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Bulls trade Kyle Korver to Hawks through Timberwolves

Limited by injuries bench role shooting specialist Kyle Korver nonetheless calls his two seasons with Bulls “special.’’ | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Limited by injuries and a bench role, shooting specialist Kyle Korver nonetheless calls his two seasons with the Bulls “special.’’ | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 15, 2012 6:11AM

When three-point specialist Kyle Korver had his exit interview with Gar Forman, he told the Bulls general manager he never had been on a team that so embraced the common purpose of winning an NBA title.

He can only hope there’s similar chemistry in Atlanta after the Bulls traded Korver to the Hawks on Friday by way of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The deal is contingent on Korver passing a physical with the Hawks on Saturday.

“That was a very special team the last couple years, a great group of guys,’’ Korver said. ‘‘Like I said before, it’s pretty cool to put on a Bulls uniform. It’s a great town, and my wife and I made so many friends there. I have great memories. It was a great experience for me.’’

The Bulls will receive a second-round draft pick from the Timberwolves for Korver, who was a key member of the Bench Mob during his two seasons in Chicago. The deal means the Bulls don’t have to pay the $500,000 it would have cost to waive the former Creighton star.

The Bulls had until Sunday to pick up the $5 million team option on Korver, who said he’ll miss playing with Derrick Rose.

‘‘Derrick is a special player,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s only one Derrick Rose out there. He’s a really good guy, an incredibly hard worker, an incredible talent. I’ve said it so may times the last couple years: I’ve sat at my locker after games and said I’m so glad he’s on my team. Now he’s not on my team. Bummer.’’

Korver appeared in 65 games last season and averaged 8.1 points. He was slowed by hip and knee injuries late in the season and reaggravated an old stress fracture in his foot in the second-to-last regular-season game. That contributed to him averaging only 3.8 points in 15.7 minutes in six playoff games.

In the Bulls’ season-ending loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in
Game 6 of the teams’ first-round series, Korver played only five minutes and didn’t attempt a shot.

‘‘That’s life sometimes,’’ he said. ‘‘You have this whole thing lined up. We really thought we had it this year. We all really believed. We treated the season like we believed. Some things you can’t control. It happens. It’s a tough day, but at the end of the day, I felt like I left it all out there, and that’s all you can ask for.’’

Korver played primarily off the bench during his two seasons with the Bulls. He often was the focus of opposing defenses because he was the best shooter on the floor. Korver might have been more effective had he played with Rose more because Rose’s penetrating style could have created more kick-out opportunities and wide-open looks. On the second team, he often had to come off screens to get a quick shot.

‘‘We won the most games in the NBA two years in a row,’’ Korver said. ‘‘It’s hard to say I should’ve had more opportunities. [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] wants to win games. He puts a lineup out there that he thinks will win. It’s hard for me to argue. 

‘‘I grew as a player. He’s a great coach. He works incredibly hard.’’

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