When the Chicago Bulls picked up veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton after he was waived by the Detroit Pistons, they assumed they were getting a player that could still score at a high rate. But so far, all Hamilton has done for the Bulls is keep the trainers busy and contribute minimal offense.
Hamilton averaged over 17 points per game for ten consecutive seasons before 2010-2011, when his average dropped to 14.1 as his role with Detroit was revised from top option to role player, leading them to waive him. The Bulls were quick to claim Hamilton and promptly signed him to a three-year, $15 million contract, despite injuries keeping Hamilton off the court during his last couple years with the Pistons.
The risk hasn’t been rewarded well for the Bulls. In two seasons, Hamilton has only played in 73 total games and has averaged just 10.8 points, two rebounds and 2.6 assists. This isn’t quite what you would expect from a starter making $5 million per season.
Hamilton isn’t a very good defender or playmaker, so if he isn’t scoring in bunches then his value on the court is virtually non-existent. The Bulls have a couple better options at the two guard position in Marco Belinelli and Jimmy Butler, which explains why Hamilton is playing less than 25 minutes a game despite starting every one he has appeared in.
Whether or not Hamilton will be on the roster next season remains to be seen. Only $1 million of his salary for next season is guaranteed, so the Bulls mat be better off taking the hit and releasing him to open a roster spot for a younger replacement. While Hamilton has had a nice career, at 35 and oft-injured it may be time for him to consider calling it quits.