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.
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.