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Korver: Bulls are good fit

CHICAGO -- The thought of wearing a Bulls uniform, the same one worn by Michael Jordan, wouldn't have carried much weight with a young Kyle Korver.

"I thought Michael Jordan was selfish, and I hated the Bulls growing up," Korver said. "I was a Lakers fan. Because I was actually born in L.A., so showtime basketball, that's what I grew up watching. As I got older and worked harder at my game, I came to respect Michael's game that much more, obviously. And this is really cool standing here with the Bulls uniform. I've played on a couple different teams in my career, but the Bulls, that's pretty serious stuff, it's pretty cool."

Korver made it official on Tuesday, signing with the team he despised as a kid, but one that became the most attractive for its familiarity.
The combination of playing with his former Utah Jazz teammate Carlos Boozer and returning to the Midwest, just a few hours from family, made the decision easy for the Pella, Iowa native.

"There were several teams that called but in the end this was just such a good fit for me in terms of the pieces they already have and some of the things I might bring to the table," Korver said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "It just seemed like a really good fit. It's the Midwest again, about a five-and-a-half-hour drive from my folks. There were just a lot of really good things about the Bulls."

And playing with Derrick Rose, another elite point guard -- after spending the past two-plus seasons with Deron Williams in Utah -- was intriguing for the seven-year veteran.

"I know in playing against [Rose] the last couple years, when he would take those three back pedals and then have that high screen and just come at you full speed, he was really hard to guard," Korver said. "Obviously, there usually needs to be two or three different guys guarding him, and hopefully that opens up looks for me. If guys want to stay closer to me, he's going to be able to drive all the way to the basket, so I think it's a really good fit."

The 6-foot-7 Korver, a career 41 percent three-point shooter, is coming off a historic shooting season when he hit 53.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, an NBA record.

Korver said getting healthy was key to his record-setting season. He sat out the last eight games of the 2006-07 season with the Philadelphia 76ers because of a wrist injury. The wrist healed on its own that summer but he said it never felt right.

"Then two years ago I fell on it the first game of the season and just played on a bad wrist the whole year," Korver said. "I had surgery on it that summer, and when I came back from that surgery and I shot a couple shots I was just like 'Oh, this is nice. It feels so much better.' Your desire to be in a gym and shoot was just at an all-time high.

"In Utah with Booze I got a lot of really good looks. Coach [Jerry] Sloan didn't really want me to take a whole lot of bad 3s so the ones I took were usually fairly open, and I was just able to have a good year."

Korver is the Bulls' second significant free-agent acquisition, along with Boozer, to sign with Chicago after the the team's unsuccessful pursuit of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Boozer joins Joakim Noah in a frontcourt that figures to dominate on the glass and should take some pressure off 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."

One warning.

"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. More outside shooting help could be on the way for the Bulls, who signed restricted free agent J.J. Redick to a three-year, $20 million offer sheet. Orlando has until Friday to match the offer.

"[Korver] 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.

For now, Korver figures to be the Bulls' starting shooting guard but that could change if Redick comes to Chicago. That's OK with Korver, who has started and come off the bench during his career.

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.

"We haven't really talked anything about that, and it doesn't matter to me to be honest," Korver said. "I would love to be out there in the fourth quarter, that's all that really matters to me. If there's a big 3 at the end of the game I would love to be taking it."

And he loves the idea of playing for the franchise that Jordan led to six championships, even if he hated him as a youngster.

"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.'"

As Korver approached, Jordan broke from a conversation and gave him a hug and asked, "What's up, KK?"

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.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.