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Another former Utah fixture joins Chicago’s upgrade

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    Guard Ronnie Brewer held up his new Bulls jersey. Brewer joins former Utah Jazz teammates Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver in Chicago.
    Rich Cho smiled while being introduced as the Trail Blazers' new GM.

CHICAGO » Ronnie Brewer saw a perfect opportunity with the jazzed-up Bulls.

With a chance to start in the backcourt and reunite with former Utah teammates Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver, Brewer decided Chicago was the place for him. So he turned down a potential sign-and-trade with Boston for a three-year, $12.5 million deal last week.

He joins a team that’s looking for more after consecutive first-round playoff losses, and he believes the Bulls’ best days are coming.

"They’ve had some success, but I feel like this team hasn’t really scratched the surface of the success that we’ll have in the future," he said.

Brewer sees "a great young core group of guys" that includes All-Star point guard Derrick Rose and top-tier rebounder Joakim Noah. And he believes with the Utah contingent in place, the Bulls "can go a long way."

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.

Cho named Blazers GM

Rich Cho, who spent nine seasons as an assistant general manager with the Oklahoma City Thunder, was introduced as the Portland Trail Blazers’ new general manager yesterday.

He replaces Kevin Pritchard, who helped usher the team out of the Jail Blazers era several years ago but was ultimately dismissed last month, on the day of the NBA Draft.

Cho, a Northwest native, said, "Character, teamwork and accountability will be three of our core values."

The Blazers also considered former Cleveland GM Danny Ferry and former Miami GM Randy Pfund before settling on Cho, 44, who joined the Thunder as an intern when the franchise was based in Seattle.

Cho interviewed with Blazers owner Paul Allen, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, last week in Helsinki, Finland.

With a law degree and also a background in engineering, Cho has gained a reputation for his expertise with the salary cap and the collective bargaining agreement. He’s also got scouting experience.

Nowitzki signs for $80M

Nine-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki signed his new contract with the Dallas Mavericks yesterday.

Team officials released no terms of the deal. However, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press when the agreement was reached earlier this month that the deal is for more than $80 million over four years, with a no-trade clause.

At 32, Nowitzki opted out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time, but he didn’t talk seriously with any other teams.

The 12-year NBA veteran has averaged 22.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, one block and 36.7 minutes in 920 career games.

Barnes headed to Toronto

Free-agent forward Matt Barnes wrote on his Twitter page yesterday that he has decided to play for the Toronto Raptors next season.

Barnes started 58 games for the Orlando Magic, helping them reach the Eastern Conference finals. The well-traveled swingman will be joining his eighth NBA team. He has averaged 7.3 points, with a career high of 10.2 for Phoenix during the 2008-09 season.

Watson goes to Bulls

The Golden State Warriors reached an agreement to send restricted free-agent point guard C.J. Watson to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a 2011 second-round draft pick, multiple team sources told Bay Area News Group yesterday.

Watson signed a two-year, $7 million deal with the Warriors, who then traded him to the Bulls, according to one source. Watson is expected to back up Chicago All-Star point guard Derrick Rose and shore up the Bulls bench.

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