I'm back from Vegas amazed at how fast the two days went by, but on the plane ride home I remembered a few more nuggets in my discussions with Gar Forman as well as other summer league chatter.
When talking about the Salmons / Nocioni swap he made the comment (rough quote) "Anytime you get the best player and give up the worst contract in a deal, you've really won". Not that I think there's much doubt about that, but it certainly was a fair way to sum up the situation.
I think it also relates to the Hinrich/Tyrus for Boozer swap. Even if the Bulls get nothing else back and that deal is on the table, you could say the same thing. Bulls get the best player, give up the worst contract.
Forman also discussed how much the team liked Nocioni as a player and person, but he still referred to him as the worst contract in that deal. I felt that sentiment stikes the appropriate cord with most Bulls fans who appreciated his hard nose style of play, but also realized he needed to move on for the good of the franchise.
I've come to the conclusion that at the same price level, the Bulls like Kirk Hinrich more than Ben Gordon. Several peole discussing how improtant Kirk's leadership is for the team, and who believe the team would really struggle if he were to be traded.
This sentiment was strong last summer as well, so it's not hindsight on Gordon leaving. Everyone within the organization likes Kirk more. At the same price level, I like Ben Gordon more, but I'm not privy to the locker room mechanics, and I have to believe there might be something to it. As it's not one guy who's told me this, but virtually everyone around the team.
One source told me mid season that Gordon basically wanted nothing to do with Rose while Kirk was trying hard to help him improve even while out with injury. Gordon's a consumate professional when it comes to work ethic, but from what I gather, he never really went the extra mile for the team. That could easily be due to his contract dispute and hurt feelings. We'll never know.