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News » Around the league Contract talks are root of Gordon's discontent

Around the league Contract talks are root of Gordon's discontent

Around the league Contract talks are root of Gordon's discontent
Around the league Contract talks are ROOT

of Gordon's discontent


When asked which process was more painful, ROOT canal or contract negotiations, Ben Gordon didn't hesitate.

Gordon said contract negotiations.

Most people might disagree with Gordon's assessment, but after enduring two consecutive seasons of acrimonious contract negotiations that resulted in failure, Gordon is weary.

"Everyone has to go through it at some point in their career," Gordon said. "It's just something we all got to deal with."

Gordon has rejected contract offers from the Chicago Bulls in each of the past two seasons. He spurned a five-year, $50 million offer in 2007, then said no to a six-year, $58 million deal last month.

Gordon, who has led the Bulls in scoring the past three seasons and again this season, says he deserves a larger contract. He reportedly desires a contract on the same scale as Bulls forward Luol Deng's six-year, $71 million deal that was signed in July.

The difficult negotiations clearly affected Gordon last season, when his scoring average (18.6 points per game) dropped from the 2006-07 season (21.4). Gordon said he wasn't going to allow another disappointing deal --he signed a $6.4 million qualifying offer in October --to affect him this season.

"I am always just trying to focus on the game; it hasn't changed since I've been going through these contract issues," said Gordon, who is averaging about 20 points this season. "Nothing is different. You go through the process and you just move on."

Gordon hopes he will earn a big-money deal once he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, there are some observers who say Gordon, one of the league's best perimeter shooters, is a one-dimensional player who will not command more than what the Bulls offered.

Carlesimo out in OKC: A franchise relocation did not change the fortunes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and coach P.J. Carlesimo paid the price.

The Thunder --formerly the Seattle SuperSonics --started the season with a league-worst 1-13 record, including an 11-game losing streak. However, what really troubled management was six consecutive double-digit losses and 30-point deficits during six games under Carlesimo, including an embarrassing 25-point home loss to New Orleans on national television Friday that led to the coach's firing.

Carlesimo, who previously coached the Trail Blazers and at Golden State, was hired because of his reputation as a teacher and his defensive mindset. However, Carlesimo clearly had lost the ability to communicate with the players, and general manager Sam Presti said he was concerned about the players' effort in the losses.

"(Effort is) something we feel is not negotiable," Presti told The Oklahoman on Friday. "We have to play hard and put ourselves in position to compete and win Basketball games."

Coming off a franchise-worst 20-62 record last season, Presti engaged in a lengthy postseason evaluation of Carlesimo before saying the coach would return. Carlesimo started this season on a short leash, and with the ugly start in a new city, Presti was compelled to make a move.

Will Walsh continue shakeup? New York Knicks general manager Donnie Walsh made good on his vow to shake up the team with a series of moves Friday, but he's probably not done, especially with Stephon Marbury still causing distractions.

With the Knicks down to seven available players after the trade, New York coach Mike D'Antoni said he told Marbury --who hadn't played all season --he could play as many as 35 minutes against Milwaukee.

"He wasn't comfortable with the situation and he did not want to play," D'Antoni told reporters Friday night. "I said, 'Okay, that's your decision and that's fine.' "

Marbury recalls a different conversation.

"The only thing I'm at liberty to say is that I was told that they were moving forward," Marbury said. "I'm not the person who chooses who plays or doesn't."

Love struggling: Minnesota forward Kevin Love is mired in a horrible shooting slump. The former Lake Oswego High School and UCLA star has made just 12 of 40 shots in the five games since going 0 of 7 at Portland on Nov. 8. Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman wasn't happy with Love's shot selection in the loss to Boston on Friday.

"Kevin Love is taking threes and he's struggling to make a 15-footer," Wittman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.


San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili could return to the court as early as today. Ginobili has not played this season while rehabilitating his surgically repaired right ankle. . . . Sacramento guard Kevin Martin suffered another setback in his effort to return. Martin, who has not played since Nov. 9, said his sprained ankle is fine, but there is swelling in the tendon behind his Achilles' tendon. . . . Despite a 2-10 record that included an eight-game losing streak before winning at Philadelphia, Minnesota owner Glen Taylor said Wittman's job is safe --for now.

Geoffrey C. Arnold: 503-221-8556;


Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 25, 2008


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