By Tim Baffoe-
(CBS) Kirk Hinrich was traded from the Bulls in the summer of 2010 to free up cash to attempt to lure one of the big free agents of that time in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Oh, yeah, and Lebron James.
Anybody remember what happened to those three guys anyway?
It seems like Hinrich is willing to fit the role he has held a few times in the past of not just being a solid guard on the court but also someone whose presence can help the Bulls in other ways. Again, too, he will likely be underappreciated for everything he brings on and off the court, even though he’s always been a good guy, good teammate, and hard worker, something this city has traditionally deified in its athletes, justifiably or not.
In Hinrich’s first stint in Chicago, he averaged 13.4 PPG and 5.8 APG over seven years in the red, white, and black. He also became the team’s all time leader in three-pointers made. When Derrick Rose arrived in 2008, Hinrich was no longer the starting point guard, but he became a willing mentor to Rose, the franchise’s obvious future.
It would be the first time Hinrich—probably against his will—was needed to help the Bulls with the ball out of his hands.
Less than two years later, Hinrich would be shipped to the Washington Wizards along with draft pick Kevin Seraphim for the rights to Vladimir Veremeenko (yes, THAT Vladimir Veremeenko). The former Bulls guard supposedly was not too happy about being traded, and for basically little to nothing, probably didn’t make him feel better either, but it was another example of Hinrich—unwillingly—doing something to improve the Bulls down the line, even though none of the really big free agent fish of that year were landed.
And now even after being used by the Bulls, Hinrich has decided to return to Chicago, reportedly expected to officially agree on Wednesday to a two-year, $6 million deal—less money than the Milwaukee Bucks reportedly offered him. Now a 31-year-old veteran, Hinrich will help fill a void at point guard while Derrick Rose gets healthy and the team waves goodbye to C.J. Watson and maybe John Lucas, he’ll be the combo guard the team needs, and again he will be a mentor to a rookie guard—this time 2012 first round pick Marquis Teague.
There are no great expectations for the Bulls’ 2012-13 season, and Hinrich undoubtedly knows that. He also likely is aware that 2014 is the next time the Bulls can really go big in free agency, as Luol Deng’s money comes off the books, Carlos Boozer will probably be amnestied, and there’s a good chance either Joakim Noah or Omer Asik (assuming the Bulls match the offer the Houston Rockets have made to him) will be traded. Hinrich’s money, while not major, will also be gone as Gar Forman and John Paxson look to again land a big free agent fish.
Again, Hinrich is helping the Bulls at present and down the road. This time, though, it’s not against his will.
Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for 670TheScore.com, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.