Ben Gordon Won't Sign Qualifying Offer, Claims He's Done in Chicago

The Ben Gordon quotes really never end. Last week, he said he'd prefer a root canal to contract negotiations. The week prior, he said he doubts he'd return to Chicago. It seemed like posing, like bluster. His latest seems even further into the "MAKE IT STOP" mousehole, as reported by ESPN's Chris Broussard (and also by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune).

"I guess it's safe to say I've played my last game in a Bulls uniform," Gordon said. Gordon, who has led the Bulls in scoring the past three seasons, said his agent, Raymond Brothers, has been speaking with other teams about sign-and-trade possibilities. [...]

[Brothers] said the only certainty is Gordon will not sign the Bulls' one-year qualifying offer of $6.4 million.

My question: isn't mid-August a bit late for this sort of hardball negotiation from a player's agent? Shouldn't Brothers have pounded Chicago this hard back in July, when the Bulls actually had money to spend? Threatening Europe at this stage (which Brothers also does in Broussard's story) is almost farcical. The jig's over, boss. Negotiating: Ur doin it wrong.

The oddest thing about the Gordon saga has been the silence of the Bulls on the matter. It might be due to incompetence or maybe John Paxson got sucked back into World of Warcraft and can't bother to answer the phone. Heck, perhaps Aaron Gray has taken over negotiations at this point -- he doesn't even know how to use a phone.

Regardless: the Bulls remaining silent as Gordon flails and thrashes at every charity event or kids' camp or toga party the media shows up to gives the impression Chicago is in complete control ... even though that's probably not the case. (I imagine the Bulls are worried, to some degree. Gordon's a good, important player.)

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