Coach Tom Thibodeau had yet to decide whether Rip Hamilton would make his United Center debut tonight in the exhibition finale against the Indiana Pacers or in the homer opener on New Year's Day against the Memphis Grizzlies.
"We'll see," Thibodeau said. "I just want to make sure he's ready to go. He's moving along well. He's in pretty good shape. I just want to make sure."
The veteran free-agent guard has participated in five practices since being signed to a two-year deal with a club option last week.
"His experience is going to pay off," Luol Deng said. "The great thing is every practice he's early, he's been practicing really hard and talking to the young guys. You can just tell he's not here just to join us. He's here because he knows he can help us. It's exciting to see that."
Whether or not he plays Tuesday night, Hamilton seems to have already earned the respect of his teammates.
"He's going to be great for us," center Joakim Noah said. "He's somebody who can really score the ball. He's played in a lot of big ball games. He's a warrior."