Bobcats trade for Ben Gordon
Hollinger: Names Not Key In Deal
Ben Gordon and Corey Maggette aren't the key pieces in the trade between Charlotte and Detroit. It's about a draft pick and cap relief, writes John Hollinger. Story
Sources told ESPN.com the first-round pick going to Charlotte is lottery-protected in 2013, top-eight protected in 2014, top-one protected in 2015 and unprotected in 2016.
The deal provides significant long-term savings for the Pistons. Maggette is in the last year of his contract that pays him $10.9 million during the 2012-13 season.
Gordon has two years, $25.6 million left on his contract, giving the Pistons a long-term savings of $14 million.
Gordon averaged 12.5 points last season, including a 45-point outing at Denver in which he tied his own NBA record by making nine 3-pointers without a miss. The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year in 2005 with Chicago spent three disappointing seasons in Detroit, averaging 12.4 points.
Maggette was limited to 32 games last season because of injuries, averaging 15 points. The 13-year veteran, in the final year of his contract, has averaged 16.2 points in his career.
For the Bobcats, they get a much needed shooter in their backcourt. In a recent interview after a pre-draft workout, new coach Mike Dunlap told reporters that was the team's biggest need.
"Definitely, shooters," Dunlap said. "The ability to make the 3[-pointer] is really important because it allows you to play inside. What happens [in the absence of quality shooting] is the defense collapses and it gets crowded in there.
"It's always nice to have guys who can shoot a basketball."
"With this trade, we have acquired two things we covet in our plan to build this team," said Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins. "By acquiring a young and proven talent in Ben Gordon and a future first-round draft pick, we have both addressed our need for three-point shooting and acquired an additional asset to help continue to improve our team in the future."
The Bobcats may not be done dealing. Sources say the team is looking at several other trade options, including trading the No. 2 pick in Thursday night's draft.
The Bobcats are looking to add multiple assets. The team has spoken with several teams, but its talks with the Cleveland Cavaliers have been the most substantive. The Cavs have the Nos. 4, 24, 33 and 34 picks in the draft. If Cleveland is willing to offer both No. 4 and No. 24, it might be able to get a deal done by draft night.
If the Bobcats keep the No. 2 pick, the addition of Gordon may end talk that they'll take Florida's Bradley Beal at No. 2. Beal, like Gordon, is an undersized sharpshooter. Kansas' Thomas Robinson and Kentucky's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are also in the mix for the Bobcats at No. 2.
This trade won't change the draft focus of the Pistons, however. They are leaning strongly toward taking a big man with the No. 9 pick. UConn center Andre Drummond and North Carolina's John Henson are both getting strong consideration in Detroit, according to sources.
An eight-year NBA veteran, Gordon has played in 594 career NBA games for the Bulls and Pistons, with averages of 16.5 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per game.
He has shot 43.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from beyond the 3-point line. He's an 86 percent career free throw shooter. His career 3-point percentage currently ranks 12th among active players and 21st in NBA history, while his career free throw percentage ranks 10th among active players and 31st all-time.
The 6-foot-3 Gordon was initially selected by the Bulls out of Connecticut with the third overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He signed with the Pistons during the 2009 offseason, part of a makeover that also included the addition of Charlie Villanueva. Detroit has not made the playoffs since then, and Gordon hasn't come close to the 20.7-point average of his final season in Chicago.
By acquiring a young and proven talent in Ben Gordon and a future first-round draft pick, we have both addressed our need for three-point shooting and acquired an additional asset to help continue to improve our team in the future.” -- Bobcats president of basketball
operations Rod Higgins
The Pistons are now rebuilding around young players like Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. They cut ties with Richard Hamilton before last season, and now Gordon leaves after starting only 21 games in 2011-12.
Those two departures leave Detroit with a bit less of a logjam on the perimeter. Knight was drafted in the first round last year, and with Rodney Stuckey also in the backcourt, Gordon came off the bench more often than not last season.
Maggette was acquired by the Bobcats on June 23, 2011, as part of a three-team trade in which the Bobcats received Maggette from Milwaukee and the draft rights to Bismack Biyombo from Sacramento, in exchange for sending Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the draft rights to Tobias Harris to Milwaukee.
Gordon was slated to earn base $12.4 million next season and $13.2 million in 2013-14, which immediately makes him the highest-paid player on the Bobcats roster.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.