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How Rip Hamilton will fit into Bulls’ chemistry

Rip Hamiltwhom Bulls might sign Wednesday has feuded with last two Pistons coaches. | Greg Shamus~Getty Images

Rip Hamilton, whom the Bulls might sign Wednesday, has feuded with the last two Pistons coaches. | Greg Shamus~Getty Images

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Updated: January 15, 2012 8:18AM



You can see it in the way players make the extra pass, embrace their roles and lead the league in floor burns. It was also evident when the entire Bulls team sat down to lunch together between two-a-day practices Tuesday at the Berto Center.

The Bulls won a regular-season-best 62 games last season because of a chemistry that makes them greater than their parts. That’s what makes the biggest concern about their expected signing of Rip Hamil-
ton how he will mesh with his new teammates, not his age or ability to defend Dwyane Wade in the playoffs.

Hamilton said via Twitter late Tuesday that he would choose among three teams when he clears waivers Wednesday.

‘‘We’re extremely close,’’ forward Carlos Boozer said. ‘‘We just have a great dynamic of guys who are good guys .  .  . and that makes it super easy to have great chemistry on and off the court.

‘‘When we practice, we all root for each other and push each other. If we go out at night to a restaurant or a movie, we go together.’’

Hamilton led Connecticut to a national championship in college and was a critical member of a
Detroit Pistons team that relied more on chemistry than talent on its way to an NBA title in 2004. But if he signs with the Bulls after clearing waivers, he must understand Derrick Rose is the unquestioned leader of the team.

Hamilton’s role would be mostly as a complementary player, a third or even fourth option behind Rose, forward Luol Deng and Boozer.

‘‘Rip would definitely fit in, if that’s the direction we’re going,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘I’ve admired his game a great deal. He’s a great dude, a very good friend of mine. He would fit into this group.’’

Executive vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman have put an emphasis on character and chemistry while building the Bulls’ roster. You can be sure they’ve checked up on Hamilton, who has feuded with the last two Pistons coaches.

‘‘Whether it’s the draft or free agency or trades, we’ve spent a lot of years doing a lot of background and intel on a number of players in any of those three scenarios,’’ Forman said. ‘‘We’ve built up our talent base to a point where we feel we have pretty good knowledge of who a guy is and how he’ll fit in, based on the background work we’ve done. It’s one piece of the puzzle when you’re evaluating somebody, but it’s a very important piece.’’

Guard Ronnie Brewer likely will play fewer minutes after Hamilton’s arrival, but he said that doesn’t concern him if Hamilton helps the team win. That’s another example of the environment the Bulls have created.

‘‘It’s not about who starts and plays in the game,’’ Brewer said. ‘‘It’s about winning. If you can go out there and do your part and that allows you to win games, that’s what everybody plays for. That’s what, in my opinion, you should play for.’’

Rookie guard Jimmy Butler is learning what Hamilton will find out soon enough. Butler has been surprised to find his new NBA teammates are as tightly knit as his team at Marquette was.

‘‘We’re like brothers, man,’’ Boozer said. ‘‘We bring everybody along. We all have the same objective in mind. We want the best for everybody. In professional sports, it’s very rare to have a team like we’ve got.’’



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