OK, I’ve been wrong before. It’s not often I don’t get basketball related things right, but it happens sometimes. I remember when I thought that Tayshaun Prince was going to be a bust in the league. Rip Hamilton too. Both of those guys turned out to be decent pros don’t you think? Well, I have another one to add to the list as I thought there was no way on earth Ben Gordon would get the same kind of money he turned down in Chicago. Wrong again.
I wrote an article called “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Gordon” where I basically said BG was stupid for turning down $50+ million dollar contract offers from the Chicago Bulls two summers in a row and he would never see another deal like that again. But Joe Dumars and the Detroit Pistons proved me wrong as they offered him a 5 year, $55 million dollar deal.
As a life-long, die hard Bulls fan it pains me to see a guy who was no doubt the only real scoring threat we had leave. What hurts worse than that is seeing him go to the Pistons who I’ve hated since they days of the “Bad Boys” beating up on my beloved Bulls. At first I blamed management for not trying harder to get a deal done with him. But now that he just signed for virtually the exact same money that he was offered here in Chicago (the Bulls offered 5 years, $50 million), there’s no doubt in my mind that BG has a very big axe to grind with management and he signed with the Pistons — a divison rival — just so he could stick it to his old squad four times a year.
Still, my basketball mind says this signing leaves more questions than answers. The biggest one being how long is Ben Gordon going to be happy with coming off the bench if the Pistons don’t plan on moving Rip Hamilton? BG was very unhappy coming off the bench in Chicago even though he was much more productive in that scenario. He’s always maintained that he feels he’s a starter in this league. I can’t knock his professionalism because even when he was unhappy in his role, he didn’t quit on the Bulls and he came to play every night. That’s why he was a fan favorite. Still, when you have a player sulking or complaining about their role it undoubtedly has an effect on team chemistry.
Chicago Bulls fans have a history of still cheering and rooting for guys even after they leave town as long as they played hard while they were here and represented the name on the front of the uniform with pride and passion. Had Ben Gordon gone anywhere else besides Detroit, he would still be loved here in the city. Now, this “Natural Born Killer” just became “Public Enemy #1”.