As originally reported by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by Rick Bonnell, there was a testy exchange between Bobcats coach Mike Dunlap and reserve shooting guard Ben Gordon at their morning shootaround on Monday prior to the team’s win over the Celtics. With the team’s primary focus on developing their young core, the team’s best scorer, Gordon, has been relegated to an inconsistent role. Gordon has averaged 22 minutes per game, but his minutes have greatly fluctuated and he’s often on the bench down the stretch of games.
For Gordon, who’s about to turn 30, his career is in a different stage than the majority of the Bobcats roster. He’s a year away from negotiating his last lucrative NBA contract and being locked on a bench for one of the league’s worst teams won’t do much for his leverage. This isn’t the first time Gordon has shown frustration with a coach. During his time in Detroit, he was part of the Pistons veteran core that grew increasingly insubordinate and ultimately culminated in Gordon calling his time in Detroit, a ‘failure.’
At the time the Bobcats traded Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon and a first round pick, the deal was largely praised. The move gave the team a better shooter, a future asset in the draft pick all for one additional year of salary. The deal made even more sense following the draft when they selected a small forward in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall pick. The danger, however, with making deals for commodities and not players was on display Monday.
Teams like the Bobcats, trying to build a winning culture, have to be sensitive to the sort of players they bring in to the mix with their young core. If they believe Gordon will continue to be a disruption, they have to make a move. The difference in what they receive by dealing a disgruntled vet at a time his trade value’s diminished is far outweighed by allowing a detrimental force to remain in the locker room.
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