- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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Kyle Korver joked during his introductory news conference that the Chicago Bulls were actually trying to become the Chicago Jazz, considering he and Carlos Boozer had already signed with the team and they were trying to recruit their former teammate, Ronnie Brewer.
Now Korver's joke is a reality.
The Bulls agreed to a three-year, $12.5 million deal with Brewer on Friday, and the 25-year-old is expected to become the starting two guard once the regular season rolls around.
After the Orlando Magic announced on Friday morning that they matched the Bulls’ offer sheet to restricted free agent J.J. Redick, going after Brewer was the next best option for Bulls GM Gar Forman. While he is not the type of long distance shooter that Redick is, he will provide his new team with a solid defensive presence and should be able to thrive playing alongside Derrick Rose. Brewer averaged just nine points and three rebounds last season with the Jazz and Grizzlies, but averaged 13.7 points during the 2008-09 campaign.
Brewer's addition was the move Forman had to make, and he had to make it quickly. After failing to land LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and then failing to snag Raja Bell and Redick, there weren't many other options at the shooting guard position. Brewer is young enough to fit in with the rest of the Bulls’ core, and his deal leaves the organization enough flexibility so that when James, Wade, Bosh and other prospective stars become free agents once again down the line, the Bulls will have enough money underneath the cap to go after them one more time. It's clear that Forman and his staff are leaving themselves enough space to do just that. They signed both Korver and Brewer to three-year deals, and it should be noted that the third year of Brewer's deal isn't guaranteed.
The Bulls have more salary cap space to go after whomever they choose on the market. They still need a backup point guard and are certainly exploring various trade scenarios in that regard. They could also sign veterans such as Brad Miller and Matt Barnes, who would provide leadership to a locker room full of younger players.
Even with Brewer's signing, they have enough room under the cap to make an aggressive offer to any player, without having to work out any kind of sign and trade scenario to make it work. That gives them a significant upper hand as we head down the final stretch in one of the most interesting free agency periods in NBA history.