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Is Ben Gordon’s contract worth $58 million?

Ben Gordon will make $10,000,000 next year and $58,000,000 for his five-year contract, according to Doug Thonus of Bulls Confidential. Thonus acknowledges his figures are much higher than what has been widely reported.

Here’s how Thonus breaks down the contract:

09-10 $10,000,000
10-11 $10,800,000
11-12 $11,600,000
12-13 $12,400,000
13-14 $13,200,000 (Player Option)

And he also says there are some incentives, which could make the contract even larger.

If Thonus is correct, here’s how the salary scale looks:

Player 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
Richard Hamilton $11,625,000 $12,650,000 $12,650,000 $12,650,000 $0
Tayshaun Prince $10,324,380 $11,148,760 $0 $0 $0
Ben Gordon $10,000,000 $10,800,000 $11,600,000 $12,400,000 $13,200,000
Charlie Villanueva $6,000,000 $6,500,000 $7,000,000 $7,500,000 $8,000,000
Jason Maxiell $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $5,000,000 $0
Kwame Brown $4,100,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
Chris Wilcox $3,000,000 $3,000,000 $0 $0 $0
Rodney Stuckey $1,805,040 $2,767,126 $3,868,442 $0 $0
Fabricio Oberto $1,800,000 $0 $0 $0 $0
Austin Daye $1,398,200 $1,503,100 $1,875,500 $2,875,142 $4,019,448
Will Bynum $825,497 $0 $0 $0 $0
TOTALS: $55,878,117 $53,368,986 $41,993,942 $40,425,142 $25,219,448

Team Option, Qualify Offer, Player Option

I based my previous numbers for Gordon’s contract on this blog post from Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Unless there are some incentive clauses I don’t know about, the total value of the deal should fall just short of $55 million. He will start at $9 million next season.

If Thonus is correct, I’m pretty bummed. There’s a big difference between $52.2 and $58.8 million.

It won’t make much of a difference this summer. The $1 million less to sign someone probably won’t cost Detroit anyone it wants at this stage.

But this could be relevant in the future if the Pistons get under the cap again.

Gordon seemed like a good value at $52.2 million. I don’t think he’s worth $58.8 million.

The Pistons haven’t had a single unmovable contract under Joe Dumars. If Thonus is right, Ben Gordon has a shot to become the first.


  • Jul 19, 20098:38 pm
    by bill


    Really? Bummed? Right now he’s our highest paid player in 5 years and he’s only making 13mil. How much did we pay the aging Sheed for the last two years to not do anything? How much would we be paying Chauncey to not live up to his “big shot” moniker?
    Gordon is one of the top scorers in the game _off the bench_. We stole him plain and simple. Same with CV31. Both contracts were not only reasonable in today’s NBA they were down right frugal.
    I hope we’re all keeping notes on all of these naysayers when we’re back on top in 3 years. I plan on saying I told you so.

  • Jul 19, 20098:44 pm
    by Byron Hauck


    I’m pretty sure Rip and his 4 more years would be very, very hard to move.

  • Jul 19, 200910:16 pm
    by Lankownia


    I’m bummed too.  Rip is borderline unmovable already and certainly will be so within two years.  We’re talking about an average starting shooting guard (not hard to find) getting paid at all-star salary.  Having his backup earning nearly the same is completely insane.
    The Villanueva sighning is defensible, he still could develop into an adequate defender, but Gordon makes no sense.  Fondness for the Bad Boys era concept is understandable but lets remember that Stuckey and Hamilton aren’t HOF-caliber.  Not even close.

  • Jul 20, 200912:04 am
    by Ro Grady


    this isn’t the issue we need to be worried about…..we NEED a center!!!!!! ASAP!!! 

  • [...] Benny Gordon’s contract worth 58 million?  Mr. Feldman from PistonPowered has all the [...]

  • Jul 20, 200910:53 am
    by TDP


    Of course the Bulls guy is going to try to bloat the numbers.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  Incentives are in almost every contract, so that’s not hard to believe.

  • Jul 20, 200911:59 am
    by Dave Dial


    Why would Doug Thonus have access to Gordon’s contract, while others in the local Detroit media and ESPN are reporting different numbers?
    To me, this is a local Chicago blogger trying to bloat the numbers to try and justify the Bulls not even offering their leading scorer a contract.
    In any case, at $55 million I had Gordon’s contract starting out at just under $9.5 million($9.488 million). If it really is a 5-year $58 million dollar deal that starts out at $10 million, that’s not much of a difference. The differerence being 500k, a little more than the minimum.
    Now, perhaps the ‘unlikely bonuses’ do add up to $58 million, which would only be included if Gordon reaches certain criteria that he has not established before. I’m more inclined to believe something like that.
    I’m not inclined, however, to believe that a local Chicago blogger has access to Gordon’s contract.

  • Jul 20, 20093:16 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    At this point, I’m very convinced Thonus’s numbers are correct.

  • Jul 20, 20093:54 pm
    by Sam


    Wow, this is really just a bad article in general, I mean if there’s a bad contract it’s paying Rip 12.6 a year for 3 years towards the end of his career, So respectivly if you look at Ben’s, he will be 31 the last year of his contract and most likley a very servicable player at that age, Plus that last year is an player option (even though you’d have to be pretty dumb to opt out at 13.2), Plus detroit will have a great trade chip with an expiring contract that year anyways. There’s a big difference between giving 30 yr. old guard 5 years than a 26 yr. old guard in his prime, So i’m not sure where your going with this dan, but i think it’s a retarded arcticle.

  • Jul 20, 20094:00 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    If you believe the rumors, Detroit turned down a Boozer-for-Hamilton deal. So, I don’t think Rip is unmovable.

  • Jul 20, 200911:52 pm
    by rd


    Mlive reported  the first year salary at  just under 9.5 milliion. With the signing of Wilcox at 3 mill. per and the fact that we still have just under 1 mill left under the cap, these figures seem pretty solid. I think the bulls guy just inflated the numbers so as to not feel so bad about  Gordon leaving .IE; if they want to OVERPAY, then let him go!
    This is where you can find the pistons cap costs, http://blog.mlive.com/fullcourtpress/2009/07/detroit_piston_cap_space_situa.html

  • Jul 21, 200912:21 am
    by rd


    The link is to Dave Dials story at Mlive.I need to learn to read.

  • Jul 21, 20092:49 am
    by realbullsfan73


    The Bulls offered Gordon 5 years/$50 million, he turned it down. Then they offered him 6 years/$54 million (MORE money), he turned that down. He wanted to be the highest paid scorer, regardless of how much money they offered. So take all that into consideration, Pistons fans.

  • Jul 21, 20094:20 am
    by Dan Feldman



    I’m not talking about who has more value. I’m just saying who’s tradable.

    Look, I don’t think either’s contract will ever be untradable. But it’s more likely Gordon will be than than Rip.

    The most likely way a player becomes untradable is he gets injured and can’t play as well as he did when he signed his contract.

    Rip is one of the fittest players in the league. He works out more than most in the offseason, and he doesn’t drink.

    Gordon has missed just 12 games in his five-year career, so I think that’s a push.

    But there’s another way players ecome untradable. He signs a big contract and loses his fire. He doesn’t work as hard at his game, and he just collects his paycheck.

    Rip has signed a big contract before, and his play didn’t drop off. You know what you’re getting.

    Gordon has never had a big contract before. I don’t expect him to start slacking. It doesn’t seem to be in his character. But you never know.

    And here’s one more reason, although I think the above is the more likely factor.

    He has never been consistent with it, but Rip has shown he can be a good defender, passer and rebounder for his position.

    There’s a slim chance he’ll lose all of his value in the next four years.

    Gordon does one thing well – and that’s score. It’s more likely he loses his one speciality than Rip loses his diverse game.

    And the player option is not to the Pistons’ benefit. If Gordon is worth more than $13.2 million, he’ll opt out. If not, he’ll stay.

  • Jul 21, 20094:20 am
    by Dan Feldman


    Are you saying that as a negative? Wouldn’t you want to be paid as much as possible at your job?

  • Jul 21, 20098:34 am
    by Gabe


    Dave Dial,
    I’d be inclined to believe Thonus’s numbers, as he’s affiliated with the guys at Draftexpress, who have a lot of contacts around the league and are especially well connected to agents.
    But who knows, I guess it just seems a little far-fetched that Thonus would write a long blog post entry and take the time to create a purposefully misleading report on Gordon’s contract. Why would he bother?

    • Jul 21, 20091:12 pm
      by Dave Dial


      Yea, I know Doug is friends with Jonathan Givony, but Givony’s expertise is not player contracts, it’s judging talent for the draft. If you know what I mean. I remember a significant dust up the last time Givony claimed something about a players agent.
      This could very well be true, but I wouldn’t take it as gospel. I do see motive for writing that Gordon’s contract was worth more than reported, and could tell by the style of the article what point was trying to be made.
      Until I see it reported from an unbiased source, then I will keep my records for Gordon’s contract as a 5-year $55 million dollar contract. It’s hard for me to believe that Doug or Givony would get information that was unavailable to Chad Ford, Marc Stein or any of the local Piston writers.

  • Jul 21, 200912:03 pm
    by Dan Feldman


    Gabe, you’re right on with this.

  • Jul 21, 20091:27 pm
    by Dave Dial


    Btw: Let me make myself clear here. In no way do I think that Doug Thonus is making this up. I believe he heard that Gordon’s contract was for that amount. I just don’t believe it’s accurate and Doug has a certain bias to believe it’s for that amount($58 million) instead of the $55 million reported.
    I will have no problem updating the numbers if it’s reported different than the $55 million.
    I have a personal policy to fact-check the contracts with at least three sources. First I use Patricia Bender’s website:
    And Stoytellers:
    If there is a discrepency, I check other sites like Hoopshype. But if they all give the same information I take that as the contract.
    What others do is up to them.

  • Jul 21, 20093:42 pm
    by bill


    -Rip has signed a big contract before, and his play didn’t -drop off. You know what you’re getting.
    Yea last year we got a moody whiny child.
    -He has never been consistent with it, but Rip has shown he can be a good defender, passer and rebounder for his position.
    -I disagree on all 3. He’s a grabby foul-prone defender. He’s a terrible passer and his rebounding are average at best.
    Gordon does one thing well – and that’s score. It’s more likely he loses his one speciality than Rip loses his diverse game.
    -Rip’s single biggest weakness is that he can’t create his own shot. If he isn’t wide open off of 3 screens he can’t score. I wouldn’t call that a diverse game.

  • Jul 22, 20094:14 am
    by Dan Feldman



    Yes, Rip wasn’t a model citizen. But he hasn’t shown anything near being worthless since he first signed a big contract five years ago.

    With Larry Brown pushing him to a better all-around player, Rip averaged 3.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in 2004-05. Those are solid for a scoring guard. He needs to be pushed to do it, but he can.

    Hamilton has gotten votes for the all-defensive team. He’s not elite, but he can be pretty good on that side of the ball.

  • [...] have to move Rip Hamilton at all costs, but in terms of value for player, that’s perfect. Now it’s up to possibly $58. It’s like it’s slowly creeping towards being too [...]

  • [...] have to move Rip Hamilton at all costs, but in terms of value for player, that’s perfect. Now it’s up to possibly $58. It’s like it’s slowly creeping towards being too [...]

  • Jul 22, 200910:22 am
    by Gabe


    Fair enough. Though I’d argue local Pistons writers could have similar motives (*cough, McCosky, cough*) for writing that Gordon’s contract was cheaper than had been reported, but it’s not that important.
    FWIW, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported Ben’s contract was for “between $55 million and $60 million,” and David Aldridge reported exactly the same number as Thonus, $58.5 million. So Doug’s numbers are pretty much in-line with what the national media are saying.
    ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4301111
    Aldridge: http://www.nba.com/2009/news/features/david_aldridge/07/01/pistons.signings/index.html

  • Jul 23, 200912:12 pm
    by Dwayne


    Mark my words, Detroit.  It will boggle your mind how hard BG works in the offseason.  Even during the pre draft visits, teams were amazed how strong BG is.  It’s not by mistake.  You’ll love how hard he works.  As for his contract.  Whether via incentives or otherwise, BG would’ve made that money anyway.  The word was 15 teams were interested.  Many wanted to incentive laden his contract to get what he wanted.  Detroit, you’ll be happy with BG. 

  • Jul 28, 200912:15 am
    by Mike


    I think stuckey has plenty of promise okay who can say young michael jordan was going to be a hof nobody i think stuckey is the next kid he is young and got plenty of up side bbut Rip has reach the top of his game we really have to move him not for boozer I think go and get Chris Kamen he is a soild 7 ft and build around Stuckey and gordan I think its time to tell prince to be a spark off the bench he is not a starter anymore if the piston can not keep up with the best in the east I would get Joe Dumars out soon as they can he is turning to Thomas I will not watch my team get rode in the ground so long story short move Rip now get Kamen and someone with that deal lets make that move let win the east not just trying to hang at the top lets be the best if the piston get a big man move out the way James…. Shaq is done he cant keep up with the younger players get kamen I hope everyone can agree with that peace

  • Feb 22, 20101:42 pm
    by Steve


    If the Joe D goes for Kaman I will eat my Pistons hat whole.  He can show a strong game, but the last thing Detroit needs is another big oafish guy who makes you scared constantly that he is going to have a moment of epilepsy-style playing, or as Bill Simmons calls it, “Magic Marker Moment” where you shake your head and give him that look like a mother gives a kid upon finding his artwork on the wall.  If we wanted that, we’d just offer Kwame Brown a huge extension and guarantee him a starting spot for  the duration.  Self-torture is not something a team should aspire to.

  • Pingback

    Sep 3, 20117:44 am
    by Top 10 Worst NBA Contracts (2011)


    [...] worst news out of this deal is Gordon has the player option to make $13.2 million in the final year of his contract. No way he’s opting out of that. Gordon’s average dipped from 13.8 his first year in [...]

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