- Chris Broussard, NBA analyst
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The slow, drawn-out negotiations between Ben Gordon and the Chicago Bulls took a turn toward closure Friday night when the free-agent guard said he doesn't think he'll be a Bull next season.
"I guess it's safe to say I've played my last game in a Bulls uniform," Gordon said.
Gordon, who has led the Bulls in scoring the past three seasons, said his agent, Raymond Brothers, has been speaking with other teams about sign-and-trade possibilities.
"I'm pretty optimistic it'll happen," said Gordon, who averaged 18.6 points last season. "It's very likely."
Brothers refused to name the teams he's spoken with, but added playing in Europe is also a possibility. He said the only certainty is Gordon will not sign the Bulls' one-year qualifying offer of $6.4 million.
Bulls executive vice president John Paxson did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Gordon admitted he's frustrated and "feels slighted" by the slow pace of negotiations with the Bulls. He said at this point it would be best for him to play elsewhere since Chicago's backcourt is seemingly full, with Derrick Rose, Larry Hughes and Kirk Hinrich.
"It's a numbers game," he said. "Last season at the trade deadline, they brought in more guards and I saw my minutes drop and didn't understand why. This year, the problem's still the same. I don't see it getting better, so maybe it'll be a better situation for me personally somewhere else."
Chicago offered Gordon a five-year, $50 million contract last season, but he turned it down. This summer, reports have surfaced saying Gordon believes he should be the Bulls' highest-paid player because he's their leading scorer. Chicago recently signed Luol Deng to a six-year, $71 million deal.
"I've just got to wait and see what happens," Gordon said. "It's a tough time."
Gordon spoke at the "Bowling Bash and Celebrity Fundraiser" thrown by his New Life Foundation in Yonkers, N.Y. The event was seeking to raise money for the sports department at Mount Vernon High School, Gordon's alma mater. The school, which has a vaunted basketball program that's produced several NBA players, is in danger of losing its winter and spring sports teams.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand, Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor, UConn coach Jim Calhoun, rappers Irv Gotti and Heavy D and former world boxing champion Iran Barkley were among the celebrities in attendance.
Chris Broussard is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
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