Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich will be an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his nine-year career this summer, and he's open to returning to the Bulls, where he spent his first seven seasons, writes K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
"I wouldn't be opposed to it," he said. "It's still a ways away, and a lot can happen. We'll see. I have no preconceived thoughts on what will happen."
Hinrich, 31 is on the last year of a five-year, $48.75MM deal he signed the Bulls before the traded him to the Wizards in 2010 to clear cap space for that year's heralded crop of free agents. The Wizards sent him to the Hawks at the trade deadline a year ago.
Johnson points out that Hinrich will have to take a pay cut to go back to Chicago, as the Bulls' commitments will put them over the cap and close to the luxury tax line next season. That would leave only cap exceptions or a minimum-salary deal at their disposal. Hinrich also said he's enjoyed his time with the Hawks, who possess his Bird rights and only have $60.9MM on next year's payroll.
The former Kansas standout is suffering through perhaps his worst season, putting up career lows in points (9.8) and assists (3.7) per 36 minutes. The Bulls have shown they have plenty of backcourt depth this season when Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton have been sidelined by injury, but Rose, Hamilton and rookie swingman Jimmy Butler are the only guards whose contracts are fully guaranteed next year. Bringing back Hinrich is not a move the Bulls have a pressing need for, but if Hinrich is willing to make it happen at a bargain, they may take him up on that.