Ben Gordon thinks he's a superstar. Ben Gordon wants superstar money. Only problem is that the rest of the NBA doesn't agree with his own inflated self worth.
Following the second year of Gordon's rookie contract, the Bulls made Gordon a five-year, $50 million extension offer. He turned it down thinking he was worth more. After a '07-'08 campaign that was less successful for both Gordon and the Bulls, the team offered the shooting guard a six-year, $58 million deal. Less money per year, but more guaranteed cash. Gordon turned that down, too. While classmate Luol Deng turned down his first extension offer after the '06-'07 season, Deng did agree to a long term contract earlier this summer to the tune of $71 million over six years.
With Gordon a restricted free agent this off-season, no other offer sheets materialized and no sign-and-trade deals could be worked out during the summer. Having no other options left and an October 1 deadline to sign, Gordon signed a one-year, $6.4 million contract with the Bulls. So much for that August vow that he'd never return.
After the 2008-2009 season, Gordon becomes an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any team. Will any offer him the kind of money the Bulls were willing to? It depends on how well he plays this coming season.
The Bulls open camp with a bench deep with guards who do play into the Bulls future plans, so we don't foresee Gordon getting the minutes to put up the numbers that will land him the deal he wants. And most other teams won't have the salary cap flexibility to offer a big contract that his current team does, so Gordon likely left his biggest possible payday on the table.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh