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Ask the Expert: Could the Jazz make a deal for Ben Gordon?

Published August 27, 2008 9:42 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 9:42 PM- Question: Ben Gordon wants out of Chicago. Is there any way the Jazz could work something out to get him here? I understand it would require an overhaul of the roster, but wouldn't it be worth it to fix the Jazz's two-guard by committee? It would bring in another special talent to surround Deron Williams. Is it possible? -- Brent Terry

Answer: Possible, yes.

Likely, no.

Depending on what he would cost the Jazz, the addition of Gordon would be a good one. He would certainly add defense-stretching shooting range to a team that, despite the presence of Memo Okur, Kyle Korver, C.J. Miles and Williams, could use more.

Gordon was the Bulls' first-round pick in the 2004 draft. He has spent four years in the NBA. His career scoring average is a robust 18 points a game. Last season, he averaged 18.6 points and shot 41 percent from the three-point line. For being an undersized shooting guard (6-foot-3, 200 pounds), he has also been durable. He has averaged 79 regular-season games a season. So that doesn't seem to be an issue.

His contract situation would be a concern, however.

After the 2006-07 season, Gordon turned down a five-year, $50 million contract extension from Chicago, apparently thinking he would be in position to get more this summer. But it hasn't worked that way.

The Bulls re-signed free agent Luol Deng to a six-year, $70 million extension and, through incredible luck in the lottery, added Memphis point guard Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick in the draft.

With Kirk Hinrich ($36.5 million, four years) and Andres Nocioni ($28 million, four years) also on the roster, Gordon's position as an apparently untouchable cornerstone has changed. So far, the Bulls' only attempt to re-sign him is tendering a $6.4 million qualifying offer. Gordon says he won't consider it, citing the six-year, $67 million contract young guard Monta Ellis got from Golden State as evidence he's worth worth far more.

It certainly looks like Gordon will not play again in Chicago, but, in my opinion, several things would have to happen for the Jazz to acquire him.

The Bulls and Gordon would have to agree to a contract and sign-and-trade arrangement. The Jazz would also have to decide he was worth a long-term investment. I don't think Gordon or his agent would lose any leverage they have by agreeing to a one- or two-year deal just to get out of Chicago.

Step No. 2: If Jazz vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor and coach Jerry Sloan liked the idea of having Gordon on their team, they would have to come up with a deal that would intrigue the Bulls.

Certainly, Andrei Kirilenko is Utah's most logical bargaining chip, and Chicago might be interested in him, although he plays a lot like Deng and Nocioni. It's possible the Bulls might feel they were duplicating talent by adding Kirilenko.

Like you, I'm guessing the Jazz and Bulls would have to add more pieces to a Gordon-Kirilenko trade to make everyone happy.

"... Overhaul the roster," you said.

Utah would likely have an interest in Hinrich or Nocioni, but the Bulls were unwilling to part with either one when they had a chance to get Pau Gasol from Memphis last year. So I don't know if Gordon's unhappiness with his contract would change their thinking too much.

Chicago might consider throwing a young big man into a deal with Gordon, but neither Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah have proven themselves. I'm not sure the Jazz would have keen interest in either one.

On the other side of things, who would the Jazz have to give up, besides Kirilenko?

I don't know if Ronnie Brewer would be enough to seal any Kirilenko-Gordon deal, and the same thing goes for Matt Harpring or Miles. I'm also guessing the Jazz would not include Carlos Boozer or Okur in any deal with Chicago. If they did, the Bulls would have to include several players from the group I already mentioned, most likely Hinrich and Thomas or Noah.

If that happened, you would be getting into "blockbuster" territory, and I think the Jazz are in a tweak-and-grow mode with their current roster. I'd be surprised if they blew things up to get Gordon and a couple of his teammates with the Bulls who, you recall, struggled horribly as a team last season.

Bottom line?

Getting Gordon from the Bulls looks good on paper and actually could benefit the Jazz, I believe. But, as with all major trades, making it happen seems like a huge task.