The Chicago Bulls are going to get the 27-year-old 6-foot-4 former Michigan State Spartans shooting guard Denzel Valentine back for the 2020-21 season.
The news that not a whole lot of Chicago Bulls fans anticipated at the outset of the offseason actually arrived this weekend. The Bulls and newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas re-signed the impending free agent former Michigan State Spartans shooting guard Denzel Valentine.
On the morning of Nov. 21, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on his Twitter timeline that Valentine was set to re-sign with the Bulls on his qualifying offer for one year, worth $4.7 million. That is actually a similar dollar amount to what former Bulls point guard Kris Dunn got in his recently signed contract with the Atlanta Hawks.
As one of two impending free agent guards that the Bulls are looking to bring back heading into next season, Valentine could hold an integral role in where this new front office regime plans to take the rebuild. There wasn’t a whole lot of clarity as to how Karnisovas would reconfigure this roster heading into the fourth year of the rebuild throughout most of the offseason.
What we did know is that Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley needed to retool the roster to put former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan in the most advantageous spot to win in the near future. But the most significant free agent signing they have in hand thus far came with the one-year deal to the former Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Garrett Temple.
And while most Bulls fans didn’t figure that bringing back Valentine heading into his fifth year in the NBA would be the best move for the rebuild, it’s hard to tell where the mindset is at for Karnisovas right now. He hasn’t really made any high profile free agent signings, and the other impending free agent guard that he brought back was the French second-year shooting guard/wing Adam Mokoka.
Karnisovas and the Bulls let the likes of Dunn and combo guard Shaquille Harrison walk into free agency this offseason.
What the Bulls are getting back in Valentine is a good creator as a shooting guard or wing off the bench, and someone who can be a solid catch-and-shoot guard when he’s in rhythm. During the shortened 2019-20 regular season, Valentine played in 36 games with the Bulls (five of which he started in).
And he averaged 6.8 points per game, 2.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.2 blocks. Valentine shot 40.9 percent from the field, 33.6 percent from beyond the arc, and 75.0 percent from the free-throw line.
The Bulls finished up last season with a record of 22-43 under the direction of former head coach Jim Boylen, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve made significant moves to reshape the organization from the top-down since the outset of their portion of the 2020 offseason.