Why Are Golden State Warriors Interested in Kirk Hinrich?

D.J. FosterContributor IJanuary 7, 2014

Jan 2, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls shooting guard Kirk Hinrich (12) passes against the Boston Celtics during the 2nd half at the United Center. The Bulls won 94-82. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

In theory, it's a logical fit.

It's no secret that the Golden State Warriors want a backup point guard.

It's also no secret that the Chicago Bulls are basically waving the white flag on the season after trading Luol Deng.

That move would seem to indicate that veteran players who aren't in the Bulls' plans for the future would be very available.

Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich is almost certainly one of those players. Like Deng was, Hinrich is on an expiring deal, albeit a much smaller one at a little over $4 million.

The Warriors have the demand. The Bulls have the supply. Can it be so simple?

Well, yes and no. But at the least, the interest from the Warriors appears to exist, according to Sam Amick of USA Today:

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Golden State Warriors are among teams that had been showing serious interest in Hinrich long before the Deng trade. ... Even with the Warriors' current nine-game winning streak, they remain on the lookout for a point guard to play behind Stephen Curry

As Amick mentions, it does seem strange for a team on such a hot streak to be aggressive on the trade market, but that may tell us something about how the Warriors view the backup point guard position.

Maybe it's not so much that the Warriors feel a sense of urgency to acquire someone who can contribute on the court right now, but rather to pluck an asset for cheap before another team does. Essentially, the Warriors might not want to miss out on a clearance sale, since they have limited budget to play with.

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 5:  Kirk Hinrich #12 of the Chicago Bulls passes the ball against the Miami Heat on December 5, 2013 at United Center in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this
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That theory probably makes more sense than viewing the backup point guard spot as a disastrous one that has to be addressed right now. Toney Douglas may not be ideal behind Stephen Curry, but he's certainly serviceable. When you toss Iguodala's point-forward abilities into the equation, the Warriors probably shouldn't feel rushed to overspend on the trade market.

But at the same time, there is a balance to be maintained. All it takes is one Stephen Curry injury before teams are gouging the Warriors in trade talks and maintaining all the leverage. The whole point of acquiring insurance is to have it right when you truly need it, after all. Investing in a point guard now, if the price is right, makes sense.

That may be particularly true given the current state of the Western Conference. With Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul both sidelined for substantial periods of time, the Warriors could really make a run right now for a top-four spot and gain ground in the race for home court. Maybe the Warriors don't need a lot of help in that regard, but an upgrade could come in handy over the next few weeks.

There's also plenty of logic behind allowing the new acquisition time to jell with the rest of the team in advance of what could be a deep playoff run. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 2: Kirk Hinrich #12 of the Chicago Bulls drives against Michael Carter-Williams #1 of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 2, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
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Should Kirk Hinrich be that acquisition?

Again, in theory, it's a good fit.

But in terms of actual production on the court, the Warriors might be well-served to aim a little higher.

Maybe the price on Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry will lower enough for the Warriors to get involved, or maybe a cheaper player like Atlanta Hawks guard Shelvin Mack will become available. Point being, there will be other players on the market. 

Although Hinrich is a safe point guard who defends hard, he's nothing more than an average backup at this stage in his career. The 33-year-old is suffering through a career-worst campaign, as he's shooting just 34 percent from the field and a dreadful 28.6 percent from behind the arc.

While there may be some hope that Hinrich's production will pick back up and fall in line with his career numbers, it's certainly not a guarantee.

Unlike the scenario with Andre Miller and the Denver Nuggets, the Bulls don't necessarily need to move Hinrich, either. He's not a distraction like Miller is, and his expiring deal is exactly what Chicago needs heading into the offseason. If the Bulls are trading him, they need an asset of some sort in return.

ONTARIO, CA - OCTOBER 5:  Nemanja Nedovic #8 of the Golden State Warriors brings the ball up the floor against the Los Angeles Lakers at Citizens Business Bank Arena on October 5, 2013 in Ontario, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
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Would Golden State's inclusion of combo guard Nemanja Nedovic (who was coincidentally dubbed the "European Derrick Rose" in advance of the 2013 draft) along with salary filler be enough for Chicago? Would future second-round picks be enough as the main entree? Probably.

But perhaps more importantly, would a few months of Hinrich be worth the forfeiture of any future assets for the Warriors? Buying a lottery ticket and hoping to stumble on a Patrick Beverley type in the D-League seems like the alternative, which might not be the worst idea.

It all depends on what price the Warriors are willing to pay for competency, but this version of Hinrich probably isn't enough of an upgrade over Douglas to warrant the sacrifice of any future piece or of the financial flexibility below the luxury tax line. If a trade is done, this may be the only move the Warriors are able to make this year.

Hinrich is likely available for a relatively cheap price, but when you're contending for a title, you have to be selective. Roster spots matter, money matters and draft picks, even second-rounders, matter. And remember, point guard is by far the league's deepest position. There will be plenty of other options who become available.

Hinrich is a decent player, but this is a sale the Warriors might be wise to pass up.