As the Detroit Pistons announced the signing of D.J. Augustin on a 2-year, $6 million contract, the Chicago Bulls came to an agreement with Kirk Hinrich, though terms have not been announced.
For the second consecutive year, the Bulls have parted ways with a vertically challenged guard who showed surprising offensive skills after filling in for an injured Derrick Rose, as Augustin joins Nate Robinson as an ex-Bull.
With the Bulls current cap crunch resigning both Augustin and Hinrich was not a realistic possibility, but given the choice of the two, Hinrich represents a better value and fit to the Bulls than Augustin assuming the health of Derrick Rose.
While Rose’s health is far from assured, the Bulls can’t operate as if they expect another devastating injury to their superstar point guard. In signing Kirk Henrich the Bulls maintain their edge on defense while keeping the chemistry of the team intact with Hinrich’s veteran knowledge of Tom Thibodeau’s system. Hinrich has the ability to play both guard positions and can take pressure off of Derrick Rose on defense, while also serving as a capable backup who can lead the offense in Rose’s absence.
Hinrich also possesses a passion for winning that has been a staple of recent Bulls teams and is embodied by the max-effort play of teammate Joakim Noah. Together, Hinrich and Noah are the most senior members on the Bulls roster given their history with the organization and their shared competitive desire.
While D.J. Augustin made a name for himself in Chicago and has definite offensive upside, his defense was lacking and his size is a detriment at just 6-foot, 183 pounds. Augustin also earned his shot to take a more prominent role in the upcoming season and that simply would not be the case with a healthy Derrick Rose on the Bulls’ roster.
By resigning Kirk Hinrich, in addition to the preceding moves this offseason, the Chicago Bulls have put themselves in clear championship contention with an adaptive roster that should be able to both score and defend at a high level. Of course, all championship pursuits must first go through LeBron James, as the prodigal son makes his return to Cleveland.
I wonder what Joakim Noah thinks about that?