When Rip Hamilton signed with the Chicago Bulls in December 2011, he was hailed as the missing piece that would push the Bulls past the Miami Heat. Then he missed more than half of his lockout-shortened first season in Chicago, and more than a third of this past season, and now he’s on his way out the door.
Rip’s 2012-13 season was quite something. He was arguably the Bulls third or fourth best player to start the season, before he injured his foot in December and missed almost a month. When he came back, he wasn’t the same player. Then he got hurt again in late February, disappeared for about a month and a half, only to return at the end of the season to find his job taken by Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler. He played in just two games in the Bulls’ 7-game series with the Brooklyn Nets and none of the first three games against the Heat before enjoying a mini-renaissance in games four and five, somehow playing more than 35 minutes (!!!) in an elimination game. Strangely, I wasn’t even upset about it.
The best part of the year was the Bulls desperately trying to dump Rip at the trade deadline to get under the luxury tax line, only to be rebuffed at every turn. Always fun to have a player nobody will take at any price.
Anyway, Rip’s health and contract make his return a non-starter, and that’s before we get to his nonexistent production. I wish things had turned out differently, but it’s an objectively smart move to save $4 million by dumping Rip. He will not really be missed.
Final Grade: D+