JULY 11TH: The deal is official, the team announced via press release.
“Ben brings valuable experience to our team,” GM Rob Hennigan said in the team’s statement. “His competitiveness and ability to score and stretch the floor adds versatility to our backcourt and overall roster. We are excited to welcome Ben to the Orlando Magic family.”
JULY 2ND: The Magic and Ben Gordon have struck a deal on a two-year, $9MM arrangement, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The second year is a team option, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). That’s a shocking amount for the shooting guard who ended last season out of the league after Charlotte waived him in March.
Orlando has made several cap clearing moves in recent days, but it’s nonetheless odd to see the team lob such a high-dollar offer Gordon’s way. There are no real teeth to the NBA’s minimum team salary rules, since the penalty for not reaching that amount holds that a team simply must distribute the difference between its team salary and the salary floor among its players.
The deal is a coup for agent Raymond Brothers. The Bulls, Clippers, Rockets and Thunder reportedly had interest in Gordon when he and the Bobcats were working on their buyout, but Charlotte wound up waiving him one day too late for him to participate in the playoffs with another team, an oddly timed move. Gordon was apparently reluctant to sign with some of those interested teams anyway, since they were dangling two-year deals that would have prevented him from hitting free agency this summer. As it turns out, that reluctance was wise.
Gordon, 31, played in just 19 games this past season, averaging career lows in points per game (5.2), minutes per game (14.7), and three-point shooting (27.6%), among a host of other categories. Once a feared sixth man, the Pistons dealt him to Charlotte in a 2012 deal that ultimately cost them the No. 9 overall pick this year to rid themselves of the last two years of his five-year, $58MM contract.