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updated: 12/14/2011 10:55 PM

Hamilton gives Bulls another offensive option

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  • New Bull Richard "Rip" Hamilton will be a late-game scoring option when defenses gang up on Derrick Rose.

    New Bull Richard "Rip" Hamilton will be a late-game scoring option when defenses gang up on Derrick Rose.
    Associated Press


Let's think back to some of the history between the Bulls and former Pistons guard Richard Hamilton:

•Hamilton once got into a trash-talking match with ex-Bulls coach Scott Skiles during a game at the United Center.

•He made the highlights a few years back by sitting motionless on the Pistons bench while Kirk Hinrich crashed into the neighboring chair while chasing a loose ball.

•He also got tossed from a game against the Bulls after getting into it with Tyrus Thomas. The two continued jawing as security guards tried to push the players toward their respective locker rooms.

With all that in mind, this much seems reasonably certain: Chicago fans will enjoy having Hamilton in a Bulls uniform. He sounds like their kind of guy.

"Chicago has been asking for a legit two, I guess," Derrick Rose said. "He's very professional, a workaholic. All the things I hear about him are good. He fits this team."

Hamilton, 33, cleared waivers Wednesday afternoon and arrived at the Berto Center shortly after the Bulls finished their evening workout. He was free to join any team after agreeing to a contract buyout with Detroit.

The Bulls had some competition, though, and ended up increasing their offer to add a partially guaranteed third season to the original offer of two years and $10 million.

While some Bulls fans might see Hamilton as a former enemy, forward Luol Deng considers him a close friend. Deng's brother Ajou played with Hamilton at Connecticut, so Deng has known his newest teammate since roughly 1999.

Deng was in college when Hamilton and the Pistons won the NBA title in 2004 and attended some games at the Palace during the Eastern Conference finals that year.

"I got to know Rip, Tayshaun (Prince), all those guys, before I was even in the NBA," Deng said. "I'm really excited to see Rip here. Not only basketball-wise, but he helped me a lot with my game when I was younger and gave me tips. Having him on my side, I'm really happy about it."

Of course, the Bulls have taken on former Pistons before. Dennis Rodman became a legend here, John Salley tagged along for one championship, and Ben Wallace didn't work out so well.

In this case, Hamilton fills a strong need -- an offensive-minded shooting guard who can provide a late-game scoring option when defenses inevitably gang up on Rose.

Hamilton is coming off a rough season when he feuded with former Pistons coach John Kuester and averaged 14.1 points over 55 games. Before that he averaged at least 17 points in 10 straight seasons.

"With him, I'm going to have a lot more assists this year," Rose said. "I think it's going to open up everyone's game where everyone's going to have open shots."

Hamilton figures to suit up for Thursday's practice. The Bulls will then head out for their preseason opener Friday at Indiana.

Coach Tom Thibodeau didn't want to talk specifically about Hamilton but shrugged off the challenge of adding a new player on the sixth practice day of training camp.

"It's not like it's the first time you're getting somebody new," Thibodeau said. "That happens often in this league. It's a league of change, and you have to be ready to adapt to the changes very quickly."

Hamilton's arrival most likely means the Bulls will not bring back Keith Bogans, who started every game last season, including playoffs. Bogans averaged just 4.4 points, however, and it seemed obvious the Bulls needed more scoring, even if it meant sacrificing some defense.

Earlier Wednesday, center Joakim Noah put in a plug for Ronnie Brewer as a potential starting two guard. Brewer is clearly a better defender than Hamilton.

"Ronnie's played great," Thibodeau agreed. "He's in great shape. He's healthy. He's playing with a lot of confidence."

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