Multiple Internet reports based in Europe suggested Tuesday that Bulls guard Ben Gordon has had talks with overseas power CSKA Moscow about signing a one-year contract. Gordon, a restricted free agent, and the Bulls have been in a negotiating stalemate all summer.
Reached Tuesday, Gordon said he'd prefer not to comment on the reports. His agent, Raymond Brothers, did not return a phone message.
It's possible Gordon would prefer joining a European team over signing the one-year qualifying offer from the Bulls worth $6.4 million. One site pegged CSKA's offer at $5.5 million.
Under NBA rules, should Gordon sign with a European team for any length of time, he would continue to be a restricted free agent as long as the Bulls make their one-year qualifying offer available.
If Gordon signs the one-year qualifying offer, he would spend the coming season with the Bulls, then become an unrestricted free agent next summer. In the meantime, Gordon could not be traded without his permission.
The qualifying offer expires on Oct. 1, but the Bulls would continue to hold Gordon's rights beyond that date.
If Gordon becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer, several NBA clubs are expected to have salary-cap room.
If he signs the Bulls' one-year qualifying offer, Gordon's playing time could conceivably drop because the team has a surplus of guards and he would be expected to leave after the season. The No. 3 pick of the 2004 draft, Gordon has been the Bulls' top scorer for the past three years.
Whether Gordon is simply trying to gain some leverage in negotiations with the Bulls or if he's serious about moving to Moscow is anyone's guess. CSKA won its second Euroleague title in three years last spring with players such as former Duke guard Trajan Langdon and ex-Bulls forward Viktor Khryapa.
The Bulls are believed to be offering Gordon a six-year deal worth around $59 million. NBA training camps will open the week of Sept. 28.