One of the last remaining roster spots for the Oklahoma City Thunder has just been filled by Caron Butler, but before he has even suited up or played a minute for his latest team, all attention has shifted to the sole remaining roster spot OKC still have.
A number of sources around the league are talking about the possibility of Ben Gorden successfully requesting a buyout from the Charlotte Bobcats, enabling him to sign with another team of his choosing. At this stage, they are just talks, but there would definitely be interest shown by the Thunder if Gordon did indeed force his way out of Charlotte.
Gordon has been over the years a prolific scorer. He has a genuine outside jump shot which will impress the Thunder as they are only a “middle of the road” team when it comes to draining the long ball. Plus, being able to space the floor and allow Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka go to work could only assist the Thunder’s title aspirations. Caron Butler provides a valuable two-way game but adding Gordon could be the icing on the cake.
The other benefit the Thunder have is that Gordon knows how to play as reserve role. He has been accustomed to sixth man roles and has flourished as part of the second unit on a number of teams. He would be asked to do that again in OKC and the reward for his efforts and ability to accept a reduced role and limited playing time could be an NBA Championship.
Oklahoma City Thunder have built a team that is ready to contend now, but it would love to cap off their young and talented roster with a couple of “specific needs” players. One was the two-way wing which Caron Butler filled, and another would be a proven scorer and reliable outside threat – which is Gordon. Jeremy Lamb has come on in leaps and bounds this year, but asking a second year player to consistently make baskets in the playoffs is tough. Gordon could ease that pressure.
The Thunder are looking to Lamb to be the shooting guard of the future, which is what makes OKC an interesting prospect for Gordon. He wants to retain his free agency rights after this season and while most teams might baulk at the idea, the Thunder might embrace it. They don’t need someone long term – they have Lamb – they need a stop gap and Ben Gordon could be that guy if the buyout occurs in time.