Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Tom Thibodeau respects Rip Hamilton
By Nick Friedell
DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and power forward Carlos Boozer joined the chorus of those praising veteran sharpshooter Richard Hamilton, who is expected to sign with the Bulls on Wednesday after he clears waivers.
"He's been a talented player in the league for a long time," Thibodeau said after the first of two practices Tuesday. "He's been around. He's got great experience. I know when we played against him he was hard to guard."
Hamilton, 33, was waived on Monday after nine years with the Detroit Pistons. He averaged 14.1 points last season, which was the lowest since his rookie season, and was relegated to a temporary reserve role after he had a falling out with coach John Kuester, who was fired after the season.
Bulls star Derrick Rose already is on record saying how much he respects Hamilton, and Rose had company Tuesday.
"(He's) a good friend of mine," Boozer said. "Always been a great competitor. He's been a winner his whole career. If he did come, he would be a great addition. I've admired his game for a long time."
Another one of Boozer's close friends is Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. There has been a lot of speculation as to Howard's next team after he requested to be traded last week. Up to this point, Howard has told officials that he would only sign a long term deal with the Magic, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Lakers or the New Jersey Nets.
The Bulls would be willing to trade anyone on their roster except for Rose in order to land Howard, according to a league source, but Howard does not seem interested in coming to the Bulls. Boozer says he has not spoken to Howard about the possibility of playing in Chicago.
"For me, I just wish him the best of luck," Boozer said. "I don't know what's going to happen. It's not my real concern. My concern is about the Bulls. On a personal note, I feel for him a little bit, but I hope he gets what he's looking for."
Boozer says he is not offended that Howard does not want to sign an extension with the Bulls.
"No I'm not," Boozer said. "I'm not offended at all. Are you (media) offended? Me either ... I love my teammates, man. I ride with the guys that we have. I wouldn't trade any of my teammates. I love every one of them. And I believe in what we have in our locker room."
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.