Kirk Hinrich will start for the Chicago Bulls tonight

Kirk Hinrich Wizards

The Chicago Bulls will begin the season without Derrick Rose, of course, but they won’t have to begin the year without Kirk Hinrich. He’s back with the Bulls after signing with the team as a free agent this offesason. He will start alongside Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah tonight in the opener versus the Sacramento Kings.

Hinrich had been injured and missed significant time this exhibition season.

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Bulls vs. Hawks: NBA Eastern Conference Semis, Let’s Get it On!


Are you excited for the NBA Playoffs? Are you enthused to see your #1 seeded Chicago Bulls advance past the Indiana Pacers and meet the Atlanta Hawks in the next round? This is crunch time, the big time!

Of course, this Monday, most of us are buzzing about something else.

There was a news story of note released Sunday night. You might have seen a little blurb, a tiny snippet here and there in the media about it. And it’s much bigger and more important than basketball.

But moving back to the United Center. A series with a truly fascinating storyline: point guard battle between original mentor (Kirk Hinrich) and mentee (Derrick Rose) isn’t actually going to happen after all. And the result could prove disastrous for Atlanta.

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Atlanta Hawks Bringing Momentum into Series with Bulls

NBA Cheerleaders

The Atlanta Hawks have a lot to feel good about as they upset the Orlando Magic in the first round of the NBA playoffs and reprise their role as the underdog in a round two showdown with the Chicago Bulls.

The Hawks have to be happy with the production they got from their two shooting guards, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford. Crawford looked unstoppable at times as he averaged 20.5 points per game in the series—6.3 points more than his regular season average. Although he was held to just eight points in Game 5, Crawford scored 23 points or more in the first four games of the series and finished with a 19 point effort on Thursday.

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Chicago Bulls All Decade Team


By Paul M. Banks

The 1990s were a refreshing change for Chicago sports fans. For the better part of the decade, the city abandoned it’s dysfunctional obsession with its two lovable losers (Bears and Cubs) in order to fully embrace the only true consistent winner that the second city has ever known: Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty. As great as the 90s were, the 2000s were kind of lean. Especially in the beginning when they ended the ’99-’00 with 65 losses, followed that up with 67 losses the next year, and two more 50+ seasons after that.

However, they did make the playoffs four out of the last five years this decade, and they did it without a true franchise player or star. In fact the Bulls haven’t had an all-star since Michael Jordan retired in 1998 (I don’t acknowledge that whole Washington Wizards thing, and no true NBA fan really should-EVER). This reality makes picking the all-decade team all the more murky and debatable. Not to mention the arguments you could have about who belongs on the first team versus the second team. Here’s what I choose:

All-Decade First Team

Elton Brand

The 1999-00 NBA Rookie of the Year was also the last in team history to average over 20 points a game in consecutive seasons, and he averaged a double-double in those years as well.

Jalen Rose

On teams that struggled to score, he grabbed the Bulls by the horns and put up a 22.7 ppg average during his time in Chicago; second only to MJ.

Kirk Hinrich

Yes, his career essentially peaked in ’07, but the class and leadership he displayed in handling the shift in his role on the team is worth emulating and commending. Earlier this season, Hinrich spoke about what he’s trying to improve upon, “Trying to stay aggressive offensively, keep my defensive intensity and just trying to help the guys along, I realize I’m in a position to be somewhat of a leader, and try to do that.” And he’s arguably the franchise’s best defender this decade, and 4th in Bulls history in assists, 3rd in 3-pointers made and top ten in scoring.

Tyson Chandler

Maybe he never lived up to the hype, but he still finished his time here 5th in blocks, 9th in offensive rebounds and 8th in defensive boards.

Ben Gordon

Yes his defense is like a Fergie song with intelligent lyrics: non-existent. But he was the team’s most consistent scorer for the latter half of the decade, and he tied a NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a game without a miss, going 9-9 in April of ’06 versus Washington. I was there that night- it was electric.Fergie

A Category all his own

Ron Artest

Hard to decide what to do with Ron Artest when you make this list. Consider the achievements of his NBA career, consider how “colorful” he is both on and off the court, consider what a great soundbite he is, especially in a world of “we’re just taking it one game at a time” and “I’m working hard and I’m just happy to be here” and finally consider he wasn’t Bull very long at all.

For an exclusive interview with Ron Artest, where he discusses his pro Tiger Woods blog click here

All Decade Second Team

Jamal Crawford

What can I say? It was a slow decade for the Bulls. Even though they had a few winning seasons, they TRULY lacked legitimate stars.

Eddy Curry

Again, it was a REALLY slow decade for the Bulls.

Derrick Rose

Last season’s Rookie of the Year should become the franchise’s first All-Star since Michael Jordan. “It would mean a lot. It’s one of my goals, I’m going to fight for it,” Rose told me earlier this year at a practice. In ’09, Rose tied Lew Alcindor for most points scored by a rookie in his postseason debut.  And Chris Paul is the only other player ever to score 35+ points and 10+ assists while losing his playoff virginity.


Luol Deng

Ok, so he’s come nowhere CLOSE to being worth the $71 million they shelled out to keep him here, but the team has only one playoff series win this decade, and he averaged 22.2 points and 8.7 rebounds during that postseason.

Scottie Pippen

Was technically a member of the team this decade, as Pip played sparingly on the ’03-‘04 team. But he’s obviously here for old-time’s sake. As the record book will tell you “Pippen Ain’t Easy,” as Scottie is second all-time in franchise history to Michael Jordan in pretty much every stat you could possibly care about.

Honorable Mention

Joakim Noah (Hey, he’s leading the NBA in rebounds right now- name the last Bull to do that), Ron Mercer

What’s Going to Happen with Ben Gordon?


By Anthony Zilis

Remember those few days after Christmas when you were a kid? The excitement for weeks leading up to the big day was palpable. You could hardly sleep the night before, and then it finally came.

That’s what the days following the NBA Draft are like for me. I’m an NBA Draft fan, plain and simple.

It’s time to get back to reality. After drafting forwards James Johnson and Taj Gibson, the Chicago Bulls have to answer the question of whether they’ll re-sign Ben Gordon. Before I delve into the details, let’s look at how the Bulls’ rotation would shake out without Gordon.

PG – Derrick Rose 38 mpg, Kirk Hinrich 10 mpg

SG – John Salmons 28 mpg, Hinrich 20 mpg

SF – Luol Deng 30 mpg, Salmons 10 mpg, James Johnson or Tyrus Thomas 8 mpg

PF – Thomas 30 mpg, Joakim Noah 10 mpg, Taj Gibson or Johnson 8 mpg

C  – Noah 25 mpg, Brad Miller 23 mpg

So where does Gordon fit in to the equation? The answer, in short, is nowhere. Having Deng back in the lineup moves Salmons, a much bigger, better defender to shooting guard. That would leave Hinrich and hypothetically, Gordon, on the bench left to split playing time at shooting guard.hinrich_getty

Detroit, reportedly is ready to offer Gordon $11 million per year. With Hinrich making an average of $9 million over the next three seasons, it would be unheard of to have two backup guards making over $20 million. Signing Gordon would effectively put the Bulls near the salary cap for next year’s mega-free agency period. Having Gordon would put in jeopardy any chances of the Bulls signing Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, or any other free agents in next year’s class.

The Bulls would most likely, have to trade Hinrich if they re-signed Gordon. With Hinrich on the team, though, the Bulls are saved having to sign a backup point guard. He can score although he isn’t the scorer Gordon is. But Hinrich is a premiere defensive player, and can guard three positions. With Salmons at shooting guard, the Bulls are looking at a much-improved, bigger and better defensive team.

If the Bulls commit to Gordon for five or six years, as they did with Deng, they’ll quickly regret it. And the Deng contract is obviously a regrettable decision.

The popular opinion seems to be that Hinrich is overpaid. Maybe the Bulls should just trade Hinrich and re-sign Gordon. But, crazily enough, having Gordon gone makes the Hinrich contract seem very reasonable.

Yes, $27 million over three years is a lot to pay a backup point guard. But his versatility and ability to play, and guard the shooting guard position makes him worth it. If he can give the Bulls 30 quality minutes per game, this contract seems very reasonable. The numbers are in the ballpark of guards like Jose Calderon, Maurice Williams, TJ Ford, Jamal Crawford, and Jason Terry. Hinrich absolutely belongs in that group.

Just think if he, and not Gordon, was guarding Ray Allen throughout one of the most exciting playoff series in history.

Yes, they would have missed Gordon’s scoring spark, but Allen would have been smothered by Hinrich’s defense. The series wouldn’t have been as exciting, but the Bulls may have actually won. Isn’t that the goal?

If the Bulls re-sign Gordon, they’ll win some exciting games. But when they’re not relying on his streaky scoring to dig them out of holes created by his own bad defense, they’ll probably win more.

So comment below…Do you think the Bulls should re-sign Gordon or trade Hinrich? Does Gordon’s offense make up for his defensive deficiency? What team do you think he’ll go to if he doesn’t re-sign?

Will the Bulls Draft a Backup Point Guard?


By Paul M. Banks

If there’s one position the Chicago Bulls don’t have a pressing need at, it’s point guard. The incumbent starter, Derrick Rose is the only player on the roster even remotely close to developing into a franchise player, and (SAT scandals and gang sign gestures aside) is the guy to build the team around. But the Bulls might see backup Kirk Hinrich move on soon and in today’s NBA, the “Golden Age of Point Guards” that we currently live in, it’s good to have two reliable point guards.

As former UCLA point guard and current draft prospect Darren Collison said at the NBA Draft Combine: “This is the draft you want to be in right now if you’re a point guard. Everyone’s getting so much credit, from Jonny Flynn, to me, to Eric Maynor right on down the list because everyone knows they need point guards to win ballgames, to take that next step. And teams need a first string and a second string the whole game to be solid, and all the point guards in this draft have the potential to do that.”

For teams currently needing a point guard, this crop of prospects is deeper than any draft this decade, possibly all-time. It could produce a couple players with the same impact as current young NBA floor generals Rose, Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

On Tuesday, the Bulls looked at (among others) Maynor, Wake Forest’s Jeff Teague, Greece’s Nick Calathes, St. Joseph’s Tasheed Carr, the 5’6” David Holston from Chicago State and Bryan Mullins from Southern Illinois via Downers Grove High School.

UCLA’s second, and more hyped point guard prospect, Jrue Holiday has also met with the team and expressed a strong interest to join the team at combine media day. However, he should be long picked by the time the Bulls are on the board.


Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn, one of the hottest point guard prospects around, figures to likely be gone by the time the Bulls pick at #16 on June 25th, and long gone when the Bulls pick again at #26. However, he worked out for the Bulls, met with the front office and was extremely vocal about his desire to play for the Bulls at the NBA Draft Combine. Flynn told the media how much he enjoys the Bulls up-tempo system and their young nucleus. He also described his game:

“I think I have some characteristics of Chris Paul. His tenacity, he’s hard as nails, fiery, fires his teammates up, he really knows how to get his teammates in position to where they can score, where they don’t have to do much to score. Look at David West and Tyson Chandler; where would they be without Chris Paul?”

As much as the Bulls need a scoring big, as much as point guard is the team’s strongest position, they have needs at guard- especially someone to be a backup running the point and/or provide scoring at the off guard position given the (increasingly likely) case that Ben Gordon departs.