Bulls Make Major Decision on Veteran Guard’s Contract

Getty Denzel Valentine

The Chicago Bulls took the first steps toward retaining the services of 27-year-old guard Denzel Valentine on Monday.

Per The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry, the Bulls have extended a qualifying offer to Valentine ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season. The qualifying offer is $4.7 million.

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Valentine Isn’t a Lock to Return to the Bulls

Despite the Bulls issuing Valentine a qualifying offer, he could still wind up playing elsewhere next year. The qualifying offer simply solidifies the Bulls’ right to match any offer sheet given to Valentine by another team. If an interested team jumps high for Valentine, the Bulls could deem the offer too steep and elect not to match.

There’s also a chance the Bulls could simply trade Valentine if his inclusion in a deal might sweeten the pot for a potential trade.

Valentine’s Name Has Been Consistently Mentioned in Trade Talks

Trade talk is nothing new for Valentine. In fact, there were some who were surprised to see him even receive a qualifying offer–especially on the first real day of NBA offseason activity.

Andrew Miller of Pippen Aint Easy wrote:

Since Valentine didn’t seem like a lock to return for the Bulls next season, getting a qualifying offer is a bit of a surprise to say the least. He didn’t stay very healthy for the Bulls in each of the last three seasons. Valentine even missed the entirety of the 2018-19 regular season with a lower-body injury.

The Bulls could still trade Valentine, especially if he doesn’t an offer from another team, but issuing the qualifying offer does at least suggest the team’s new management has placed some level of value on him as a player.

Has Valentine Impressed the New Management Group?

Valentine participated in the Bulls’ Bubble after the team wasn’t invited to the NBA restart. He, Coby White, and Zach LaVine had their moments in the voluntary workout. It’s totally possible Valentine took the opportunity to impress the new bosses. If that’s the case, it partially explains him receiving the qualifying offer. You’ll never know until the team commits to him, at least for this season.

One thing to remember is Valentine is finally healthy this season. In fact, it is the only season since he got to the NBA where hasn’t had to deal with or rehab an injury.

During the COVID-19-impacted offseason Valentine turned to music as a vehicle of expression and an outlet.

“Music has definitely allowed me to express how I feel,” Valentine said. “As an artist, I want people to see a side of me that nobody really gets to see. As an athlete, I want everyone to see I’m a hardworking player who deserves to play in the NBA.”

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