INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—For sharpshooter Mike Dunleavy, the confines of Bankers Life Fieldhouse are a familiar place.
Having played for the Pacers—and another Central Division team, the Milwaukee Bucks—the Bulls’ free-agent acquisition is familiar with both locker rooms at the arena. Still, even though he’s a veteran, Dunleavy is excited for his new team Saturday night.
“Absolutely, yeah,” he told CSNChicago.com before the Bulls’ morning shootaround. “Anytime you get out there and play against another opponent, someone like myself, first time with the Bulls, you’re looking forward to it. Playing with my teammates and seeing what we can do.”
Dunleavy has already developed chemistry with his new teammates during training camp and facing his old team will be his first opportunity to showcase how well he fits in with the Bulls.
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“Well, it seems good. You have guys, everybody that works hard, comes in focused, ready to play. Things kind of move a little quicker, so I think that’s where we’re at,” he explained. “I’m enjoying playing with these guys and it’s a good group.”
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau plans to utilize Dunleavy as a swingman—he’s also capable of stretching defenses as a power forward, in a pinch, due to his versatility and size—in his debut.
“The two and three are basically interchangeable, so I look at Jimmy, Luol and Mike as wings, so they’re going to play both,” the coach said. “He’s going to play on the perimeter tonight, at the two and the three.”
Dunleavy is conscious of the upgrades the Pacers have made over the offseason and regards the exhibition matchup as a good test for the Bulls.
“They’ve put together a nice roster and had a great couple seasons the last few years, one of the top teams in the league,” he said. “It starts tonight for us, getting ready for the season and seeing what we’ve done the past week in practice, and playing against a really good opponent.”