Mike McGraw, with lots of interesting perspectives on Gordon and the other guards from media day:
"I'm going to be part of the team," Gordon said Monday at the Berto Center. "All I can do is continue to be professional. That's why I'm here today. That's why I'll be with my teammates tomorrow even if I'm not going to practice."
"I don't want this to be a situation where anyone thinks we don't value Ben, because we do," Paxson said. "If he's on our team, we hope he has a great year and helps us win games."
It's conceivable that Gordon will threaten to take the qualifying offer until the last possible moment, in hopes that the Bulls improve their offer. An increase doesn't seem likely, though, because the Bulls' payroll is approaching the luxury-tax threshold.
Asked if he's ruled out re-signing with the Bulls if he becomes unrestricted next summer, Gordon replied, "I don't know. Ask me in a year."
Once Gordon's contract is resolved, the Bulls will address a related problem - what to do with the crowd in the backcourt. They finished last season with Gordon, Kirk Hinrich, Larry Hughes, Thabo Sefolosha and Chris Duhon struggling to get comfortable with inconsistent playing time.
Since then, Duhon left for New York as a free agent, only to be replaced by Rose, the top pick of the NBA draft. The Bulls plan to bring Rose along slowly, but he'll be a fixture at point guard sooner rather than later.
"It's not going to be easy," first-year coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We have a lot of talented guys at the one, two and three. Maybe sometimes we'll play a little bit smaller. The guys that compete the hardest, not only in practice but in games, and prepare the best and are ready to go to battle, obviously those are the guys you want to go with."
"Obviously, the logical person that people were talking about moving was Kirk," Paxson said. "I certainly wouldn't want to be sitting here next year not having Kirk or Ben. That was the reason we held pat in the backcourt."
Asked his thoughts about solving the logjam at guard, Gordon said, "It's a mystery. I've been trying to figure that out the whole time. I guess the only thing you can do is wait and see."
Paxson has made it sound as though Gordon signing a long-term deal would make it more likely that one of the other guards would be moved.
"I don't know if that makes sense," Gordon said. "That doesn't make sense to me. You could have done a deal with me and then if you wanted to move somebody, move somebody. I don't think it had to go in that order."
As Paxson said, in terms of who to trade, the only person really impacted by whether Gordon takes a 1 or 6-year deal is Hinrich. There's still no reason not to deal Hughes and Nocioni to clear up minutes.
As for Gordon's comments, he seems a bit slighted, but it sounds more like fuel for motivation than for petulance. There's talk of a last-minute avoidance of the QO, but the Sun Times reports that the Bulls are at $58m and Gordon's agents 'are believed to be' asking for $75m. I doubt that the gap is that wide (it almost sounds like the Sun-Times report is still using the year-old speculation that Gordon wanted to make more than Ben Wallace), but it still sounds like any compromise is a longshot.