Former Piston Rip Hamilton has missed two straight games for the Bulls with a groin strain. I wonder if he has any motivation to return to the lineup tonight at the Palace?
Hamilton, if he plays, will likely get a warm reception from the crowd (and deservedly so … despite the rocky ending, times with him on the team were more good than bad) as other former Pistons like Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace received when they returned. Ben Wallace’s first return with the Bulls was more mixed, but the circumstances around him leaving were also different.
Hamilton’s former teammates talked to the media about seeing Hamilton in a different uniform. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
“It’s gonna be weird,” Wallace said after Monday night’s victory over the Magic. “But for the most part I’m just happy that he’s happy where he’s at. Anytime you see a guy move on that, I feel like he was not only a good teammate, he was one of my brothers.”
The lone key member of the 2004 title team that hasn’t worn an opposing jersey has seen it for everyone else: Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, and now, Hamilton.
“It won’t be hard, I’ve had the situation with Chauncey, with Ben, with ‘Sheed,” Prince said. “It wasn’t something I planned on seeing.”
And Ellis also has a great column — go read the entire thing — on Hamilton’s anger at the front office, which he feels disrespected him:
When it became apparent that the Pistons were seeking to move Hamilton as well, it was almost as if Hamilton moved on to his next team mentally — although it took two more seasons for it to actually happen.
In Hamilton’s mind, he sees himself as one of the best shooting guards in the game. So how could the Pistons ever be so disrespectful to a franchise cornerstone?
Hamilton is averaging 12 points per game and shooting 43 percent for the Bulls. Should be interesting tonight.