Let’s go to Chicago for a Bulls fan’s POV. Jeff, your thoughts?
In all fairness, Hawks fans aren’t happy about losing that Maytag. Such a killer machine.
As KC Johnson tweeted above, this is a salary dump for the Bulls and a way to scoop another draft pick in what is evidently now a full-on rebuilding year. Unfortunately for Hinrich, he’s the odd man out after coming back to the Bulls to presumably finish his career in Chicago. So, now, lets bid adieu to our sweet, sweet prince.
He had some “8th man in your corporate hoops league who somehow snuck onto the team” moments like this
But he has also been one of the most consistent figures in Chicago sports since 2003. He’s a guy most fans forget is even in the league, an afterthought in every game since 2008. His scoring role has diminished with the rise of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, but his plus/minus and assist contributions are always steady. Once in a blue moon The Captain will even rise up and drop a dub on your ass.
Hinrich earned Chicago’s respect through a decade-plus of grinding. He’s limited athletically but still a solid third point guard and great locker room presence for any young contender. I loved Kirk at KU and loved him with the Bulls. He balled for a very bad Bulls organization those first five years of his career. Teenage Tyson Chandler, Eddie Curry, Jalen Rose, Jamal Crawford – those were supposed to be our studs, but, instead, Kirk and a young Loul Deng picked up the slack when their uninspired teammates continually checked out (Ben Gordon was solid for a minute there, too, I guess). Hinrich led us through the dark post-Jordan days and became a wily veteran leader once competitive basketball finally returned to the city.
If Hinrich and the Bulls seem drawn together like magnets, it’s because they are. Kirk has been traded a few times and always found his way back because, evidently, he and Bulls management value each others partnership. Even so, chances are high that Kirk has played his last game for Los Toros. Sure, I could talk myself into the idea of a ridiculously cheap vet minimum player/assistant coach contract in which Kirk spends one last season rocking a tearaway suit and rec specs every game, but that’s likely a fantasy of mine and mine alone. Realistically, I would love to see Hinrich return as a scout or Ops director at some point down the line. Dude is a basketball lifer and tough as nails. Kirk Hinrich can captain my squad any day.
PS – That 2002-2003 Kansas team made me fall in love with college hoops. Hinrich, Nick Collison, Wayne Simien, Keith Langford, Aaron Miles. Incredible college lineup.
PPS – Kirk also sports some of the best ink in The Association. Perfect “Harry Potter went to public school” wrist tattoos. Don’t mess with that guy.