Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports tweeted that the Bobcats have acquired Ben Gordon and a lottery-protected first round pick from the Pistons in exchange for Corey Maggette. According to a tweet by David Aldridge of NBA.com, the conditional first-round pick will be lottery protected in 2013, top-eight protected in 2014, first pick-protected in 2015, and unprotected in 2016. Detroit will also receive a trade exception of about $1.3MM in the deal.
Wojnarowski also mentioned (via Twitter) that Detroit will save nearly $15MM by trading the remaining two years of Gordon's contract in exchange for Maggette's expiring deal. Gordon is due $12.4MM next season with a $13.2MM player option for 2013-14, while Maggette will be in the final year of a contract where he is due about $10.9MM.
Viewed as one of Joe Dumars' significant free agent acquisitions during the 2009 off-season, Ben struggled to find the same niche that he established in Chicago. After making the playoffs in four of his first five seasons with the Bulls and averaging more than 31.0 MPG from 2005-06 to 2008-09, the former UConn Husky missed the playoffs in each of his three seasons with the Pistons and never averaged more than 28 MPG.
While Charlotte may not be a team ready to contend for the playoffs just yet, it could present an opportunity for a significant increase in playing time. Gordon averaged 12.5 PPG while shooting 44.2% from the field and 42.9% from three-point range last year, and holds career averages of 43.6% shooting from the field and 40.6% shooting from three. Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap recently spoke about the team's need for shooters, which should bode well for Gordon:
"The ability to make the 3(-pointer) is really important because it allows you to play inside. What happens (in the absence of quality shooting) is the defense collapses and it gets crowded in there…It's always nice to have guys who can shoot a basketball."
Detroit will be Maggette's sixth NBA team in thirteen seasons, and his third consecutive year in which he's been traded. The 32-year-old guard/forward averaged 15.0 PPG, 4 RPG, and 36.4% from beyond the arc, but shot just 37% from the field overall this past season and missed a significant amount of games due to lingering injuries. Although he is slated to undergo minor knee surgery this summer, there is little doubt that he will be ready to play by the start of next season.
With nearly $11MM coming off the books next summer, the Pistons also have the opportunity to clear an additional $8.5MM if they chose to amnesty a contract such as Charlie Villanueva's, who is owed a total of about $16.6MM through 2014. The Bobcats can definitely afford to take on Gordon's deal, as he and Tyrus Thomas (along with at least this year's lottery pick) would be the team's only guaranteed contracts heading into the 2013-14 season.