DEERFIELD, Ill. -- New Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton carefully sidestepped questions regarding problems he had off the court with then-Detroit coach John Kuester, including a reported player boycott of practice led by him.
"I never had an issue with coach Kuester," said Hamilton, who signed with the Bulls as a free agent on Wednesday. "If you look in the media, you never heard a comment come out of my mouth and you never heard a comment come out of his mouth."
The Pistons waived Hamilton, 33, on Monday after nine seasons in Detroit.
Bulls general manager Gar Forman said the team spoke to as many people as possible about Hamilton, who averaged 14.1 points last season, his lowest output since his rookie year.
"That's our job, to have a feel with what's going on with different situations around the league," Forman said. "We talked to a number of people who have been involved with Rip through the years so we feel we have a pretty good sense of who he is. We obviously had conversations with Rip and got his perspective on some things. We explained where we're at, and what we're about and obviously he was real excited to be part of what we're doing."
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said frankly that he was not yet able to form an opinion of Hamilton.
"I don't think you ever know somebody until you coach him," Thibodeau said. "That's been my experience in the league. Sometimes guys get reputations and then once you have an opportunity to be around them you find that it's not true. I think we have a great environment here. He's played for a lot of tough coaches and has had a lot of success, so I don't foresee any problems."
Pressed again on the matter, Thibodeau said, "That's Detroit. I'm not concerned with that at all. I worry about him with us. He comes here with a clean slate so whatever happens here, that's how I'll judge him."
Hamilton was positive about his first impressions of Thibodeau.
"He's good," Hamilton said. "First day, he's a guy who's really upfront with his players and gives his guys the freedom to go out there and do things. He keeps guys accountable. That's one of the things I love. You want somebody who keeps everybody on the floor accountable."