Deal between Bulls, Mike Dunleavy Jr. ‘a great fit’ for both sides
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org July 10, 2013 11:03PM
Mike Dunleavy Jr. couldn’t take Bulls general manager Gar Forman’s call at the start of free agency because he was changing a diaper. Other than that, the timing between the three-point-shooting swingman and the Bulls couldn’t have been any better: He needs them as much as they need him.
The Bulls, who were ranked 21st in the NBA in three-point shooting this past season, were looking for a shooter who can stretch the floor. Dunleavy, who has played in only nine playoff games in 11 NBA seasons and has yet to play on a team that has won more than 38 games during the regular season, was looking for a winning team with a chance to go deep into the postseason.
That’s why the 6-9, 230-pound Dunleavy, who averaged 10.5 points and shot a career-best 42.8 percent from three-point range with the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, turned down more lucrative offers to sign a two-year, $6 million contract with the Bulls.
‘‘At the end of the day, it became a no-brainer for me, especially where I’m at in my career,’’ Dunleavy said Wednesday at the Berto Center. ‘‘I haven’t been on many winning teams, if any. This is a
major priority for me to be on a team like this that has a chance to win. . . . I’ve been in the league 11 years and [have] been through a lot of mediocrity. . . . To be a part of this is special. I don’t take it for granted.’’
Dunleavy played on a state championship team in high school in Portland, Ore., and on an NCAA championship team at Duke. But in four-plus seasons with the Golden State Warriors, who took him with the third overall pick in the 2003 draft, four-plus seasons with the
Indiana Pacers and two seasons with the Bucks, Dunleavy’s teams were a combined 385-499 (.436). His only playoff experience came with the 2010-11 Pacers (who lost 4-1 to the Bulls in the first round) and 2012-13 Bucks (who lost 4-0 to the Miami Heat in the first round).
‘‘I definitely wanted to be on a team that has a chance to play into May and June,’’ he said. ‘‘I think this team, barring injuries and things that happen, will have a chance to do that.’’
The Bulls made a significant push to entice Dunleavy to sign, knowing they couldn’t offer as much money or as many years as other teams. A shooter with Dunleavy’s size and versatility might be a significant upgrade over previous designated shooters the Bulls have had in the Tom Thibodeau era.
‘‘He was a priority for us from the second free agency began,’’ Forman said in a statement. ‘‘We feel he will be a terrific fit for us both on and off the court.’’
Dunleavy, who will turn 33 in September, said he was swayed by the Bulls’ aggressiveness. He agreed to terms before the end of the first day of free agency July 1.
‘‘A lot of teams reach out to you right away, but I just sensed with Chicago it was no-holds barred: ‘We really want you. You’re going to be a great fit,’ ’’ Dunleavy said. ‘‘And I felt the same way. . . . Financial stuff aside, this was the best situation for me. Made my decision easy.’’
NOTES: The Bulls announced the signings of 6-7 guard Tony Snell, their first-round draft pick out of New Mexico, and 6-10 forward Erik Murphy, their second-round pick out of Florida. Both will play for the Bulls’ team in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Its first game is Saturday.
◆ The Bulls announced they had waived guard Richard Hamilton.