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Brewer looks to start for Bulls

CHICAGO -- Ronnie Brewer was searching for the right fit in free agency, and part of that equation revolved around a chance to start.

Brewer was asked Monday on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000 if he signed with the Chicago Bulls with the understanding that he would be the starting shooting guard.

"Yeah, from what I've heard so far," he said. "I don't think that anything is given to anybody, and you can't just be like, 'Hey I'm the starter.'''

"But I feel like when training camp comes, you have to go earn that spot, and that's the mindset I'm going in with, that that's my spot."

Brewer turned down a potential sign-and-trade with Boston for a three-year, $12.5 million deal last week. The third year with the Bulls is not guaranteed.

The Bulls had offered Orlando guard J.J. Redick a three-year, $19 million deal, but the Magic matched, and the Bulls shifted their attention to Brewer.

The starting backcourt spot on the Bulls became open when the Bulls traded Kirk Hinrich to the Washington Wizards to create cap space to pursue two elite free agents. But when LeBron James and Chris Bosh decided to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, the space went to Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver and now Brewer. All three were former teammates with the Utah Jazz, although Brewer finished last season in Memphis.

Brewer, whose father Ron briefly played with Chicago near the end of his career in the 1985-86 season, said he received a recruiting pitch about the Bulls and new head coach Tom Thibodeau from his former Utah teammates.

"He's a defensive-minded coach, and I feel like defense wins championships," Brewer said. "And once Kyle and Boozer signed, they were texting me and recruiting me to be part of something special.

"And I looked at the pieces on the team, and I felt like if I came in here and I brought my services up here that we could do something and make some noise in the Eastern Conference."

Brewer also is excited about the opportunity to play alongside Derrick Rose.

"I know he can elevate my game and elevate this team to a place it hasn't been in a long time," Brewer said.

Brewer has averaged 10.3 points in four seasons -- almost all with Utah. He got dealt to Memphis at the trade deadline last February and appeared in only five games the rest of the way because of a strained hamstring and the fact that the Grizzlies were out of contention.

"My hamstring's been fine for a long time," Brewer said. "Toward the end of the season, I was healthy and ready to play. The circumstances in Memphis, we weren't going to make the playoffs so they kind of held me out. I've been healthy for quite some time."

He underwent an MRI and various strength tests before signing his contract on Monday, delaying his introductory news conference by about 2½ hours, and has been working out all summer. He hasn't been playing in as many pickup games because he didn't want an injury to jeopardize a potential deal. Instead, he's been focusing more on individual drills, with an eye on one goal.

He sees championship potential in Chicago. And he's conceding nothing to the Heat.

"Just because those guys went down there, you can't crown them as champs already," Brewer said.

The Associated Press contributed information to this report.