At 33 years old, Kirk Hinrich isn't the same player that he used to be, but that didn't keep Chicago from re-signing him.
The team announced the signing on July 21:
The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has re-signed guard Kirk Hinrich. In accordance with team policy, terms of the contract were not announced.
'Kirk has always been a big part of creating the professional culture we want day in, day out surrounding our club,' said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. 'He helps our team in so many ways and Kirk had other opportunities elsewhere, but we are very happy he chose to remain in a Bulls uniform.'
David Aldridge of NBA.com first reported the news on July 13:
The former Kansas Jayhawks guard made just over $4 million last year, finishing out his two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls worth $8 million. Not surprisingly, he didn't get a very large deal this offseason, as he didn't quite live up to his previous contract.
After returning to the Bulls back in 2012, Hinrich has struggled to be an efficient player. During the past two seasons, he has averaged just 8.5 points and 4.5 assists per game while shooting just 38.6 percent from the field.
Still, the 11-year veteran has been a solid guard in previous seasons, and his career averages of 11.8 points, 5.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game over his career are evidence of that.
Hinrich has also been able to elevate his game in the postseason. He was able to average at least 11 points per game in each of the past two playoff campaigns for Chicago, and the Bulls will hope that he can step up again if they can make the playoffs next season.
At the end of April, Hinrich expressed his desire to stay in Chicago.
"I grew up a Bull in this league," he told Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. "I will always think of myself as a Chicago Bull no matter what happens. Just moving forward, I have a great relationship with a lot of my teammates here who are coming back. The organization -- there's definitely a lot of history there."
Hinrich has played all but two seasons in the NBA with the Bulls, and he has gotten his wish to remain with the team. Assuming Derrick Rose is healthy and able to start, Hinrich will be his backup. D.J. Augustin was a backup as well last season, but he is currently a free agent.
General manger Gar Forman talked about the possibility of re-signing either Hinrich or Augustin at the beginning of May, reportedly calling it a "goal" to bring back the 33-year-old veteran.
"It could be that we have just a little bit of (financial) flexibility, but there are different scenarios where we could have a lot of flexibility," Forman told K.C. Johnson from the Chicago Tribune. "I wouldn't want to completely rule out (signing both)."
Even if he's not as productive as he once was, Hinrich will continue to be a veteran presence in the locker room, helping the younger players feel more comfortable in the association.
He may have not gotten a huge contract, but Hinrich will be an interesting player to keep an eye on for Chicago.
At this point in his career, Hinrich is in a favorable position to still be a serviceable player and use his experience and leadership to spark the rest of the roster.
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