Ben Gordon was once the linchpin of the Detroit Pistons’ rebuilding plan after their long run of Eastern Conference finals appearances ended.
He turned out to be such a bad signing – OK, not as bad as Charlie Villanueva that same summer of 2009 – that Joe Dumars had to sacrifice a future No. 1 pick just to get rid of him.
The Pistons traded Gordon to the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday for Corey Maggette, another free agent bust from a couple years back when he signed with Golden State, was dealt two years later to Milwaukee and the following year to Charlotte..
The draft pick going from Detroit to Charlotte is lottery-protected for 2013, top-8 protected for 2014, top-1 protected for 2015 and unprotected in 2016.
The Pistons will save $15 million over the next two years with Maggette’s contract expiring after next season. Gordon is owed $25 million over the next two seasons.
The 6-6 Maggette averaged 15.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 32 games with the Bobcats last season. In 809 career games, the 13-year NBA veteran has averaged 16.2 points (.454 FG, .325 3FG, .823 FT), 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Maggette averaged a career-high 22.2 points in 2004-05 with the Los Angeles Clippers. He has averaged 20-plus points three times and 15-plus points nine times during his career.
Drafted 13th overall in 1999 by the Seattle SuperSonics, his rights were traded to Orlando, where he played one season before being traded to the Clippers. Maggette also played two seasons with Golden State (2008-10) and one with Milwaukee (2010-11).
Gordon figures to return to his familiar reserve role in Charlotte, which doesn’t have much in terms of talent but does have a blossoming star at shooting guard in Gerald Henderson.
Gordon, 29, averaged 12.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 26.9 minutes in 52 games last season (21 starts). He scored a season-high 45 points March 21 at Denver, tying his own NBA record with nine consecutive 3-pointers without a miss. He also made a franchise-record seven 3-pointers in the second quarter vs. Philadelphia on April 26 and tied the franchise record for three-pointers in a half (7).
In three seasons with the Pistons, the former Connecticut product averaged 12.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 26.8 minutes in 196 games. After averaging 15-plus points during five seasons in Chicago, where he won the 2005 Sixth Man Award, Gordon’s best year with Detroit was 2009-10, when he averaged 13.8 points and 2.7 assists in 62 games.