DEERFIELD – The Bulls signed free-agent forward Mike Dunleavy to a two-year deal Wednesday, looking to improve their outside shooting.
Dunleavy agreed to terms July 1, the first day of the free-agent negotiating period. He averaged 10.5 points last season for the Milwaukee Bucks and shot 42.8 percent from 3-point range.
The Bulls finished 20th in the league in 3-point percentage last season, and Dunleavy’s accuracy has improved in recent years.
“I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a better shooter,” Dunleavy said at the Bulls’ practice facility. “That’s just with practice, knowing how to get your shots a little bit better, taking good shots. Hopefully, that trend continues to move forward. I think with this team, the way guys pass and move the ball, hopefully, I’ll get even more looks.”
The 6-foot-9 Dunleavy is entering his 12th NBA season. He was the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2002 by Golden State and also played for Indiana before spending the past two seasons in Milwaukee.
“We are extremely excited to add Mike to our team,” Bulls general manager Gar Forman said in a statement. “He was a priority for us from the second free agency began and we feel he will be a terrific fit for us, both on and off the floor.”
Dunleavy said he missed Forman’s initial phone call July 1 because he was changing his son’s diaper, but quickly got in touch and the process moved quickly from there. Dunleavy also spoke to coach Tom Thibodeau on the first day of free-agency and feels he’ll fit in with the Bulls’ defensive style.
“I don’t foresee a big adjustment, because I know the way they play,” Dunleavy said. “I watched a lot of their games, played against them a lot. It’s a lot of the basic fundamentals. They just do it better than everybody else. I expect to fit right in.”
The 33-year-old Dunleavy has never played for an NBA team that posted a winning record. He’s made the playoffs twice as a No. 8 seed, with Indiana in 2011 and Milwaukee in 2013. Both teams lost in the first round.
By joining the Bulls, Dunleavy will reunite with Carlos Boozer, a college teammate on the Duke team that won the 2001 NCAA championship. Dunleavy will wear No. 34 with the Bulls.
“I’m comfortable with the career I’ve had, but with me, it’s all about winning,” Dunleavy said. “So this is a major priority for me to be on a team like this that has a chance to win, certainly what I was looking for.
“Coming from a college at Duke where every night you go out and expect to win every single game, I’ve been in the pros 11 years and been through a lot of mediocrity. So being part of this is special. I don’t take it for granted.”