UPDATE(9/29): KC Johnson confirms.
I thank Ben for giving me something to keep fixated on during the dog days of the offseason. But now that it's the eve of training camp, it really was time to make a decision of the long-term deal or the one-year qualifying offer. After all indications over the weekend (including the opinion of Paxson) suggested Gordon taking the QO, famed Bulls net rumormonger 'techn9ne' reports that he will indeed do so:
Gordon will be with the team for at least one more season as he has verbally agreed to take the 1 year qualifying offer worth 6.4 million. Gordon turned down a 6 year 59 million dollar offer and will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The 6 foot 3 Guard could make it official as early as Tuesday.
If true, it's a bad finish to a mostly dormant negotiation, completing two offseasons where Gordon and the Bulls couldn't come to an agreement. But a holdout or a sign/trade for contract filler would've been even worse.
Under the QO Gordon cannot be traded this season without his consent (which would eliminate his Bird rights, so very very doubtful) and he will become an unrestricted FA next offseason.
Gordon is now a test case under the current league CBA. No player of his caliber has ever taken the qualifying offer. So while the previous examples all ended poorly both for the player and the team involved, perhaps Gordon will be the one who breaks the mold: with a fine season rewarded with a fine contract.
The big question now is how the Bulls handle the rest of the roster knowing that while they have Ben Gordon, it's with no guarantees beyond this season. Do they treat Gordon like he's gone next season and make sure they cover their bases even if it means not clearing salary and roster space? Or do they give him opportunity to earn the fat contract he wants with a bounce-back season?
The post quoted above speculates that now big man filler can be signed with Gordon's payroll figure for this season settled, but I'd prefer dealing Hughes for that filler (even if they can't play. heck, Juwan Howard can't play either) to at least signal to Gordon that they won't hold his demands against him at the expense of the team and try and pass off a triumvarate of Hughes/Hinrich/Thabo as a legitimate rotation at shooting guard.