When I 'drafted' my portion of this year's season tickets (I know...why do I waste the money?), this game was at the top of my board. So, yes, I'll be a bit disappointed if Ben Gordon doesn't suit up tonight (and I'm further bummed he wouldn't go against Hinrich at least for a spell), even though his injury on top of all the other Pistons ailments (Hamilton, Prince, likely Villenueva also) makes this a much needed possible win for the Bulls. I got all season to see the Bulls fugly their way to .500 with some easier opponents, there's only one 'first game back' to see this season.
I won't go into 'what it meant' when the Bulls decided (and according to Reinsdorf, decided a season before) to let Gordon walk. You can read my rant from July 1st for that.
And not that the ramifications were meant to be determined in a month, but at least so far, the Bulls have proved to have missed Gordon more on offense than they anticipated. Or they did anticipate it and just blew smoke up our asses all offseason (likely). But it's not about being unbelievably mind-numbingly boring this season, it's about using that money elsewhere (because, as we know, the Bulls can only redirect funds, not allocate new funds) in the offseason. Nothing is determined tonight or even how either team finishes this season.
(I'd say that it'd be an ideal night to see Gordon get 50 and the Bulls still win, but then I'd have to read how it just proves that Gordon's scoring was hollow and he wasn't a winner...)
I'm interested to see how the Bulls fans receive Gordon (if he plays...there won't be any special acknowledgment if he's in street clothes) tonight. Judging by most UC crowds, there likely will be some jerks booing him (for correctly assessing his own value?), but it could also be mostly cheers. Maybe the current sorry-ass team makes the collective heart of Bulls fans grow fonder with his absence. It's like there are different levels of sophistication when it comes to being a Bulls fan regarding Gordon: You'll have the lowest seeing him being the points per game and therefore worthy of praise. Another level thinking they know a lot by criticizing his defense and, um, 'ball movement', to denigrate that scoring. And then the correct view of him being only a scorer...but being so damned good at it to the point where he was a good player. Then maybe another level wise to the Reinsdorf profit model and how this was possibly never a basketball decision? Or the lowest level that thinks Gordon was 'greedy' because they read the company line (or worse that they just hate 'spoiled' athletes)? The more I think about it, the more I see how divisive a topic Gordon's free agency realy could be. But if there's one thing consistent in the United Center, it's apathy, so it probably won't be much either way.
Heck, I'll bet a more rousing homecoming will be when Andres Nocioni plays his first game back. As far as tonight, I'll give a standing clap for Gordon and then take my usual place during the game sitting and mumbling and cursing Vinny under my breath.
I won't tell others there how to behave, but I'll say this, if you're going to give crap to a former Bull tonight, Ben Wallace is the Pistons starting center.