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Kyle Korver in limbo while Bulls decide whether to pick up option

Kyle Korver says hip knee foot injuries limited him Bulls’ playoff series against 76ers. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Kyle Korver says hip, knee and foot injuries limited him in the Bulls’ playoff series against the 76ers. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: August 3, 2012 6:23AM



Kyle Korver wants to return to the Bulls. The Bulls could use Korver’s three-point shooting, but it’s not that simple.

The new collective-bargaining agreement might end up crashing what would seem to be a logical reunion.

The Bulls have until July 10 to pick up Korver’s $5 million option for next season. Korver sounds hopeful one minute, then talks about the Bulls in the past tense the next.

‘‘I’ve never been around a team where . . . everybody came every day and gave it their all and was dedicated to winning a championship,’’ he said. ‘‘We had the mind-set that no matter what happens with Derrick [Rose], we’re going to get the best seed. Then Derrick will come back, and we’ll be on our way.’’

But Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first game of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then Joakim Noah went down later in the series. You know the rest.

Korver wasn’t himself against the 76ers, either. Not only was he slowed by hip and knee injuries, but he aggravated an old stress fracture in his foot in the second-to-last regular-season game against the Indiana Pacers. He’s still a couple of weeks away from being healthy enough to start his offseason workout regimen.

‘‘My foot is getting there,’’ he said. ‘‘That was a tough one. It definitely made some things harder to do.’’

General manager Gar Forman has said the Bulls will be making basketball decisions, not financial ones, this offseason. But the luxury tax is more punitive under the new CBA, and the Bulls might choose not to exceed it during a season when it’s unlikely they will compete for a championship with Rose recovering from surgery.

How teams react to the new tax adds more uncertainty to the most uncertain month of the year for players such as Korver.

‘‘I understand I’m never going to be a superstar, but I like to think superstars need guys like me and I need superstars,’’ Korver said. ‘‘I want to play on good teams. At the same time, there is the business side.’’

Korver loves playing with Rose, whom he calls a rare superstar because of his team-first attitude and humble nature. He wonders if the new CBA will create more of a class system, with superstar players continuing to cash in and role players making less and less.

‘‘If you have superstar players making that much more and you surround them with minimum guys, does that change the dynamics?’’ Korver asked.

‘‘That’s what I loved about our team: It didn’t matter who made how much money. If you performed, you were on the floor. The team respected that. It was all about winnning a championship.

‘‘Money is such a big factor on a team. People look at stats and potential, but our chemistry was incredible, and we ended up with the best record. That chemistry got us the No. 1 seed. It will be interesting to see if that changes.’’

Korver said there will be no hard feelings if things don’t work out.

‘‘Regardless of what happens, to put on a Bulls jersey is, I think, really cool,’’ he said.

NOTE: Multiple sources said the Houston Rockets are expected to sign Bulls backup center Omer Asik to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet that would pay him a whopping $15 million in the third year.

If the Bulls decide to match the offer, it virtually would guarantee they would have to seek amnesty on the rest of forward Carlos Boozer’s contract after the 2013-14 season.

The Bulls will have three days to match once Asik signs the offer sheet.



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