Bulls waive Rip Hamilton, clear cap space

Bulls waive Rip Hamilton, clear cap space
July 10, 2013, 6:45 pm
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Rip Hamilton’s two-year stint in Chicago ended Wednesday.

The Bulls announced that they waived the veteran shooting guard, 35, in a long-expected personnel move. Wednesday was the deadline for the organization to make the decision, as he would have been guaranteed $5 million for the 2013-14 if they kept him on the roster past July 10.

Instead, Hamilton will receive a $1 million buyout and will look to join another team as a free agent. Following the Bulls’ May season-ending Game 5 second-round playoff loss to the Heat in Miami, the two-time All-Star told reporters he intended to continue his NBA career.

Hamilton, who won a 2004 championship with Detroit, was bought out by the Pistons and signed with their Central Division rival just after the NBA lockout ended prior to the 2011-12 season, but struggled with injuries and was rarely on the court at the same time as superstar point guard Derrick Rose in his debut campaign with the Bulls. The backcourt duo didn’t come to fruition last season either, as Rose missed the entire campaign and Hamilton, initially projected to be a secondary scorer for the Bulls, again missed significant time with a variety of health issues, averaging 10.5 points per game in his two seasons in Chicago.

He eventually fell into Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau’s doghouse and lost his starting role to Marco Belinelli, who recently signed with the San Antonio Spurs, and then Jimmy Butler, penciled in as the team’s starter at shooting guard going into next season. But Hamilton, a positive locker-room influence behind the scenes, had his moments and showed he still has something left in the tank by making an impact as a scorer in the Heat series.

One of the few players to win a title at both the college and professional levels, the former Connecticut star could be a good fit as a bench scorer for a contending, veteran team in what would be his 15th NBA season.