For the second time in three years, an NBA team is paying Richard Hamilton to go away.
The Pistons’ cap obligation to pay Hamilton a $14.5 million buyout over the last two seasons just ended, but now the Bulls will pay Hamilton $1 million not to play for them next season.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:
Hamilton’s contract doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 11, so the Bulls will waive him sometime before that. They already have his replacement, Mike Dunleavy. Waiting could allow Chicago a chance to use Hamilton in a trade, but it’s still likely the team acquiring Hamilton would also buy him out for $1 million rather than pay $5 million to keep him.
In two seasons with the Bulls, the 35-year-old Hamilton struggled to stay healthy, but that’s often what happens with players his age. Hamilton is clearly declining.
The Pistons wanted him to be one of their top players, but he could no longer handle that. The Bulls wanted him to be their starting shooting guard, but he could no longer handle that. Hamilton, 35, is only getting older, so expectations must be even further lowered.
Hamilton scored 11 and 15 points in the last two games of Chicago’s season-ending series loss to the Heat. There are signs he can still help a contender – as long as both sides realize Hamilton can no longer fill a major role.