1:32pm: The move is official, the team announced via press release.
11:30am: Austin confirmed to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune that Hinrich has indeed opted in (Twitter link).
9:08am: Kirk Hinrich has decided to opt in and stay with the Bulls for next season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). He’ll make nearly $2.855MM next season, the final one on his two-year deal.
The move allows the team to keep the long-tenured guard and avoid using its limited funds to replace him. Chicago already had about $60.2MM in guaranteed salaries against a projected $67.1MM salary cap and $81.6MM tax line. A new max deal for Jimmy Butler would likely add nearly $16MM to Chicago’s books, giving the team season-long tax concerns unless it makes a salary-clearing trade.
Hinrich, 34, started 22 games this past season, though he set career lows with averages of 5.7 points and 24.4 minutes per game, in large measure because Derrick Rose was relatively healthy. The Jeff Austin client, set to enter free agency as the cap surges next summer, may well see a larger role this coming season if fellow backup point guard Aaron Brooks departs in free agency.