Alright, I know this is going to be the main topic of discussion throughout the season, albeit a very heated one. As many people have clearly stated there seems to be the group that absolutely believes Gordon needs to go and there are just as many people that believe Gordon absolutely needs to stay. I am in the camp of letting Gordon go and I will present my reasons why. I would like to have a reasonable, open discussion about the pros and cons of both options so feel free to reply with informative points from both sides of the coin.
Let's first talk bout the positives of Ben Gordon as a player. He is an unbelievable scorer, I would even say one of the top 10 in the league when he is on. When he catches a streak he is literally unguardable and throughout the season was our best scorer which is something that will be missed if we were to let him go. And I want to be clear how important this skill set is and how important his scoring is to this team, however I feel there are many more negatives to Gordon's game than this one very big positive and here they are:
Let's first talk about the money aspect. Now based on previous discussions I am going to guess that Gordon is going to be looking for somewhere between 8-10 million a year and probably on the lesser side considering the current state of the economy. And from Gordon's previous demands he is going to be looking for a long term contract. So let's say somewhere between 5 year/45 million. If this were the case we would have to move Hinrich to get below the luxury tax so therefore are two highest paid players would be Luol Deng and Ben Gordon. I am sorry but the Deng/Gordon combination as our two highest paid players are not going to get us anywhere in this league. Deng is already grossly overpaid and Gordon I feel would be too. There is no grand future for the Bulls with Gordon/Deng as our two largest contracts
Next let's talk about how Gordon affects our cornerstone of the franchise Derrick Rose. This might be the most important point because every off-season move will be based on how it affects Rose. I am very concerned that if we do sign BG long term it will negatively affect the development of Rose. As seen in the playoffs all our end of the game plays are centered around BG and BG also has the attitude that he is the closer of this team(shown by him basically forcing his way through whatever shot possible). I am not sure if BG will easily defer to Rose as he becomes more of a complete player and a superstar. I think the Gordon could cause a problem with this transition from him to Rose as the closer and I worry even more so that Gordon might prevent this transition from even happening. This is Derrick's team and I don't think BG can handle that or even wants to and that is a problem.
Finally let's talk about BG, the actual player. NOw, there is the common complaint of his defense which I do not think should be understated. First off, we are incredibly undersized in the back court with BG at the 2. We have no defense for bigger guards and with Derrick's poor defense this year and probably for a couple of more years are back court basically can not guard anyone. And if we were to sign BG we would have to let Hinrich go(easily our best perimeter defender) we would have no answer for any competent offensive guard. Our defense every game would be and a disadvantage. Gordon gives us nothing on the defensive end.
Now for his offense. Like I said before he is an unbelievable scorer and that should not be underestimated. However, is ball handling is very subject, all he really wants to is take his man one-on one(stalling the offense), he is not the greatest finisher around the basket(due to his height), but for me my biggest negative about him is his shot selection. Now I know that sometimes he does hit these ridiculous shots, but the 50% of the time and probably more times he doesn't make them he is wasting a possession. I can't count how many times in the playoffs where I have no idea what he is thinking with these shots and crucial points in the game. The one problem with him as being the closer of a team is that first, he doesn't pass, no matter what. if he is double teamed, triple teamed he doesn't care he will force a shot up, many times a horrible shot in a very critical time and second on the very important possessions there is a very good chance we will be getting a bad shot from him which is incredibly frustrating.
I just think that the cons and weaknesses of Gordon's game very much outweigh this one big positive of his game. And I know we will miss a big time scorer, but if BG is our big time scorer he is such a flawed bonafide scorer that he will not lead us anywhere. What I am saying is that we need to be careful in the scorer we get. And with the thinking that we will have a good chance and getting a Chris Bosh, Amare or any of the plethora of 2010 FA, Gordon will not bee needed and any of the just mentioned options are much better efficient scorers and easily more complete players. Let me know what you think.
UPDATE: Here is post I just found from bullsbythehorns.com that talks in detail about a debate between Hinrich/Gordon that I think helps illustrate my point.