Bulls guard Ben Gordon doesn't sound confident that he'll be returning to the Bulls.
Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer
During a conversation with the Hartford Courant to help promote his charity weekend in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Ben Gordon expressed pessimism that he'll play for the Bulls next season.
"Right now, honestly, it doesn't look like it," he said. "I think a decision is going to be made soon. ... I've had a great time here. I was fortunate enough to play on a team that made the playoffs. I led the team in scoring three of the four seasons I've been here. It's been a good experience, but we haven't been able to come to any common ground. It's just part of the business. You have to do what you have to do sometimes."
Reached Friday, Gordon said the pessimistic tone of his quote was correct, but he still has no idea how his contract negotiations will play out. The 6-foot-2 guard is a restricted free agent, which means the Bulls could match any offer from another team, though only Memphis has significant cap room available and it reportedly tendered Atlanta's Josh Smith a $58-million offer sheet on Thursday.
The Bulls are offering Gordon a deal in the range of $59 million over six years and do not want to go any higher because then they would be subject to the NBA's luxury tax, a dollar-for-dollar penalty when the payroll exceeds the tax threshold of $71.15 million.
Of course, Gordon doesn't have many options if he wants to bolt from the Bulls. The team would have to agree to any sign-and-trade deal. In order to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, he would have to first sign a one-year qualifying offer worth $6.4 million and spend a lame-duck season with the Bulls. The other option would be to sign with a European team, something Gordon clearly would prefer not to do.