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News » Bulls miss Gordon -- for now


Bulls miss Gordon -- for now


Bulls miss Gordon -- for nowTONIGHT

Pistons at Bulls

The facts: 7, CSN, 1000-AM.

NBA standings: Page 52.

Perhaps it was fitting that the Bulls' game before Ben Gordon's return to the United Center came down to whether they could convert on their last offensive possession.

They didn't.

Brad Miller's last-second 18-footer grazed the front of the rim and fell harmlessly to the court as time expired, giving the Milwaukee Bucks a 99-97 victory Monday and renewing the debate about whether Bulls management made the right decision during the summer in allowing Gordon to leave via free agency.

The issue isn't simply whether the Bulls miss the scoring (and last-second big shots) Gordon provided last season. They do and probably would have a couple of more victories right now if he were still on the roster.

It's doubtful anyone in the Berto Center would argue that point -- certainly not Gordon's former teammates.

''He was definitely a hell of a scorer and someone we counted on a lot, so we just have to make the adjustment,'' center Joakim Noah said. ''We're definitely not there yet and we miss his scoring, but it's not an excuse.

''I think we definitely have enough to win Basketball games.''

The real issue for the Bulls -- and their fans and the talking heads on sports radio -- is whether the organization will be better off in the long run not being saddled with the five-year, $55 million contract Gordon signed with the Detroit Pistons.

That remains to be seen, of course, but the Bulls wouldn't have nearly the flexibility they have now if Gordon had been re-signed.

If management's objective is to build a team down the road capable of contending for an NBA championship, then letting Gordon go was the right move.

Unlike some teams that are saddled with bloated contracts and potentially huge luxury-tax bills, the Bulls are well-positioned to make a blockbuster move for an All-Star-caliber player, either at the trading deadline in February or next summer.

If a struggling or financially strapped team becomes desperate at the deadline and is willing to trade a star with a long-term contract for an expiring contract and a prospect -- which is likely to happen in this rough economy -- the Bulls have the expiring contracts of Miller ($12 million) and Jerome James ($6 million) and enough attractive young players to get a deal done.

If a trade doesn't develop, they have the ability to get far enough under the salary cap next summer to go after a big-time free agent.

Forget about the hapless New York Knicks or the even more pathetic New Jersey Nets.

If LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh or any other member of what should be the best free-agent class in history decides to leave his current team, the Bulls would be a more attractive destination because of their talented young roster.

I know Bulls fans have been burned twice by grand free-agent plans in the post-Jordan era -- getting no one of significance the first time and a declining Ben Wallace the second time -- but the third time might be the charm.

We'll see. For now, the big story is Gordon's return to the place he spent the first five seasons of his career. That is, if he plays.

Gordon, who is working his way back from a sprained left ankle, didn't really practice Tuesday. He shot around and did some other drills. He was listed as questionable, and his status wasn't expected to be decided until after the shootaround this morning.

If he does play, it'll be interesting to see how Gordon is received by the crowd, especially because he basically left for more money.

''It's gonna be kind of weird playing against him,'' Bulls point guard Derrick Rose said. ''But our fans are die-hard Bulls fans, so I don't think it's gonna be a cheerful crowd for Ben Gordon.''

Noah, though, hopes the reception is positive.

''I think he deserves all the respect in the world,'' he said of Gordon. ''He obviously did a lot for the Bulls . He competed every night. He was one of the best scorers to ever wear the jersey.

''I think we wouldn't have been in the position we were last year if it wasn't for that guy hitting big shot after big shot. He's an unbelievable talent.''

Comment at suntimes.com.


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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 2, 2009

 

 
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