Allow me to present the Kirk Hinrich Timeline:
June 26, 2003:
The Bulls select Kirk Hinrich with the seventh overall pick in the NBA Draft.
July 16, 2003:
Hinrich signs a four-year rookie deal with the Bulls that includes a team option for the 2006-07 season.
October 24, 2005:
The Bulls exercise their option on Hinrich for 2006-07.
October 31, 2006:
The Bulls sign Hinrich to a five-year contract extension worth $47.5 million.
November 2006 through May 2007:
Hinrich goes on to have his best season as a pro: 16.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 44.8 percent shooting from the field, 41.5 percent on three-pointers, and a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 17.0. The Bulls finish 49-33 and, despite being eliminated by the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, become widely acclaimed as The Team of the Future.
November 2007 through April 2008:
Hinrich regresses as a player — 11.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 41 percent shooting, 35 percent on threes, PER of 13.1. The Bulls also regress as a team, winning only 33 games and missing the playoffs during a season in which 51.9 percent of the league’s GMs predicted they would win the Central Division (and 22.2 percent had them winning the Eastern Conference). Hinrich’s extension suddenly looks ridiculous.
May 20, 2008:
Despite a mere 1.7 percent chance of success, the Bulls win the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery.
November 2008 through May 2009:
Hinrich spends the 2008-09 season coming off the bench behind Derrick Rose and submits his worst statistical season (9.9 PPG, 3.9 APG, 4 starts) while making $10 million. Hinrich officially goes from being “The Next John Stocton” to “The First Guy To Be Traded If The Bulls Can Convince Another Team To Take On His Contract.”
July 8, 2010:
Almost four years dozens of trade rumors after signing that $47.5 million extension, Hinrich is shipped to Washington in an effort to clear cap room for the LeBron/D-Wade/Bosh sweepstakes…which the Bulls lose.
February 23, 2011:
The Wizards trade Hinrich (along with Hilton Armstrong) to the Atlanta Hawks for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a 2011 first rounder draft pick (which is used to select Chris Singleton).
April 28, 2011:
Hinrich injures his hamstring in Game 6 of Atlanta’s first round playoff series against the Orlando Magic. Hinrich would miss the rest of the Hawks’ postseason…which was comprised of a second round playoff elimination by the Bulls.
December 2011 through May 2012:
Hinrich misses the first 18 games of the lockout-shortened season due to his recovery from left shoulder surgery. Hinrich has by far his worst season as a pro — 6.6 PPG, 2.8 APG, 34 percent three-point shooting, 9.2 PER — and the Hawks are eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
April 28, 2012:
Derrick Rose tears the ACL in his left knee during Game 1 of the Bulls’ first round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
May 12, 2012:
Rose has surgery on his ACL. Estimated recovery time is 8-12 months. The Bulls suddenly have a need for a solid, veteran PG to run the team until Rose is able to return from injury.
May through July 2012:
There is much speculation about what the Bulls will do to address the PG situation. It is widely agreed that drafting Marquis Teague with the 28th pick of the NBA Draft won’t solve the problem. Further, the Bulls seem hesitant to pick up the team option on backup PG C.J. Watson. Fan sentiment for the return of Hinrich begins to grow. The Bulls reportedly show interest in bringing Hinrich back.
July 8, 2012:
Reports surface that Hinrich has agreed to a two-year deal with the Bulls.