Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons courting Ben Gordon

K.C. Johnson | Tribune reporter

A busy Tuesday for Joe Dumars began with the Pistons’ president of basketball operations firing coach Michael Curry and ended with him making overtures for guard Ben Gordon as NBA free agency began at 11:01 p.m. Chicago time.The Bulls planned to contact Raymond Brothers, Gordon’s agent, who has turned down offers of $50 million over five years and $54 million over six years the previous two summers.

Gordon, the Bulls’ leading scorer for the last four seasons, never has backed off his publicly stated desire to remain in Chicago. He reiterated that desire to close associates on Tuesday.

Similarly, general manager Gar Forman consistently has said the Bulls want to re-sign Gordon.

However, the financial reality of keeping Gordon in a Bulls uniform is sobering, which likely is why Pistons management is confident it can lure away Gordon.

The Bulls have roughly $63.9 million worth of contracts committed for the 2009-10 season. This number doesn’t include the scaled rookie contracts of draft picks James Johnson and Taj Gibson, which combine for roughly $2.75 million.

The league office will release the luxury tax threshold on July 8. Most league observers expect that figure to land somewhere near $69 million.

Barring a trade, that means the Bulls only would have approximately $2.5 million to offer Gordon in the first year of a multiyear deal if they want to avoid incurring the luxury tax penalty.,0,7397836.story

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