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The Early Lead
Posted at 10:26 AM ET, 12/15/2011

Richard Hamilton gives Bulls, Derrick Rose more firepower

The Chicago Bulls may have the best young star in the NBA, but for them to get back to the NBA Finals for the first time since Michael Jordan‘s last go-round, they needed to get him some help.


The masked man is on his way to Chi-Town. (Duane Burleson - AP)
It appears reigning MVP Derrick Rose got his wish.

On Wednesday night the Bulls announced the signing of recently-waived shooting guard Richard Hamilton — a move that won’t steal any headlines away from Chris Paul’s move to L.A., but one that significantly upgrades the offensive prowess of Chicago’s backcourt and will bolster the Bulls’ efforts to move up the ladder in the increasingly competitive Eastern Conference.

“With him, I’m going to have a lot more assists this year,” an ecstatic Rose said.

A person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press Hamilton’s contract is worth $15 million over three years, although the terms have not been released.

Hamilton was a cornerstone on the Detroit Pistons for nine seasons, helping the team to the 2004 NBA championship. In 55 games last season he averaged 14.1 points per game — his lowest output since his rookie season — with 2.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He also shot 38 percent from three-point range.

At age 33, it’s unclear how much Hamilton has left in the tank, but the 6-foot-7 guard can still score, and his experience leading the Pistons to six straight conference finals should help a young Bulls roster make another deep postseason run.

“Rip has been a winner at every level,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said. “His resume speaks for itself, and we are confident that he will be an excellent fit with our team, both on and off the floor.”

The Pistons bought out the final two years of Hamilton’s contract for $11 million, in order to free up a total of $8 million in cap space over the next two seasons.

Hamilton had one final message for Pistons fans last week as he cleaned out his locker.

More from Washington Post Sports:

Bulls boost backcourt with signing of veteran Hamilton

Early Lead: Chris Paul trade makes Clippers worth rival for Lakers

Pistons waive guard Richard Hamilton

By  |  10:26 AM ET, 12/15/2011

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