Former Jazz shooting guard ticketed for starting slot with Rose
It seems fitting that the cavalcade of departed shooting guards that began with the Bulls
' trade of Thabo Sefolosha
may have ended with the arrival of Ronnie Brewer, who signed a three-year, $12.5 million deal Friday to be penciled in as a starter.
That's because in 2006, Bulls management also liked Brewer before drafting Sefolosha.
"(General manager Gar Forman) scouted him a lot," said Henry Thomas, Brewer's Chicago-based representative. "This is a great opportunity for him. He can help the Bulls at both ends."
Brewer never will possess the scoring ability of Ben Gordon
, who walked as a free agent last summer. He's not as accomplished as John Salmons, whom the Bulls traded in February to assure maximum salary-cap space.
And the consistent leadership and gritty defensive play of Kirk Hinrich
, whom the Bulls peddled on draft night to go all in for $32 million of cap space, won't be duplicated easily.
But on a day when the Magic officially matched the Bulls' three-year, $20 million offer to restricted free agent J.J. Redick
, the quiet confidence of the 6-foot-7 Brewer, 25, came through loud and clear in a phone interview.
"Not to be cocky or anything, but I feel I can elevate my game to whatever coach (Tom) Thibodeau needs," Brewer said. "If he wants me to rebound and push the ball, I'm comfortable in that role. I can initiate offense as I did in Arkansas and a little in Utah.
"I let the game come to me. I don't try to force things. But if there are times (Derrick) Rose doesn't want to handle the ball, I can. And I'm also playing comfortable playing off him. I think we will complement each other very well."
Brewer's arrival fulfills Kyle Korver
's crack that the Bulls will become the Chicago Jazz. But given that Carlos Boozer, Korver and Brewer played important roles in Jazz playoff games, the Bulls added solid experience and depth after missing out on LeBron James
and Dwyane Wade
Brewer, by the way, will be guarding Wade.
"When I was in Utah, I excelled as a defender but we had a center (Mehmet Okur
) who was a great player but didn't block shots," Brewer said. "So I was a little reluctant to be as aggressive because you didn't want your man to get an easy layup.
"With guys like (Joakim) Noah and (Taj) Gibson and Boozer, I can be even more aggressive. I can play the passing lanes more. I think we can be a really good defensive team."
As for offense, Brewer has averaged 10.3 points on 49.5 percent shooting in four seasons. He's not a 3-point shooter at a career 24.3 percent, but that's Korver's role.
Brewer, whose third year is not guaranteed, said he turned down interest from the Celtics
for the chance to start, the young core, Thibodeau and management. He said he has recovered fully from the hamstring injury that ended his season just five games after the Jazz traded him to the Grizzlies in a cap move.
Brewer will undergo his physical this weekend and be introduced at a Monday news conference at the United Center
"This team fits my style," Brewer said. "I think we'll defend, rebound and get on the break. I think I thrive in those situations."
The Bulls now have nine players under contract and roughly $7.8 million of cap space left. They remain in discussions with Brad Miller and Kurt Thomas
for big-man depth and have had talks about Rafer Alston
and Jason Williams as a backup point guard.