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Digging in

Paxson has said that he will not make any moves without knowing the team's status with Ben Gordon.

The Bulls have also used the Luxury Tax threshold as a cap for Gordon's contract offer: that of 6 years and around $59m.

Considering that this is an offer that is less (annually) than what was offered last season, I doubt Gordon accepts it. The first year of that deal isn't much more than he can make with the qualifying offer.

So do the Bulls truly dig in at this figure for the rest of the summer? Does Paxson have the license to make deals in order to reduce this year's payroll number and therefore offer Ben more? Or, better yet, an understanding with ownership that there's always opportunity to get the team under the tax by the time it's assessed (at the end of the regular season)? Or would any increase in an offer be viewed by the team as 'losing' the negotiation?

Though even disregarding the license to do so, has Paxson ever shown to be the proactive sort to pull such a thing off? Except getting Nocioni signed before the dreaded Memphis offer sheet, of course...

And just how long do they stay at this stalemate? In the interest of eliminating 'distractions' for the upcoming season, I can see the team giving Gordon a timeline (but Paxson hates those!) to accept the deal or the QO. Now, being on the QO itself will be a huge distraction all season anyway (and don't forget Hinrich's kid!), but it'd be a nice excuse for the team to put more pressure on Gordon. And though I'm not too pleased with yet another example in an entire career of the Bulls devaluing Gordon, if it works it'll be a job well done by the team.