Arenas Blogs on his Convo with Gordon

Interesting account from Arenas

Interesting account from Arenas:

I Talked to Ben Gordon
For all the Chicago fans out there who heard about Ben Gordon wanting to talk to me, we sat down and talked for like 30 minutes. He wanted to pick my brain a little bit and we did some chit-chatting. You know, I didn't actually say his name in my blog, but he still wanted to talk to me about that part of the market.

He was telling me the real story, the part that people wasn't getting. He was like, "G.A., I respect your game, and we did a shoot together in the past so I know you're cool, but it was hard to read what you were really saying, that's why I wanted to talk to you."

He was telling me, "They didn't even negotiate with me. They were like, `This is what it is, take it or leave it' and that was it."

I'm thinking, "Damn, that's kind of messed up," in my mind because when you have a player who has done a lot for your franchise ... two years ago y'all would have been signing this man to $75-million plus, and now two years later it's just like, "Take this or leave it!" It's frustrating. I understand where he was coming from. I was trying to let him know that there's way to be like, "OK, if this is what you offer, I'll take that, but could you differ some of this?"

So it works for both of us. It's like, "You're paying me this now, but in 10-years, 20-years, 30-years from now you owe me $10 million more and it doesn't hurt you now."

It works both ways. I was just giving him some of the knowledge I know. And the same thing with Deng. I ended up finding out that with Deng; they didn't even offer him $60 million. No, they didn't even come close to that money.

Ben was like, "I heard if they would have offered him $58 million, he would have took that." So Luol didn't actually end up turning down what people thought he turned down.

Once I heard Ben wanted to talk to me, I told a PR guy, "When the Bulls come, just tell Luol and Gordon to meet me in the weight room," because I knew nobody would be in there.

But I was actually walking in when they came so I just pulled Ben in there and we chit-chatted and I was just telling him stories. There really are true stories out there of people turning down this money and opting out and they're not getting that money back.

I have a real close friend who I played a year with, Earl Boykins, who opted out of $3 million and, right now, Earl's not playing. That's why I said it. There are stories out there like that, people just aren't hearing them.

Earl, that's my man. Earl should be playing for any team and then he opts out of $3 million thinking he's worth more, and no one ended up paying him. Now he's sitting out and he has to wait for somebody to pick him up later on.

It's kind of messed up, but for some reason, like I told Ben, these owners aren't playing right now. The days of maxing out players who really aren't max players, it's looking like that's over. Two-three years ago, everybody was getting the max. I was like, "Damn! He's getting the max?! He averaged seven and seven ... Whooo! All right, can I opt out of my deal now then?"

But those days are over. You have to start paying attention to what's going on. You have to start paying attention to what's going on now. I told him, "Hey, two years ago if you go in and they offer you $50 million, yeah, you turn that down."

But right now, those players can't concentrate. I was watching them the other day and they're the same players, but it looks like they're not concentrating. I remember when I was a free agent, it was easy for me to play because I just figured I was coming back to Golden State. I didn't think I was worth anything. It never hit my mind until I was already out of the season and my agent said, "Hey, we can get this ..."

I was like, "Oh, really?" Because, at the time, the Warriors had offered me $42 million and I was like, "Forty-two? Cool! I'm back." So there was no pressure on me.

But people playing with trying to go for their contract, that's hard. People don't realize that. It's like being watched at your job everyday, anytime you mess up. You're up for promotion and there's somebody just watching you everyday, every move, every move you make ... it's hard to perform like that. And you can see it in them. You can just see that they're playing like they don't want to make mistakes. They're playing like, every shot I miss, "Man! I missed it!" It's so hard to play like that. It's easier for the older guys to do it, but it's the young talent that really doesn't know how to play under pressure like that, especially going into free agency.

Hopefully they can turn it around. I remember that Bulls team when they were 0-9 because we played them in the playoffs that year. The same guys that are up for contracts right now are the same guys that are going to get them out of that funk. You just hate to see somebody like Deng get traded and go other places because he did so much for that franchise and got them out of that Jerry Krause era of bad negotiating.

And you wonder why the Bulls broke up the first time ... because of contract issues. Scottie Pippen was the second- best player on the team but getting the sixth-highest paid player. Toni Kukoc was getting paid more than Scottie Pippen! And you wonder why that franchise broke away the way it did ...

I only spoke to Gordon and we talked about Deng, because Deng was on the court shooting. I just sat there and talked to Gordon and he said he'll talk to Deng. Truthfully, Gordon was just a young fella just trying to get information.

That's all I was blogging about in the first place. Talk to me and get your information. I'm actually supposed to be talking to Iguodala pretty soon to let him know.

You know what's so funny? Gordon said it: "The messed up part is, it's our whole class." I understand that, when you have a bunch of players from the same draft class, you guys are trying to out-do each other and it's competitive. But like I was telling him, "Hey, I know it's competitive, but you don't want to be that odd-man out."

Right now, Kirk Hinrich signed his deal, Nocioni signed his deal ... they're breathing. It's easy for them to just go out there and play.

There's a fair amount of stuff to laugh at in there (if Kirk Hinrich is truly breathing easy and just going out to play without concern, he ought to be strung up), but I think his talk with Gordon is pretty interesting and sheds some serious light on what's going through his and Deng's heads.

I mean, obviously, it still bugs Gordon, and it seems to even bug him about how Deng was handled.  We know it bugged Deng because he said so himself in other interviews.  And we've still got some incongruities between what the Bulls reported they offered and what Deng and Gordon report they were offered.  

It's one thing to look at them now and say anything they were offered was too much, but I think folks need to recognize that salary negotiations are very delicate things.  I don't think that, just because lots of money is involved, people stop being human.  And in every work environment I've ever been in, people's performance ends up being very affected by how they feel they were treated, not just what the bottom line dollar amount is. If you end up getting a raise, but you feel like you had to drag it out of your boss, it can leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth.  Likewise if you think you had to settle for less than you should. And at the same time, sometimes you can get a guy to settle for less by properly massaging them and/or just having a good discussion and lines of communication about how everything has to fit together in order to make money and be successful.

When I look at how the Deng and Gordon negotiations went, at least from their reactions, accounts of past negotiations, and the way other guys have gotten contracts, it's not very hard for me to imagine a pretty unhappy locker room.

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