Ersan Ilyasova, Ben Gordon

Bobcats waive Ben Gordon after deadline for him to join playoff roster


A year ago, the Charlotte Bobcats tried to trade Ben Gordon – and apparently couldn’t.

A week ago, they tried to buy out Gordon – and apparently couldn’t.

But they could waive him.

Bobcats news release:

Charlotte Bobcats President of Basketball Operations Rod Higgins announced today that the team has requested waivers on guard Ben Gordon. The Bobcats roster now stands at 14 players.

“With the recent acquisition of additional backcourt depth to our roster, we believe this is in the best interests of both parties,” Higgins said. “We want to thank Ben for his contributions over the past two seasons and wish him the best as he moves on in his career.”

By not waiving Gordon before midnight, the Bobcats ensured he’s not eligible for a playoff roster. This was either a negotiation gone nowhere or a “screw you” move by a team fed up with a player who’d been a bit petulant.

Assuming Gordon didn’t agree to a buyout – why would he after midnight? – he’ll get the remaining $ 3,571,765 he’s owed. So, if the Bobcats were trying to punish him, they’ll only go so far.

But this makes it unlikely any team signs Gordon for the rest of the season.

Teams not interested in the playoffs probably don’t want an over-the-hill veteran taking minutes from young players. Teams in the playoff hunt probably don’t want to waste time integrating a player who can’t play in the postseason.

But maybe there’s a middle-ground team who could use Gordon: the New York Knicks.

The Knicks’ playoff chances range from slim to none, but they’ve already traded their first- and second-round picks. They have no incentive to tank.

New York can make best use of its remaining games by making Carmelo Anthony happy before he enters free agency. Even if the Knicks miss the playoffs, a few extra wins could only help.

There’s no guarantee Gordon – who’s posted negative win shares this season and last, one of only nine players to do so* – would actually help New York. A shooter making just 37 percent of his 2-pointers and 28 percent of his 3-points tends to carry little value.

Which is why the playoff-bound Bobcats would rather pay Gordon to go away than keep him.

*The others: Al Harrington, Tornike Shengelia, Marquis Teague, Drew Gooden, Quincy Miller, Diante Garrett, Tyshawn Taylor and Dexter Pittman.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.