Korver sees Bulls as right fit
Of course, he felt that way growing up.
Now, he thinks Chicago’s the perfect fit.
Korver agreed to leave the Utah Jazz and follow teammate Carlos Boozer to Chicago for a reported three-year, $15 million deal last week, giving the Bulls the shooter they needed. It didn’t take him long to raise a few eyebrows at his introductory news conference on Tuesday.
He said he thought Jordan was “selfish,” and he “hated” the Bulls growing up in Los Angeles and then Iowa. That changed over time, and now, he thinks Chicago “is the best fit for me.”
Korver joins a team that’s looking for more after back-to-back first-round playoff exits. The Bulls were unable to reel in top prizes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh _ who decided to unite in Miami _ despite clearing enough cap room to lure two free-agent stars. They did not come away empty-handed in a loaded market.
Their big catch was Boozer, the two-time All-Star and powerhouse inside presence they’ve lacked for years. He joins Joakim Noah in a frontcourt that figures to dominate on the glass and should take some pressure off All-Star point guard Derrick Rose while giving him a good pick-and-roll partner.
“There’s a real science to pick-and-roll basketball, and he does a great job of setting that screen, releasing and finishing,” Korver said of Boozer. “He’s almost a better finisher with his left hand than his right. There’s lots of games where he goes 13 for 15 from the field.”
“He’s very physical,” Korver said. “He does those little fouls that sometimes they get called, sometimes they don’t, but he’ll just break your back or break your arm. It’s practice, we’re like, ‘C’mon, Booze.’ But he’s a really good player. He’s going to fit in really well here.”
As for Korver, he gives Chicago much-needed help on the perimeter after the Bulls shot 33 percent on 3-pointers and ranked 28th overall last season. A career 41-percent 3-point shooter, he set an NBA record by converting 53.6 percent last season and broke former Bull Steve Kerr’s mark of 52.4 in 1994-95 after undergoing wrist surgery.
“He is without question if not the best shooter in the NBA, he is one of the best shooters in the NBA,” general manager Gar Forman said.
Whether Korver starts or comes off the bench likely depends on who else the Bulls acquire.
They were still waiting to find out if Orlando would match the three-year $19 million offer sheet they extended to restricted free agent J.J. Redick on Friday. The Magic had a week to decide.
The Bulls’ chances seemed to increase on Monday when Orlando agreed to a deal with Quentin Richardson. Whether that means the end for Redick there was unclear, although it almost certainly means the Magic won’t bring back free agent small forward Matt Barnes _ a possible Chicago target.
“You put me and him on the wings, there’s going to be a whole lot of room to operate in the middle,” said Korver, who’s also trying to lure former Jazz teammate Ronnie Brewer, a restricted free agent with Memphis. “I would love to have J.J. here.”
And he loves the idea of playing for the franchise that Jordan led to six championships, even if he hated him as a youngster. The son of a pastor and one of four children, Korver spent his first 12 years in Los Angeles rooting for the “Showtime” Lakers before his family moved to Iowa.
“We didn’t have any money growing up, so all we’d do is watch Lakers games,” he said.
That meant rooting against the Bulls. His feelings for Jordan changed, and he finally met the legend.
“It was the All-Star break, and the All-Star game was in Denver that year. He had a party that year, and we kind of got up there and saw him in a corner. I was just like, ‘That’s Michael Jordan,’” he said in a whisper. “There was a bathroom on the side. I said, ‘I’m going to go to the bathroom.’”
In a mock squeal, Korver said, “He noticed my name.”
“To have your name on the back of a Bulls jersey is a really cool feeling,” he said.
The Bulls also signed center signed center Omer Asik, a two-time Turkish League All-Star, on Tuesday. Originally drafted by Portland in the second round in 2008, Chicago acquired his rights in a trade that night that included Denver.