Thibs happy Rose recruited Hinrich to Bulls

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Tom Thibodeau actually cracked a smile when the topic of Derrick Rose's recruitment of Kirk Hinrich came up Thursday afternoon.

"He did?" Thibodeau said with a chuckle.

Thibodeau, a taskmaster who knows every detail about his team, probably was more relieved than surprised. That's because Rose, who repeatedly stated in the past few years that he would not go out of his way to recruit anyone, admitted during Monday's media day that he talked to Hinirch about coming back to play for the Bulls.

"Kirk is someone I could see playing alongside a long time," Rose said on Monday. "When you're a hooper and you know someone on the court is going into a battle with you, and he's not giving up if he knows you are going to keep battling, and I'm someone that will keep fighting to the end, and he's the same as you. So why not have him on the team? Kirk is the first person I recruited."

Thibodeau was glad to see Rose making a pitch for Hinrich to return to the Bulls.

"I think it's important," Thibodeau said. "They've been friends for a long time. They have a lot of respect for each other so I think it was important to Kirk. But I also think Derrick's leadership has really grown. He's gotten more comfortable, he's been here a long time now. I think he felt it was the natural thing to do."

It also seemed natural to Hinrich, who appreciated the gesture from the former MVP.

"It was really pretty casual," Hinrich said. "I had some questions for him. He just expressed how he'd be excited if it worked out that I came back. He thought I could really help and be a good fit so it was pretty casual like that."

Having been in the NBA for close to a decade, Hinrich realizes the importance of recruiting is higher than it's ever been.

"Kind of the whole Miami putting it together and then with Dwight (Howard) and (Steve) Nash in LA. It seems like it's kind of trending that way," Hinrich said.

Thibodeau, who did some selling of the Bulls to players this summer, believes recruiting has always been a bigger part of the game than many believe.

"I think it's always been like that," Thibodeau said. "I think we have a lot to offer here; the type of city it is, a team with a lot of tradition, and unselfish, hard-playing players. But I think that's always been a big part of the NBA."