine the blueprint for his step-back jumper. Vinny Del Negro can just have Derrick Rose, John Salmons, Kirk Hinrich and whoever else you want to name (except Tyrus Thomas) copy that, and the team will be good to go. Go ahead and wipe another entry off your Worry Board.
Update! According to David Kaplan of Chicago Now: “Outstanding NBA sources that I just spoke to with direct knowledge of the negotiations tell me that Ben Gordon is still in Detroit as of 3:31 p.m. CST. In addition, he has told friends that he will call John Paxson and Gar Forman to offer the Bulls a chance to match Detroit’s offer which I am being told will be for roughly 50 million over 5 years but could creep a little higher if that is what it takes to keep the Bulls from matching. Stay tuned…”
Stay tuned indeed.