Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Instant Trade Analysis: Ben Gordon to the Charlotte Bobcats

Charlotte Bobcats get: G Ben Gordon, 2013 Lottery protected first round pick

Detroit Pistons get: G/F Corey Maggette

On the surface, this looks like the classic "I'll take your problem if you take my problem" bad contract swap. How could it not be? Corey Maggette has been a cap-killing, ball-stopping, shoot-first offensive threat and defensive succubus for years. Ben Gordon is newer to that label, but has fallen into disgrace after dropping 20 points a game off the bench for the Chicago Bulls before signing a massive five-year, $50 million dollar pact with the Detroit Pistons three years ago.

Both started off as significantly different types of players: Maggette as an athletic swingman whose combination of strength, size and shooting ability were supposed to turn him into the prototypical All-Star small forward of the future, while Gordon a offensive spark plug off the bench - think like a faster JJ Barea with a better stroke and athleticism. However, as I just mentioned, both men have morphed into the same type of garbagey cap ballast every GM has come to resent.

With a swap of the two, Maggette will fight for minutes on a Detroit team largely going nowhere. Aside from Greg Monroe and supposedly Brandon Knight, the rather unimpressive Pistons' core will keep them languishing in basketball purgatory - not good enough to contend for a playoff spot, but not bad enough to effectively rebuild. Detroit seemingly can no longer do anything right, including the legendary defense that brought them a title, but haven't gone back to since Chauncey Billups left town. Even going to Ben Wallace's tomb, exhuming his body and letting the Lawrence Frank operate inside of it like some sort of creepy organic exo-skeleton hasn't helped any. Maggette's complete allergy to defense, passing and any other semblance of basketball fundamentals will fit in well with a Pistons team that has shown no effort to do the same. The upside to the trade for Detroit is that Maggette's $11 million deal will expire after this season, while they would have owed Gordon over $25 for two seasons.

Ben Gordon, even in going to the team that just settled on the worst winning percentage of all-time, might be in a slightly better situation. Quite simply, the Bobcats need someone to put the ball in the hoop. Young players like Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo are still learning how to acclimate to the NBA game, and as underrated as SG Gerald Henderson is, he's not the type of player to carry a team. Charlotte now has a scorer who may not be dependable in Gordon, but surely has a lot more rounds in the chamber than Corey Maggette; last season, Gordon went for 20 points seven times, including a 45-point outburst in March.  In that sense, the trade is a bit of a win for the Bobcats, in that they acquired a player that, while overpaid, can still produce at times.

For the Pistons, who will start their fifth season of rebuilding in November, giving up a first-rounder, no matter how lottery protected, might be a mistake. Next year the selection won't go to the Bobcats if it's in the top 14, top 8 after that, top 1 after that and then in 2015, unprotected. At this point with Joe Dumars still at the helm of the Pistons, I'd expect nothing better than a bottom 14 finish in 2014. Optimistically, the Pistons will make the playoffs on the development of their young players, and losing an upcoming pick won't matter as much. Pessimistically, and perhaps more realistically, they essentially will have traded a 9-14 selection lottery pick so they could save $14 million that they will undoubtedly give to another overpaid player who isn't worth it.

Yes, this trade does position the Pistons to free up cap room a year from now, as opposed to two, so they can augment a young core that will feature Monroe, Knight and whoever Detroit picks with the 9th spot in Thursday's draft. However, seeing Dumars' track record the past half-decade or so, it's hard to believe that he'll do anything of consequence with that type of money.

All in all, it's hard not to call this trade is a win for Charlotte. They need ANY type of production, and with DJ Augustin perhaps leaving in free agency this summer, Gordon's presence will be welcome in Charlotte. Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson are both still learning, so even though Gordon will take away some shots from them, this team needs his veteran presence and steady hand to just not be a joke next year. The type of reputational hit that the Bobcats are taking will be harder and harder to come back from the longer that they're a joke; last year, it didn't even appear theat they were trying to win. In many ways, they weren't. At least in acquiring a proven player like Ben Gordon, MJ and company wil at least appear like they're trying.


  1. You are completely ill advised. You have NO IDEA what you are talking about. You obviously don't watch basketball, you base statements off generic things analysts say. The problem with the Pistons is not their roster, its how their roster fails to play together consistently. Their roster is more then enough to be a 5-7 seed in the East. Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Knight, Tayshaun Prince, Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Charlie Villanueva, (Ben Gordon at the time), Will Bynum, Austin Daye(though he never really showed up), Jason Maxiell. They have one of those rosters that has pretty good players deep on the bench. They just couldn't all play well on the same night. Knight would drop 20, Monroe 20 and 10, Stuckey shoots 1-11 and Prince goes for 6 points. Vice versa on other nights. Dumars has not really done anything wrong that any other GM wouldn't have done. He had his hands tied due to the team being sold, your article didn't mention that. People who blame Dumars for the Darko pick are stupid, because every GM in the NBA had Darko at 2, and some had him at 1, and if we would have drafted Carmelo, we wouldn't have won the title in 04 because Melo is not a team player and the Pistons were built off team ball. I decided to give this website a try, and it is PATHETIC, and I'll let everyone know.

    1. ^^^^^^^^^^^LOL ^^^^^^^^^^

    2. Believe it or not, I actually do watch basketball, including a dozen or so Pistons games I watched this year despite them being terrible and not being from Detroit. I didn't say that the players weren't TALENTED, they're just unimpressive and don't defend. Which they don't.

      As for Joe Dumars, the guy gave Charlie V and Ben Gordon a combined $90 million dollars and destroyed the Pistons cap situation for years to come. Maybe he should have seen that Gordon's production would drop off nearly by half and Charlie V couldn't get into a game to save his life this year.

      He's had three coaches in the last four seasons, one of which got fired after one year (Michael Curry), the other of which was embattled from the moment he got there (John Kuester) and then finally Lawrence Frank, who I like, but couldn't get this supposed "5-7" seed to play together on a nightly basis. Those hires are on Joe, and the fact that he can't get the personnel to get this deep, talented team to play together is on him. Also, you're stating that "night would drop 20, Monroe 20 and 10, Stuckey shoots 1-11 and Prince goes for 6 points." - that's true. I saw it this year. But if that's the case, then maybe these are totally mismatched parts. Which they are. I don't know what type of offense the Pistons run, becauase most of the time, it just appeared that they pass around the ball a lot and tried to create fast break opportunities. However, it's pretty damn hard to do that if you don't have any rebounders besides the 6'10" Monroe.

      I didn't mention Darko once here, and agree with you on that point. Jonas Jerebko was a great find for his draft position, and Monroe is a legit big, MAYBE an All-Star one day. I can't speak to Joe's hands being tied by an ownership change. How has that handcuffed the team?

      Thanks for reading dude! Tell your friends!

    3. ALSO - please note that I picked the Pistons to make the playoffs this year. Foolishly so, might I add. So it's not that I don't think there's talent there - it's that the pieces aren't right and the coaching has been awful: http://thegreatmambino.blogspot.com/2011/12/burning-question-17-when-will-joe.html

  2. "Plus, the Pistons just gave a future no. 1 pick to Charlotte just so they could flip Gordon's contract on Charlotte for Corey Maggette's Expiring Contract. Anytime MJ just beat you in a deal, you know you've hit rock-bottom."

    -Bill Simmons, who ohbytheway approves of this little website that you hate. Do you think he doesn't watch basketball either?

  3. I absolutely agree with all of your assessments KOBE. I think that this was a pretty good deal for both teams, although I feel that Detroit could have probably done this w/out giving up a first round pick (protected or not). I'm willing to bet MJ would have bit on a second rounder. In any event, I think you're on point and Detroit absolutely needed to do something with the logjam at the guard position. Charlotte gets a proven scorer who will be asked to simply do just that and nothing more. Detroit gets cap relief in the hopes that they can buy an all-star someday, however unlikely that may be.