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Rip Hamilton returns right before his exit


As shocked as we may have been in Rip Hamilton's 35 minute, 15 point game in the Bulls finale, he was as well:

It's crazy because playing 19 straight minutes, I haven't done that all season. Playing in the fourth quarter, I haven't done that all season. But it's just one of those things, where you've just got to deal with it. You've just got to be able to respond.
I was just like dumbfounded about the situation. But [my teammates] kept me going. They kept me positive.

Rip shows some lack of self-awareness here and throughout the whole string of quotes. Maybe he's being genuinely honest and really doesn't understand that his lack of playing time was partially because he was hurt all the damned time and it'll be really tough for him to both get 'another 2 year deal' or play until '40'.

He does likely understand that the Bulls will buy him out, his contract for next season being only $1m guaranteed of $5m total. The Bulls could use that contract during draft night (though not during free agency due to the timing of the option) to trade him to a team looking to cut salary. But the Bulls are looking to cut salary, so that seems unlikely.

So it was a fairly decent farewell for a guy who was brought here to be a 'missing piece' on a team that then just kept missing more pieces. Though Hamilton didn't play great and Wade took advantage of him in the 4th, still a fine effort from him coming after a lengthy run of DNPs and some time in game 4. He even exposed some issues with Miami, namely that Ray Allen can truly not guard anyone at this moment.

And at least Rip showed he's not worse than Daequan Cook, and that Thibodeau erred in having Cook ahead of him in the rotation. Don't think it would've mattered in the least if Rip played more this series, but it's notable that he didn't. I thought it was originally health that kept Rip on the bench, but it looks to have been something else. Despite Rip's and others protestations to the contrary, maybe he really wasn't that great of a locker room presence and Thibodeau (like any coach) adjusted the playing time for the good of team chemistry? Or maybe Thibodeau is capable of actual boring tactical errors once in a great while.