Ronnie Brewer fond of time with Bulls

CHICAGO -- Former Chicago Bull Ronnie Brewer returned to the United Center with the New York Knicks on Saturday and spoke fondly of his time in Chicago and had no hard feelings for being let go.

Brewer played two seasons for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and was a key member of the “Bench Mob.” After last season, Bulls management decided not to pick up Brewer's option. He later signed with the Knicks.

“If you get caught up in feelings in the NBA, you’re going to have an up-and-down life,” Brewer said prior to Saturday’s game. “It’s part of the business, part of the game.

“I wish we could have kept it together. It was fun out there, great atmosphere here when we had the ‘Bench Mob’ going. There’s a time everything has to come to an end.”

There was one aspect of playing for the Bulls that Brewer didn’t reminisce about.

“I know I don’t miss Thibs’ practices, for sure,” said Brewer, who said he keeps in touch with his former teammates and coaches. “But the city was great, the fans were great, my teammates were amazing. I don’t really have anything negative to say about Chicago. My time here was great. I’m looking forward to playing (Saturday) and should be a really good game.”

Brewer was a key part to the Bulls’ success, and now the Knicks are benefitting from his play. He’s been a starter all season and has averaged 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 18 games.

“Ronnie's big time,” Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said. “Defensively, he's another smart player we have on the court, another guy who knows how to play the game. He plays games within the game -- a lot of times we're feeding off of him on the defensive end, too.”

And just like last season, Brewer is again with a team that stands atop the Eastern Conference. The Knicks have built a 14-4 record to start the year and are 1 ½ games up on the Miami Heat. The Bulls, who are 10-8, are four games back of New York.

Brewer thought there were a number of similarities between the past Bulls teams and the current Knicks. He did laugh when someone asked if he was the reason both teams won.

“Not at all,” Brewer said. “I’ve been fortunate to play with some really great guys here. The common denominator -- Thibs is a great coach, (Knicks coach Mike Woodson’s) a great coach. You have a MVP candidate in (Derrick Rose), Carmelo (Anthony).

“Tyson’s (Chandler) playing really great defense, Joakim’s (Noah) playing really great defense, Luol Deng’s playing really great defense. It’s a number of things similar on both teams, but it’s the same solution. You defend, you rebound, low turnovers, you’re going to be in a lot of NBA games.”

Brewer said he still keeps a close eye on the Bulls and believes they are still a top team even without Rose.

“I don’t think they had the start they wanted, but that happens when you have a revamped roster,” Brewer said. “But with Thibs coaching the team, you knew sooner or later they were going to click, start defending liked they needed to, rebounding and just get the chemistry back going again

“They’re still a dangerous team with or without (Rose). I can’t say you want to face them without Derrick Rose because they’re still a dangerous team.”