March 11, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich (6) dribbles the ball against the Sacramento Kings in the second quarter at the Power Balance Pavilion. The Hawks defeated the Kings 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
Kirk Hinrich is no rookie when it comes to trade rumors at the deadline. The 11-year veteran has been a part of trade speculation for the last four seasons. Last season Atlanta picked him up from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Mike Bibby in a deal that also included Jordan Crawford, Mo Evans and a first-round pick.
This season Hinrich's name has once again come up thanks in large part to Jeff Teague's elevation to the starting point guard position and the $8 million expiring price tag on his contract. With the Hawks slightly over the luxury tax line, shedding Hinrich's contract would be one way for them to get way under. Rumors have teams like the Lakers and others interested but things have seemed to quiet down with most of the talk about the Hawks now surrounding Josh Smith.
Even with a reduced role with the Hawks this season, Hinrich isn't in any hurry to leave. He told the AJC's Michael Cunningham last week that he "likes" this Hawks team and still thinks they can be dangerous come playoff time.
"I like our team," Hinrich said before the Hawks played the Kings late Sunday. "I feel like we can be a dangerous team come playoff time. I want to be a part of that."
For his career, Hinrich is averaging 33 minutes per game. This season that has plummeted to 21.1 although offseason shoulder surgery played a big part in that decline. Hinrich struggled mightily once he returned to action but has shown signs lately of coming around most recently scoring 12 points on 5-10 shooting while playing over 42 minutes against the Sacramento Kings.
One thing that works in Hinrich's favor to remain with the club is his ability to swing between both starting guard positions. Atlanta is in good shape at the point guard position with both Jeff Teague and Jannero Pargo but have seen a rash of injuries at the two guard position. Joe Johnson just returned from missing four games with knee tendinitis and Willie Green has missed the last six games with a back injury. That may be enough to keep Hinrich in Atlanta for the remainder of the season despite the team's luxury tax situation.