Ben Gordon: "You just got to expect the unexpected in this profession"
The Bulls made a significant trade Wednesday, acquiring Brad Miller and Johnny Salmons from the Sacramento Kings for Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Cedric Simmons and Michael Ruffin. What was your reaction to the deal?
Ben Gordon: It’s hard to say what I think about the trade right now because I haven’t played with those guys yet. But, hopefully, they can come in and make us better right away.
How do you think Salmons and Miller will change the Bulls?
BG: I think Brad Miller has a great feel for the game, and I think he can make the jobs of the other guys on our team easier with his passing ability. And John Salmons is a really good offensive guy. So I think, offensively, we should be more talented.
Were you surprised by the trade?
BG: No, I wasn’t surprised. I’m just not surprised by anything that happens in the NBA anymore. You just got to expect the unexpected in this profession.
There are a lot of NBA observers who believe the Bulls have been underachievers this season, especially with a 24-30 record. Do you agree?
BG: I wouldn’t say that. I really didn’t know what to expect this season with us having a rookie coach and a rookie point guard.
What do you think has been biggest reason for the Bulls having a sub-.500 record?
BG: A new system, I guess. We have a lot of talent, but sometimes it takes time to get adjusted to a new system.
The eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference is up for grabs. The Bucks currently have that spot, but you beat the Bucks Wednesday night and now are only three games behind them in the win column. Do you like your chances of grabbing that last spot?
BG: I think our chances are good. We came in here (to Milwaukee) and got a big win over the team in the eighth spot right now. This was a big win for us. We’re not that far out. If we just continue to play with confidence, we can sneak in there.’
You’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The prospect of being “free’’ to choose a team to play in the future has to intrigue you, right?
BG: Yeah, that’s part of the reason I made my decision (not to sign an extension with the Bulls), so I could have some more flexibility, some more options.
There are some NBA officials who insist you won’t be re-signing with the Bulls. Agree or disagree?
BG: I really don’t know right now if I’ll be back. It’s up in the air.
Will money be the biggest factor in your decision?
BG: I think money will be a big factor for the Bulls. I think that was the problem in the past, agreeing on money.
Is Derrick Rose the best rookie in the NBA?
BG: I think so.
What makes Rose so special?
BG: His poise and being able to come into the NBA and shoulder so much responsibility already have been impressive. He seems like he gets better with each game.
Does Rose remind you of any player?
BG: Maybe KJ. Kevin Johnson. He was a really athletic, quick guard who could get into the lane at will, too. Kevin Johnson didn’t really shoot 3s that much, but had a really good mid-range game.
Who is your MVP choice?
BG: The Lakers are probably the best team in the NBA right now and they’re without Bynum. Kobe has played really well and done some great things. He went into the Cleveland Cavaliers’ gym, where they hadn’t lost a game all year, and got the Lakers a W. And he had that 61-point performance. Kobe’s been able to step up and take control of the situation and that makes him the MVP in my mind.
Your choice to win the NBA championship?
BG: That I have to give to the Celtics. They’re a tough team to beat. The intensity they play with… They’re really a good team. But the Lakers are very good, too. To me, it’s a tossup between the Celtics and the Lakers.
Do you still follow your alma mater, Connecticut?
BG: I do.
How big of a blow was it for the Huskies to lose Jerome Dyson?
BG: That was a very big blow for them. At UConn, we really rely on our guard play. The guards are a big staple of what we do there. Having him out, having arguably the best guard we have out, is going to be tough. Hopefully, they’ll find someone to step in for him and pick up the slack.
Gery Woelfel covers the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA for The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times
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