(This entry was written by Seth Gruen)
When Rip Hamilton joins the Bulls Thursday, it won't be a totally unfamiliar situation.
Hamilton knew forward Luol Deng even before he entered the NBA having played with Deng's brother, Ajou on the 1999 Connecticut team that won the National Championship.
Deng was in high school when he first met Hamilton.
"Rip is a terrific player," Deng said. "He's going to help us out a lot. Has a lot of experience and he's a great teammate. I've known Rip for a long time and I'm really excited he's going to be with us."
Hamilton is expected to be used similar to the way Kyle Korver was last season. A player who moves well without the ball, Hamilton will be an excellent compliment to Derrick Rose's play-making ability.
He was part of the Pistons team that won the 2004 NBA Championship.
"With him, I'm going to have a lot more assists this year," Rose said. "With him shooting the ball the way he does and the way he is in condition, he'll be able to keep up.
"Chicago has been asking for a two I guess, a legit two, him winning a championship and his skills speak for itself."
Coach Tom Thibodeau was still coy when asked about specifically integrating Hamilton into the rotation after Wednesday night's practice--some two hours before an official announcement.
But speaking in general about free agents joining the Bulls, Thibodeau said a player has to be evaluated before any personnel decisions were made.
"You can't answer that until you see him," he said. "But it's similar to signing somebody now to make a trade. The difference is you're coming off the offseason. You don't know where guys are conditioning-wise."