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Kragthorpe: Korver could fill Jazz’s shooting needs

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Kurt Kragthorpe

By Kurt Kragthorpe

Tribune Columnist

First published May 14 2012 09:21AM
Updated Jun 8, 2012 03:48PM

The Chicago Bulls’ playoff exit and payroll issues potentially could help solve the Jazz’s outside shooting problem.

Kyle Korver is likely to become available, with the Bulls holding the option for the third year of his contract. The team could exercise the option and trade him, or just let him become a free agent, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Either way, the Jazz should have a shot at bringing back Korver, who played 2 ½ seasons in Utah and twice helped the Jazz reach the Western Conference semifinals.

Coincidentally, ex-Jazz teammate Ronnie Brewer is in a similar contract position with the Bulls. The trouble is Brewer would not provide the outside shooting the Jazz need. Korver would.

Besides being a very popular player - caution to fans: he’s married now - and active in community work in Utah, Korver readily would adapt to any role with the Jazz in a second stint with the team. And the return of Raja Bell worked out well, right?

OK, bad example. But Korver would be different. Complimenting some combination of Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks at small forward and shooting guard, Korver could come off the bench and provide some offense. While he struggled during the Bulls’ loss to Philadelphia in the first round of the playoffs, he had some nice moments during the regular season.

Korver averaged 8.1 points in 22.6 minutes of 65 games, shooting 43 percent both overall and from 3-point range. His best game was a 26-point effort against the Jazz in March in the teams’ only meeting of the season. He made six 3-pointers, which is about a week’s worth for the Jazz.

That performance should resonate with the Jazz, as they seek answers to their shooting deficiency. And if they’re worried about Korver’s defense, it is evident that he’s improved at that end of the floor after two years with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau.

The Bulls have so much money tied up in four players — including Carlos Boozer — that Korver becomes a luxury for them. For the Jazz, he’s a necessity.

kkragthorpe@sltrib.com" target="_blank">class="TEXT_w_Indent">kkragthorpe@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribkurt

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