Chicago Bulls: Grading every personnel move of 2018-2019

Chicago Bulls (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Exercised 3rd Year Option on Lauri Markkanen (1 Year, $5.3 Million)

It is quite obvious that this was a no-brainer for the Bulls’ front office. Lauri Markkanen had a very solid rookie season and had an even better sophomore season, in which he averaged 18.7 points and nine rebounds per game on 43% shooting from the field and 36.1% from 3-point range. Markkanen is another player to look out for as a potential All-Star in 2019-2020, especially if he plays a full season. Picking up a rookie option on almost any player is expected, and the same is the case for Markkanen, who is expected to be one of the faces of the franchise for years to come.

Grade: A+

Exercised 4th Year Option on Denzel Valentine (1 Year, $3.37 Million)

Denzel Valentine appears to be the forgotten man in the Bulls’ future. A former lottery pick, he is on the last year of his rookie deal after missing the entirety of the 2018-2019 season with an ankle injury. Valentine is a very capable player who could be a very good bench piece for the Bulls. He averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 0.8 steals per game on 41.7% shooting from the field and 38.2% from deep during the 2017-18 season.

Valentine spent much of his sophomore season playing the small forward position, which was completely unnatural, as he is purely a combo guard. If the team utilizes him correctly next season as a backup shooting guard, he could put up very good numbers and show why he was a lottery pick in 2016. Valentine possesses excellent shooting and passing skills, along with his ability to play both guard positions, making him an ideal modern NBA player.

As stated previously, picking up the team option is a no-brainer for nearly every former first-rounder, and Valentine is no different. It will be interesting to see what the Bulls decide to do with him after 2019-2020 and how much he will command. He should certainly be viewed as a member of the core group going forward.

Grade: A

Exercised 4th Year Option on Kris Dunn (1 Year, $5.34 Million)

Kris Dunn took a massive step back in 2018-2019. After a great first season in Chicago, he struggled to get anything on the offensive end right. It has now been made clear that he is not the future of the point guard position in Chicago. However, this does not mean that he should be out of the plans of the team. Kris Dunn can be a more than capable backup in this league. His defense is elite and he is a solid passer, while his mid-range game continues to improve. He will likely never be a player who has success on offense, and that’s okay. Every team needs a lockdown defender.

Kris did deserve the criticism he got this season. I, too, was a believer that he was the starting point guard of the future and am now amongst those who doubt this notion after year two of the experiment. However, he can still be a viable backup and picking up his option is/was never anything to question.

Dunn has the biggest question mark among any Bull regarding his future with the team. It is unclear if he will be traded between now and the 2020 deadline, if he will be re-signed, or if the team will let him walk this summer. However, in spite of his poor season, picking up the option on a former top-10 pick is absolutely the right move.

Grade: A

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