Once the Bulls decided to extend Denzel Valentine his $4.7 million qualifying offer, it was basically a foregone conclusion that he was going to sign it. Even with his skill set, there was little market for a 27-year-old restricted free agent with just 170 NBA games under his belt and little consistent production in those games. If he was an unrestricted free agent, he probably would have gotten the minimum, or maybe slightly more.
Sure enough, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Saturday morning that Valentine has indeed signed that qualifying offer. He now has the right to veto any trade before becoming an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
It was initially a bit of a mystery why the Bulls extended Valentine his QO and didn’t do the same for at least one of Kris Dunn (he’s going to the Hawks) or Shaquille Harrison, but it seemingly just comes down to the fact that Denzel can shoot, pass and handle the ball a bit and the other guys are liabilities as shooters. The Bulls were the second-worst offense in the NBA last season and Arturas Karnisovas values shooting, pace and ball movement, so he went with the guy with the offensive upside (if you can even call it that at this point).
With Valentine back in play and Garrett Temple coming aboard, the Bulls are now sitting at 15 guaranteed deals. Devon Dotson is on a two-way deal, while Adam Mokoka has a qualifying offer as well to come back on another two-way. There hasn’t been much noise about any other rumors, but Thaddeus Young is an obvious trade candidate given what happened last season and the selection of Patrick Williams. The Bulls could also look to move on from guys like Tomas Satoransky, Ryan Arcidiacono, Cristiano Felicio and Luke Kornet. Otto Porter Jr.’s huge expiring contract is a big trade possibility as well, but that feels unlikely at this point.
I would be shocked if there’s not at least a little more movement on the roster. Otherwise, the Bulls would basically just be running it back:
#Bulls could still make a trade of significance before the season starts, though it's getting more difficult.— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) November 21, 2020
If they don't, they're in line to return 13 of the same 15 players.
Put another way: We're really going to find out how bad of a coach Jim Boylen was (or wasn't).
That certainly wouldn’t be all that exciting, but it would make for an interesting experiment.