No, it isn’t 2009. But yes, the Orlando Magic have signed free agent Ben Gordon to a two-year, $9 million contract according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Free agent guard Ben Gordon has agreed to a two-year, $9 million deal with the Orlando Magic, league source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 2, 2014
If your reaction is “HUH?”, you’re not alone. Last season with the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Charlotte Hornets), Gordon averaged 5.2 points per game on 34 percent shooting (27.6 percent from downtown). He played in only 19 games, totaling 279 minutes and 99 points for the season. So yes, offering Gordon a contract for $4.5 million a year, even with a team option for the second year, is a bit odd.
The move is a curious one, especially after the Magic were actually doing so well this offseason. In last year’s draft, Orlando wisely selected Victor Oladipo with their No. 2 overall pick. By trading Arron Afflalo back to the Denver Nuggets, Orlando needed a point guard so it could move Oladipo to his rightful position at the two. They also nabbed a nice, young wing player in Evan Fournier as well.
In this year’s draft, the Magic continued to address their needs and were able to take Aaron Gordon and Elfrid Payton, two promising players who could pair with Oladipo and Nikola Vucevic to be a young, up-and-coming team. Payton has tons of potential as a point guard and Gordon could be an upgrade over power forwards Andrew Nicholson, Kyle O’Quinn and Jason Maxiell.
By drafting Payton, the Magic were able to waive Jameer Nelson, who was only guaranteed $2 million of his $8 million contract. Using up the cap space you free up is one thing, but did you really have to use it on a guy who hasn’t done anything significant in the past two seasons right after waiving a beloved point guard who was with the Magic for 10 years?
Two yr/$9M deal for Ben Gordon (Yahoo! first) has club option for yr two, per sources. Magic want to see if he can get through ’14 healthy.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 2, 2014