The Bulls remain far apart in negotiations with guard Ben Gordon, also a restricted free agent. Gordon's agent, Raymond Brothers, has told the Bulls that Gordon should be the highest-paid player on the team because he has led the team in scoring each of the last three seasons. Gordon averaged 18.6 points last season, down from a career-high 21.4 in 2006-07.
Who currently holds the distinction of being the team's highest-paid player? That'd be Larry Hughes, believe it or not, who will haul in $12.8 million this year and $13.6 million in 2009-10. Luol Deng, whose new contract averaged $11.8 million in base pay, is next, followed by Kirk Hinrich, who's due $10 million this year.
Gordon is making a mistake if he's determined to make more than Hughes, whose contract is widely regarded as an albatross and was acquired merely to faciliate dumping an even bigger albatross in Ben Wallace. I can understand Gordon wanting to make more than Deng as a point of pride, but this summer's market for undersized off-guards was already set by Monta Ellis (who's both younger and better than Gordon) at $11.1 million a season.
Even if Gordon signs the qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent next summer, I don't see a huge rush of suitors lining up, especially being just one summer away from the gold mine that is 2010. If last year's five-year, $50 million deal is still on the table, Gordon should grab it. He's good, but he's not that good.