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New addition Kirk Hinrich will give Washington Wizards consistent output
Hinrich also has an Iowa taciturnity about him. When he learned in June that the Bulls had arranged to trade him and the draft rights to Kevin Seraphin to the Wizards for the draft rights to Vladimir Veremeenko, he was less than happy, but the deal wasn't official, so he kept his mouth shut. The deal was completed on July 8, and when the Chicago Tribune finally tracked him down, he said only nice things about the Bulls, who had just dumped him to clear cap space to enter the race for the James-Wade-Bosh trifecta.
"It was a bit of a shock," Hinrich said. "I really didn't see it coming. I know the last couple of seasons my name has been in trade rumors. This one kind of hit us a little bit blindsided. But you know I'm very appreciative of my time in Chicago. They gave me an opportunity to become a pro player and to grow as one."
He's heard a lot of talk about how he mentored Derrick Rose during Rose's rookie season in Chicago, and he's quick to demur, saying that he's getting too much credit and that Rose is simply an incredible talent. He says the same thing about new teammate and No. 1 draft pick John Wall. The Wizards' plan calls for Hinrich to share time in the backcourt with Wall and Gilbert Arenas, whom Hinrich called "one of the toughest guards in the league."
"I know Gilbert and first of all, I feel like he's a top player in the league, no question," said Hinrich, who prefers playing point guard but insists he'll be happy with either role. "I've played against him a lot and I'm looking forward to being on the same side with him. My impression of him is that he's a good kid and we're going to go out there and have a lot of fun."
Hinrich smiled ruefully when talking about Arenas, whom he has good reason to know. The Wizards guard hit the game-winning shot to beat Chicago in Game 5 in the first round of the 2005 playoffs -- right over Hinrich. So the newest Wizard had the best seat in the house for one of the franchise's last happy moments.
He'd like to give Wizards fans some new happy moments. He and wife Jill, whom he has known since his Iowa days, just bought a house in McLean and are preparing to move. "Our family is very excited for the change," he said.
"I don't know exactly what Washington fans [think], how they view me, but I'm excited to get here and let them get to know exactly how I play," Hinrich said. "I'm just really excited to have a fresh start. I'm motivated as a player individually and as a team to bring the excitement back to town."
If Hinrich -- with the help of Wall and the other youngsters -- can do that, then perhaps one day there really will be a Kirk Hinrich Day in Washington.