Bulls add guards Marco Belinelli and Kirk Hinrich, let center Omer Asik go to Rockets
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media July 24, 2012 9:12PM
NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09: Marco Belinelli #8 of the New Orleans Hornets shoots the ball over Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Arena on April 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Updated: August 26, 2012 6:22AM
The revolving door continued to spin Tuesday at the Berto Center.
The Bulls said goodbye to another member of their “Bench Mob” but signed two players.
The Houston Rockets announced that they had added center Omer Asik, a restricted free agent, to their roster after the Bulls elected not to match the three-year, $25 million offer sheet Asik had signed.
Only power forward Taj Gibson remains from the Bulls’ second unit of the last two seasons as Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson are all with other teams.
In an effort to reconstruct their bench, the Bulls signed guards Marco Belinelli and Kirk Hinrich.
General manager Gar Forman introduced Belinelli and Hinrich but didn’t take questions or address Asik’s departure.
Belinelli, a three-point specialist, is an obvious replacement for Korver, who served a similar role off the bench. Belinelli realizes his main asset is his shooting, but he thinks he brings more to the Bulls than Korver did.
“I’m the type of player like him,” Belinelli said. “Maybe I can create something more than him. I think he’s just a shooter. But I think that I can do more than him. So I don’t know. I’m going to try to do my best.”
Hinrich was drafted by the Bulls with the seventh pick in 2003 and played seven seasons in Chicago. He was traded to the Washington Wizards in July 2010 on the same day the Bulls signed forward Carlos Boozer.
With the ability to play both guard positions, Hinrich is almost certain to see heavy playing time at point guard as the Bulls await the return of Derrick Rose from his torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Hinrich, who has kept a home in suburban Chicago and turned down a more lucrative offer from the Milwaukee Bucks, admitted that he had to adjust to the idea of being back with the Bulls.
“It’s a little weird being back because there was a time where I didn’t know if I ever would be back,” Hinrich said. “So it’s a little strange.
“I felt like we were at a place where we finally had a chance to be really good, then I got traded. But that’s just how it is in this business. I still tried to go about the game and approach it the same way and try to bring professionalism wherever I was at. It was tough to swallow at first.”
Belinelli and Hinrich said the appeal of coming to the Bulls was having the chance to win a championship and play alongside Rose.
But with Rose’s return uncertain, both players understand the added responsibilities they’ll have in his absence.
“We’ll be fine,” Hinrich said. “The guys I know, the core guys, they’re going to bring it every night and compete, and if you do that in this league, you’re going to have a chance to win a lot of games.”