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Kirk Hinrich: the Gift That Keeps on Giving

March 3, 2011

Well, the Bulls lost last night to Hawks in a pretty ridiculous loss.  Joyce is going through the 5 stages of grief so I’ll be bringing you the fresh blog of the day.  Since neither her nor I feel like dwelling on the collapse of the Bulls’ offense in the second half of the Hawks’ game**, I’m going to talk about how Kirk Hinrich is the gift that keeps on giving.  In case you missed it among the flurry of trades leading up to the trade deadline, the Wizards traded Kirk Hinrich and Hilton Armstrong to the Atlanta Hawks for Mike Bibby, Maurice Evans, Jordan Crawford, and a 2011 first-round pick. So why is Kirk the gift that keeps on giving?  Well, let me back turn the clock back to 2010…

kirk hinrich in a santa hat

kirk hinrich in a badly cropped santa hat (Photo Credit: Jocelyn)

The Bulls, in the buildup to the arms race otherwise known as “The Decision“, were trying to clear cap space to make room for two marquee free agents and decided to trade Hinrich, the former face of the franchise, and the Bulls’ first round draft pick to the Wizards.  The Bulls gained over $10 million in cap space and the Wizards got a point guard who knew how to play defense and how not to play with guns. As you may know, the Wizards managed to snag John Wall, the #1 pick, in the 2010 draft and also a point guard.  Once the season started, the franchise was mired in mediocrity.  Between Agent Zero and his obvious lack of passion for the game, a rash of injuries, and the team’s inability to win on the road, the franchise finally decided to trade Gilbert Arenas in a mega trade that brought back Rashard Lewis and some future savings.  Then the trade deadline rolled around and the Wizards decided to continue to plan for the future by pulling the trigger on the Hinrich trade.  In an unexpected turn of events, Mike Bibby decided he was too old to play backup point guard on a team with a terrible record so he agreed to a buyout of his contract, foregoing the entirety of next year’s salary of over $6 million. Are you keeping track?

The trade of Hinrich resulted in the following for the Wizards:

  • Kevin Seraphin (the Bulls’ former 2010 first round pick)
  • Jordan Crawford (the Hawks’ former 2010 first round pick)
  • The Hawks 2011 first round pick
  • Mo Evans, whose $2.5m salary will come off the payroll after this season (assuming Wiz don’t resign him)
  • Mike Bibby, whose $6.2m salary will come off the payroll after this season because of the buyout
kirk equals kevin seraphin, jordan crawford, another first-round draft pick plus lots of money

kirk equals kevin seraphin, jordan crawford, another first-round draft pick plus lots of moolah (Photo credit: nba.com)

I’ve probably missed something but borrowing half a season of Kirk Hinrich turned into 3 first round picks and $8m+ in salary savings.  Not too shabby for a franchise who had a $79m payroll last year, a gun/player scandal, and a terrible record.  The team still has a mediocre record but now the team has young picks/players, no more scandal-maker, and financial flexibility heading into a new collective bargaining agreement.  I think Bibby’s move even inspired Al Thornton to agree to a buyout – bonus unintended consequence!

Ted Leonsis seems to have an actual strategy in place and I’m glad that the Wiz are catching a few breaks – the Bulls played the Wiz on Monday and if you needed an example of the current plight that is the life of a Wiz’ fan, it would be this email that I received from my friend Zack while I was at the Bulls-Wiz game:

“if we still had mike bibby, you’d be getting destroyed right now”

You know you’re a Wizards fan when the highlight of your day is the cap savings you unexpectedly gained by Mike Bibby foregoing his entire salary next year in a desperate attempt to get the heck out of town.  But hey, the Hawks, with their new point guard Kirk Hinrich, beat the Bulls last night, so even though he’s not a Wizard anymore, he’s still a lucky charm for the Wiz.

**note to sportswriters: can we stop writing pieces about how the Bulls are very happy with one another and love the team as-is?  I’m sure that’s true but it doesn’t negate the fact that we still need another steady scoring option that can create his own shots when D.Rose is having an off night.

-Jocelyn

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