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News » Could be a low-key homecoming

Could be a low-key homecoming

Could be a low-key homecoming This isn?t the day to determine whether the Bulls made the right call in letting Ben Gordon walk away as a free agent and sign with the Detroit Pistons last summer.

The Pistons will battle the Bulls tonight at the United Center, but Gordon may not play because of a sprained left ankle.

He shot around, but did not practice with the Pistons on Tuesday in Auburn Hills, Mich. Gordon has missed two games since the injury occurred last Wednesday against Cleveland.

It?s always possible he will feel better on game day and decide to give it a go. But Gordon watching in street clothes is a distinct possibility.

On Tuesday at the Berto Center, Gordon?s former teammates had plenty of praise for the sharpshooting guard, who led the Bulls in scoring the past four years.

"Ben was probably the best scorer I ever played with," Derrick Rose said. "For him to be in another jersey kind of hurts.

"But it?s the NBA; you?re not going to play with the same people every year. I?m happy that he?s doing fine now and am sorry to hear about the injury. I hope he does play tomorrow."

During his five years with the Bulls , Gordon delivered plenty of highlights and built a reputation as one of the league?s best clutch shooters.

In his second-to-last Bulls game at the United Center, Gordon buried a last-second 3-pointer to extend a double-overtime win in Game 4 of the playoff series against Boston.

The Bulls are not planning any kind of video tribute to Gordon at tonight?s game, according to a team spokesman.

"I think he deserves all the respect in the world," Joakim Noah said. "He?s one of the best scorers that ever wore the jersey. We wouldn?t have been in the position we were in last year if it wasn?t for that guy hitting big shot after big shot. He?s just an unbelievable talent."

Noah went on to suggest Gordon?s tireless summer

work ethic was an inspiration.

"I?ve never seen a guy work out the way he would work out," Noah said. "He?d be in here three or four times a day in the Berto Center, just shooting jump shots, having a guy work out with him. I think when somebody works that hard, he deserves all the credit in the world."

There is no point in checking the statistics to see if the Bulls are worse or the Pistons are better since Gordon changed sides. Both teams are struggling on the floor while missing some key players.

The Bulls (6-9) returned from the annual circus road trip with a five-game losing streak. Kirk Hinrich (sprained left thumb) and Tyrus Thomas (broken left arm) remain on the shelf.

Detroit (6-11) has dropped seven of its last eight games playing without Richard Hamilton (ankle) and Tayshaun Prince (back). In addition to Gordon, who is averaging 19.8 points, the Pistons also may be without forward Charlie Villanueva, who broke his nose in Sunday?s win over Atlanta.

Gordon?s Bulls replacement at two guard, John Salmons, hasn?t been shooting well early in the season. But in essence the Bulls traded Gordon for salary-cap room next summer.

If the Bulls whiff on Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Joe Johnson, Chris Both, etc., then losing Gordon will seem like a bad decision. Team management decided the Bulls would never challenge for a spot in the NBA Finals with a small backcourt of Gordon and Rose, so they made a tough call.

The Bulls made two attempts to re-sign Gordon before he became an unrestricted free agent, but their top offer was believed to be around $54 million over six years. He received roughly $57.5 million over five seasons from the Pistons.

On Monday, Gordon tried to downplay his potential first game against the Bulls in an opposing uniform.

"I don?t know how it (will be) until I get there," Gordon said, according to "I?m looking at it as another game. I?m just trying to get healthy right now.

"I learned pretty early this in this league it?s a game, but it?s also a business. I don?t feel any disappointing feelings. I?m happy with how everything turned out."

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Added: December 3, 2009


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