Korver addresses Bulls’ need for perimeter help


Jul 13

Given Kyle Korver’s Midwest roots, having grown up in Pella, Iowa, he must have been a Bulls fan during the team’s dominant run during the 1990s. Right?

“I thought Michael Jordan was selfish and I hated the Bulls growing up,” Korver, 29, said not so jokingly. “I was a Lakers fan. I was actually born in L.A., so ‘Showtime’ basketball is what I grew up watching. As I got older and worked hard at my game, I came to respect Michael’s game that much more obviously.”

The Bulls introduced Korver, who agreed to a reported three-year deal in the vicinity of $15 million on Friday, during a news conference Tuesday at the United Center.

General Manager Gar Forman said that after finishing 29th out of 30 teams in the NBA in three-point shooting last season, finding a perimeter shooter quickly became a priority for the Bulls. The addition of Korver, the NBA’s best long distance shooter during the 2009-10 campaign at 53.6 percent (also an NBA record for highest three-point shooting percentage in a season, eclipsing former Bull Steve Kerr’s mark of .524 in 1994-95), is a good start in doing just that.

More help could be on the way, should the Orlando Magic decide not to match terms for J.J. Redick, who reportedly signed a three-year offer sheet worth around $20 million with the Bulls on Friday.

“The ability to space the floor was very important to us,” said Forman on Tuesday, adding that the Bulls contacted Korver’s agent on the first day of free agency to express the team’s strong interest. Discussions heated up last week, and on Friday, the parties agreed to terms.

“I thought it was the best fit for me,” Korver said of his decision to come to Chicago. “They needed some shooting and I’m very comfortable with [Carlos Boozer]. I really love the direction in which this team is going. I feel like I will fit in really well and I’m excited to be a Bull. There really wasn’t a negative aspect in coming here.”

Having played with the aforementioned Boozer in Utah and sharing the backcourt with another All-Star point guard in Deron Williams, Korver said he looks forward to joining forces with Derrick Rose.

“Playing against him the last couple years, when he would take those three back pedals, take that high screen and come at you full speed, he’s really hard to guard,” said Korver. “Obviously you’ve got to use two or three guys to guard him and hopefully that opens up looks for me. If guys want to stay closer to me, he’s going to drive all the way to the basket. I think it’s a really good fit.”

While Boozer spoke highly of Korver after coming to Chicago and recruited him to join the Bulls, Korver returned the favor on Tuesday.

“He is strong and wide, man. He sets some mean screens,” said Korver. “He’s going to really help Derrick out a lot. He’s a great pick-and-roll player. There’s a real science to pick-and-roll basketball and he does a great job of setting that screen. He’s almost a better finisher with his left hand than his right. There are a lot of games where he goes 13-for-15 from the field. He’s a great rebounder. He plays really hard and he’s very physical.”

So what is next for the Bulls? In the short-term, there are more roster spots to be filled. If Redick ends up staying in Orlando, Korver may have hinted at another option to help out with the shooting guard/small forward positions.

“I was texting Ronnie Brewer earlier,” he said. “We’re trying to start the Chicago Jazz here.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below: