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Page last updated at 22:22 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 23:22 UK

Gordon's NBA move boosts GB hopes

Ben Gordon
Gordon begins his new career with Detroit in November

Ben Gordon, the NBA guard who has been included in Great Britain's squad for the summer campaign, has moved from the Chicago Bulls to the Detroit Pistons.

The 26-year-old wants to play at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, although he has not yet made his debut.

He had been unable to sign a long-term contract at the Chicago Bulls, leaving him uninsured to play for GB.

The new deal is set to pay Gordon about £34.2m over five years and opens the way for him to play in 2012.

The move means Gordon could make his GB debut when Chris Finch's team hosts the Game On international tournament at the O2 Arena next month.

Gordon, who was born in London before moving to the United States as a child, has been courted by GB for three years but had been held up by contract talks with the Bulls over the last two summers.

The guard had been with the Bulls for five years and had been the team's top-scorer for the last four seasons.

He averaged 24 points per game in this year's play-offs, including a 42-point outing against Boston.

He signed a one-year deal with Chicago last summer which guaranteed he would be a free agent this summer.

Although Gordon had stated a desire to stay with the Bulls, they were believed to be unable to match the offer Detroit made due to their other commitments under the NBA salary cap.

Joe Dumars told me the organisation is about one thing and that is winning championships.

Ben Gordon

Detroit's president of basketball operations Joe Dumars, formerly a shooting guard like Gordon, also played a role in persuading the Briton to sign.

"Right away when we met them I knew what Joe was capable of and the winning tradition they've had since he's been there," Gordon told NBATV.

"When I spoke with them he told me the organisation is about one thing and that is winning championships."

Gordon verbally agreed the Pistons deal a week ago and signed with his new club within 24 hours of the NBA signing window opening.

Fellow Briton and former Bulls team-mate Luol Deng has also helped as an unofficial recruiting agent for Gordon to play for GB in 2012.

Although Gordon represented Team USA in the 2003 Pan-American Games, he could still switch to GB because he has not played for the US in a tournament sanctioned by Fiba, the world's governing body.

That could change this summer, with GB officials guardedly optimistic that Gordon will be available for a summer programme that culminates in GB's appearance in the European Championship finals in Poland in September.

His addition to the roster would be a boost with Deng rated only 50/50 as he struggles to overcome a stress fracture of the leg that forced a premature end to his season with the Bulls.

Gordon's deal with the Pistons is believed to be an improvement on the two long-term deals offered by the Bulls in the last two years and is close to the six-year £44.2m contract Deng signed last summer.

The deal comes at a time when the NBA has announced a slight decrease in its salary cap for next season - from $58.7m (£36.6m) to £57.7m (£36m) per team - only the second decrease in the 25 years the cap has been in operation.

The leading earners in the NBA include superstars Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson, who earned £13.2m and £13.7m respectively, last year.

Overall, Cleveland's LeBron James is the game's biggest earner, banking an estimated £26.4m from the game annually, with two-thirds of that sum coming from endorsements.

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see also
Toney keen to learn from GB stars
04 Jun 09 |  Basketball
Expansion proposal offers GB hope
22 May 09 |  Basketball
Three NBA stars named in GB squad
24 Apr 09 |  Basketball
British basketball back at The O2
27 Mar 09 |  Basketball
Gordon missing from Britain squad
12 Aug 08 |  Basketball

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