Captain Kirk is Back!
Since Derrick Rose’s Game 1 injury this past April, the Chicago Bulls have not had many reasons to celebrate. But in light of the signing of former point guard Kirk Hinrich this past Sunday, the Bulls and their fans can finally rejoice in something. That being said, Hinrich isn’t exactly the answer to anyone’s prayers. But even before Rose went down, there were talks of the Bulls possibly bringing Hinrich back into the fold to give the team a solid, veteran presence and a versatile shooting guard who could still help out at point. Now, it would seem, it will be on Hinrich to lead the Bulls for at least the first half of the season at the point while Rose nurses his ACL. So with Hinrich verbally committing to a two-year contract, many believe this will spell the end for C.J. Watson, for whom the Bulls have an option to pick up by July 10th. This is mainly due to salary cap space, as a tandem of Watson and Hinrich would work brilliantly. However, the Bulls have a problem with their payroll, as they are trying to decide whether they should match the Houston Rockets’ three year, $25 million offer for center Omer Asik. If the Bulls were to match that offer on the restricted free agent and give Kirk Hinrich the mini mid-level exception for his contract, that would still put them over the luxury tax. The Bulls may still choose to resign John Lucas III, and with the recent drafting of guard Marquis Teague, they should be just fine in the point guard department for the time being. Now, even though I can admit the Bulls will be “OK” at the point for the first half, any scenario where Rose is not available for a majority of the season’s games is a bad scenario. While the team gets back a leader in Hinrich, no one is going to give the production that Rose did. We saw that in the final games of the playoffs. Further, Hinrich was never an explosive offensive force and his numbers have dropped a bit, as he averaged 6.6 points and 2.8 assists per game in an injury plagued season last year. The positive thing here is that most of the team has played with him, and have played with him as their leader. What the Bulls thrived on most was how they played with one another, they were a true unit. Bringing in someone who was such an integral part of that unit was the best thing the Bulls’ front office could have done. When Rose eventually returns, Hinrich will, of course, take a back seat. But for now he needs to step back into that leadership role alongside Luol Deng and help this Bulls team regain its identity as one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams. This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.
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