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Ben Gordon: Pax and Gar are shuffling meaningless titles in Jerry's world

Ben Gordon was on AM1000 this morning (mp3 - the Gordon interview is the very first part of the podcast) and had some interesting quotes concerning his future with the team as well as how his contract negotiations have been handled in the past. has an accurate recap:

  • He is not hearing any whispers of where he will end up.  He’s not sure if the Bulls are interested.
  • Ultimately everything goes through Jerry Reinsdorf, regardless of who is in the front office.  Those guys just represent Jerry’s wishes.
  • Doesn’t have a relationship with Jerry Reinsdorf.  Sometimes talks to him about contract things.
  • Last summer was drawn out and came to a stalemate.  On Ben’s end, he tried to work out some other options involving other teams, but that did not go over.  At the end, he went to the Bulls and said he would take the offer, and they told him it was no longer on the table.  That was last summer’s negotiations in a nutshell.  They had an offer, then when he decided to take it, they told him it was no longer there.
  • People do business different ways.  In this business you can’t be surprised with what happens.  Just took this as a learning experience, and did what he had to do this season, and now he’s going to let the chips fall where they may.

Kudos to Marc Silverman for some quality questions concerning the front-office shakeup, and bringing up the now-acknowledged pulling of the 6/$55m offer (i.e. basically everything left under the luxury tax...for some reason I had 6/$48m stuck in my head) after the 'deadline' last summer.

Not to get into that story again (of course it's moronic the Bulls would pull that offer), what's interesting in this interview was how matter-of-factly Gordon said 'no' when asked if he's heard anything from the Bulls, and how he viewed John Paxson and Gar Foreman's changing roles as non-factors after dealing (or attempting to, anyway) with the Bulls front office the past two offseasons. John Jackson picks out this exact quote:

"Ultimately, I think everything goes through Jerry," Gordon said. "I think those guys represent what Jerry wants. He's the owner. Obviously he can determine how quickly -- or how not -- the process is."

Not that it's surprising to hear that an owner has ultimate say (remember Mark Cuban a couple years ago remarking that GMs are mostly powerless) in matters like handing out tens of millions of his (investors) dollars. But Gordon's description of the Bulls world is one where it's not a case where Reinsdorf is approving what his basketball people suggest to him, but that Reinsdorf's actually driving the 'process'. And that's worrisome.

Because we've had countless debates here over the merits of re-signing Gordon. And there are solid, real reasons to lean either way on that decision. Heck, it's likely they can still sign Gordon and retroactively look smart by not having to pay him as much as they offered last offseason.  But I sure hope that's the type of conversation going on between within the melded mind of Gar Paxdorf. Not two yes-men making moves based on who are Jerry's kids.

(actually, Gordon later in the interview was fully behind dealing the young frontcourt and draft picks for Bosh or Stoudemire. Maybe he should be GM?)