Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hinrich says he’s happy to be back with Bulls


— The Chicago Bulls will be without one familiar face for much of the coming season, so they’re bringing back another to help fill the void.

Kirk Hinrich returned to the Bulls on Tuesday. The nine-year veteran rejoins the team that drafted him in 2003 and with which he played his first seven professional seasons.

“We went into this offseason, it was probably our biggest priority to get a combo guard,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “He knows his teammates. We just think it’s going to be a perfect fit not just for the coming year, but for the future.”

Hinrich likely will start at point guard for Chicago while star Derrick Rose rehabilitates from left knee surgery. The MVP of the 2010-11 season is expected to be out until at least January, though recent reports suggest that Rose may not return until March.

When Rose returns, Hinrich likely will become a key part of a revamped Chicago bench.

“We know Derrick is going to take his time to come back and everybody is going to have to step up while he’s out,” Hinrich said. “I’m really looking forward to playing with him as well. I felt like toward the end of my last year here, we played really well together.”

Rose and Hinrich started 50 games during the 2009-10 season, during which Chicago went 31-19.

Now 31, Hinrich has been plagued by injuries since leaving the Bulls, missing a total of 28 games the last two seasons with Washington and Atlanta. Last season, he averaged a career low 6.6 points for the Hawks.

“This offseason I’ve been working really hard and haven’t really felt any ill effects,” Hinrich said. “Knock on wood. I feel healthy and hopefully will be contributing to a very good team.”

Hinrich was a mainstay on the Bulls after being drafted in the first round from Kansas University in 2003. Chicago made the playoffs in five of his seven seasons with the club. With Rose on the rise in 2010, the Bulls appeared to be on the cusp of big things.

However, Hinrich was traded to Washington in a pre-draft trade in 2010 to clear room under the salary cap room for Chicago’s failed attempts to sign one of that year’s major free agents, such as LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

“It was disappointment,” Hinrich said. “I felt like we were at a place where we were finally ready to be good and I got traded. That’s how it is in this business.”

Hinrich joins a roster in transition. The cap-strapped Bulls have lost several key parts from one of the league’s top benches this summer, including C.J. Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and Omer Asik.


april28 9 years, 9 months ago

A year or two more and Hinrich will have out-scored every Missouri player who played in the pros...(stole hat tidbit from a caller on a sports radio show). Hinrich could definitely have another 4 quality years in the league, put up some numbers and achieve some things. Good for him. A great, great Jayhawk.

Martin Rosenblum 9 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Kirk can help KU with some recruiting of the pool of talent in the Chicagoland area.

Ron Franklin 9 years, 9 months ago

Going back to another story from a few days ago.....

Does anybody have a clue as to how Jeff Goodman could have McLemore going as a lottery pick next year?

It would make a little bit more sense if he had been proclaiming this when Ben committed to Kansas out of high school.

I am just curious as to what he could have seen in one semester of practice.

It must have been special.

milehighhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

That's intrigued me for a bit as well. Gurley was on 810 yesterday and said KU fans would be blown away by how good B-Mac will be, and that he was the best athlete on the team (with Elijah second). I'm excited.

texashawk10 9 years, 9 months ago

NBA is all about potential and a player's ceiling and it would appear as though everything being written and said about Ben is that he is a freak athlete which obviously the NBA is drooling over. If he does have the goods to back up the hype, then KU could very well be in for another special season this year.

Curtis Stutz 9 years, 9 months ago

I'm definitely excited about the talk of how good BMac has the potential to be. On the one hand you can't help but wonder, if he qualifies does KU win it all last year, on the other hand had he played and had this much talent he'd have left. Now he has a chance to go into a less deep draft and play with a lot of practice under his belt and the experience of being with a NC Game team. To me it worked out well for him to not play last year from the sounds of it and works out well for KU going into this year, so it's probably best for everyone involved. And he'll have 2 years on a college campus rather than 1, which I think is great for a young man. I hope he's working on those handles so BMac and EJ become hands down the best backcourt in the country.

I kind of just don't like Chicago as a city, but I understand why Kirk is happy to be back. I guess if he can forgive the Bulls for trading him so can I. In the long run with him back and the team they've built it could be really good for all involved as well. Great opportunity for him there to lead a talented team and then play big minutes on a team that could easily knock off the Heat next season assuming Rose can get back to nearly 100% and stay that way. Good luck Mr. Hinrich.

chicagojayhawk87 9 years, 9 months ago

C'mon Man, what do you got against Chicago? Jayhawk fans should love this city since Self came along, Julian Wright, Collins, Mario Little, Jamari Traylor, Milton Doyle (granted those two haven't played yet), but this city has arguably the best basketball talent and a huge KU fan base. Not to mention it produced Rose, who conveniently missed some free throws in 2008.

I get you though, it's definitely not for everyone, but there are some great places to watch KU sports with fellow Jayhawks. And Hinrich is a favorite up here among lots of Bulls fans, a lot of people were happy to hear the Bulls picked him back up, I'm gonna enjoy seeing him at the United Center next year.

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