Denzel Valentine

Bulls Notes: Valentine, Hoiberg, Parker, Mirotic

Denzel Valentine has yet to appear in a game this season for the Bulls, and his 2018/19 debut isn’t imminent. As The Chicago Sun-Times relays (via Twitter), executive VP of basketball operations John Paxson indicated on Wednesday that Valentine’s left ankle isn’t responding well, prompting the team to pump the brakes on his rehab and rule him out indefinitely.

With Valentine still on the shelf, the team figures to continue relying on rookie Chandler Hutchison in a regular rotation role. Chicago also appears to qualify for the hardship provision, which allows an injury-ravaged team to add a 16th man to its 15-man roster when it’s missing at least four players. Valentine, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, and Lauri Markkanen are all in the midst of extended absences for the Bulls, but there has been no word on the team applying for or receiving that roster exception.

Here’s more from out of Chicago:

  • It looks like there’s a real possibility that the 2018/19 season could be Fred Hoiberg‘s last with the Bulls, says Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. If that happens, GM Gar Forman should follow Hoiberg out the door, Cowley argues.
  • Hoiberg had a heated discussion with Jabari Parker during Wednesday’s loss, according to Cowley, who notes that Parker jogged down the floor on back-to-back defensive possessions before Hoiberg called timeout and had words with him.
  • Bulls center Wendell Carter, a former Duke Blue Devil, raved about his alma mater’s 2018/19 roster, suggesting that he believes Zion Williamson will “translate perfectly” to the NBA, as Cowley details. However, Carter doesn’t want to see the Bulls go into tank mode to try to land one of those top Duke prospects in next year’s draft. “I feel like we’ve just got to try to win every game,” he said. “If we lose, but we’re playing hard, that’s one thing, but I wouldn’t feel good losing games on purpose.”
  • In yet another article for The Sun-Times, Cowley revisits Nikola Mirotic‘s time in Chicago, suggesting that the front office “couldn’t wait to deal him” and some of his teammates “weren’t exactly sad” that Bobby Portis punched him during a practice last fall. Hoiberg and Robin Lopez spoke highly of Mirotic, however.
  • Sam Smith of explores where things stand for two-way player Tyler Ulis, who finds himself on the Windy City Bulls after spending the last two seasons as an NBA rotation player.

Bulls Exercise Options On Markkanen, Dunn, Valentine

The Bulls have exercised their 2019/20 team options on three players, announcing today in a press release that Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, and Denzel Valentine have all had their salaries guaranteed for next season.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2019/20 Rookie Scale Team Options]

Dunn and Valentine were 2016 draft picks, so their options for 2019/20 are for the fourth and final year of their respective rookie scale contracts. Dunn’s will have a cap charge of $5,348,007, while Valentine’s is worth $3,377,569. Both players will be eligible for rookie scale extensions during the 2019 offseason before entering the last year of their rookie deals. If they don’t sign extensions, they’ll remain on track for restricted free agency in 2020.

Markkanen’s $5,300,400 option is for his third year, meaning the Bulls will have one more option decision to make on his rookie contract next October. He won’t be extension-eligible until 2020.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, all three of these young players are currently injured, with Markkanen sidelined by an elbow injury, Dunn recovering from an MCL sprain, and Valentine battling an ankle issue. Barring setbacks, all three players could get back on the court for Chicago within the next four or five weeks.

Injury Updates: Knox, Hayward, Barton, Valentine

Knicks rookie Kevin Knox could miss up to a month of action after spraining his left ankle Saturday night, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The injury took place late in the first quarter in a collision with Celtics guard Terry Rozier. Knox had to be helped to the locker room for x-rays, and the initial timetable for recovery has been set at two to four weeks.

It’s a tough way to start a career for the 19-year-old, who was originally pegged to be a starter before an uneven performance in the preseason. The Knicks are still counting on Knox to be an important contributor and want to give him as much court time as possible to help him adjust to the NBA.

“I had a real bad feeling in my gut when he went down,” coach David Fizdale told Marc Berman of The New York Post. “From my angle, I could basically see the [ankle] hit the floor, roll to the floor. I knew right away when he stayed down it was a good one. I feel for the kid. He’s had his fair share of adversity already. That’s what I joked to him about. ‘Welcome to the NBA. You play like crap. You play great [in Brooklyn], then you get hurt.’ It’s the roller coaster of our league. This is good for him. He’s going to learn from this.”

The new season is still in its first week, but there’s more injury news to pass along:

  • Gordon Hayward sat out Saturday’s game with “general soreness” in the area of his surgically repaired left ankle, notes Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. The Celtics forward, who is playing limited minutes, felt pain in the ankle after Friday’s game in Toronto. “We didn’t plan on that,” coach Brad Stevens said about playing without Hayward. “This is something we’ll take game by game, night by night. Obviously with the minutes restriction we’re monitoring it very closely. It’s general soreness, so not overly concerned about it.”
  • An MRI is scheduled today for Nuggets guard Will Barton, who had to be taken off the court in a wheelchair after hurting his hip Saturday, according to an ESPN report. Barton fell to the floor after making a layup in the third quarter and said he heard a pop when he started to jump. Barton signed a four-year, $54MM deal over the summer and entered this season as a full-time starter for the first time in his career.
  • Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine is trying to stay positive despite the latest setback in his recovery from a sprained left ankle, relays Sam Smith of Coach Fred Hoiberg said Valentine’s condition will be re-evaluated in another 10 days to two weeks. “I’m not going to quit; just deal with the hand deal,” Valentine said. “I can’t sit here and be negative. I’ve just got to fight, stay mentally strong and this will be bittersweet when I come back and have a great year.”

Bulls’ Denzel Valentine May Miss Several Weeks

The sprained left ankle that has been bothering Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine since early in training camp continues to be an issue, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Coach Fred Hoiberg confirmed tonight that Valentine has a bone bruise in the ankle and will be re-evaluated by the medical staff in two weeks. His return to action could be much further away.

Valentine came into camp hoping to build on his strong performance last season, but the injury has prevented that from happening. He hurt the ankle during the first week of camp and has been trying to get back on the court ever since.

The 14th player picked in the 2016 draft, Valentine emerged as a valuable part of the rotation last season. He appeared in 77 games, starting 37, and posted a 10.2/5.1/3.2 line in about 27 minutes per night.

Central Rumors: Jackson, Valentine, Nwaba, Robinson

Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson has progressed to 5-on-5, full-contact practices, Rod Beard of the Detroit News reports. Jackson suffered a high ankle sprain in December. Even though he returned during the second half of the season, spent much of the summer working with the training staff to fully recover. “We’re going to be smart and slow with him but I love where he is right now,” coach Dwane Casey told Beard and other media members. “He looked good. His timing is off a bit from not being out there. He knew exactly what we were doing because he paid attention. His game conditioning is getting there.”

We have more from around the Central Division:

  • Bulls swingman Denzel Valentine suffered a moderate ankle sprain during the first week of training camp, according to the team’s website. Valentine will be re-evaluated in 1-2 weeks, the release adds. The injury could put Valentine’s rotation spot in jeopardy. He’s fighting for playing time on the wing with Justin Holiday, Chandler Hutchison and JaKarr Sampson, among others, behind starters Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker.
  • Shooting guard David Nwaba had a two-year offer from the Pacers but he opted for a one-year deal with the Cavaliers, he revealed to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Nwaba became an unrestricted free agent after the Bulls rescinded his qualifying offer. “Indiana wanted me for two years, but Cleveland seemed like a better fit,” Nwaba told Fedor. “Young guys as well as veterans on this team, so I thought it was a perfect fit and knew I was going to get my opportunity here.”
  • Glenn Robinson III is eager to jump start his career after an ankle injury marred his final year with the Pacers, Ansar Khan of reports. The swingman signed a two-year, $8.35MM deal with the Pistons that included a team option. “My shooting ability and being able to defend my position is going to be huge for us,” Robinson said. “It’s going to be up to Coach (Casey) who he puts in that starting wing spot, but I think the most important thing to me is finishing games.”

Central Notes: Valentine, McMillan, Morris, Pistons

The Bulls’ starting lineup seems set but there will be a couple of key position battles in training camp, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes. Justin Holiday and Denzel Valentine will be angling for playing time at small forward behind Jabari Parker, while Cameron Payne could have an unexpectedly tough battle with Ryan Arcidiacono as the main backup at point guard. Cristiano Felicio also needs to carve out a role and earn some of his $8,470,980 salary, Cowley adds. ‘‘The thing I’m excited about with training camp is it’s going to be open competition,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • The Pacers needed to extend coach Nate McMillan to prevent a lame-duck situation next season, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star explains. McMillan agreed to an extension through the 2020/21 season. It was also necessary for a franchise that preaches culture and loyalty to reward its coach for a job well-done last season, Michael continues. The Pacers overcame the lack of true stretch four as well as a shooter at the backup shooting guard spot. Their wings were also somewhat limited offensively and they were undersized in the backcourt, Michael adds.
  • If Jaylen Morris can improve his perimeter shooting, the Bucks will be rewarded for signing him to a two-way contract, according to Dakota Schmidt of Morris is adept at attacking the basket and finishing at the rim and is also a solid defender, Schmidt continues. The 22-year-old wing will also benefit from working with assistant Ben Sullivan, who has helped numerous players with their shooting stroke, Schmidt adds.
  • The Pistons’ 15-man roster appears to be set after a low-key July that included the free agent signings of three reserves, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press relays. Ellis breaks down the roster player-by-player in the story.

Bulls Notes: Kilpatrick, Valentine, Dunn, Blakeney

Sean Kilpatrick has shown the Bulls he can score in bunches and he hopes that will be enough to secure a roster spot next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Kilpatrick is averaging 13 points per night in five games since signing with Chicago last week, including a 19-point fourth quarter in Tuesday’s win over the Hornets. His deal pays $6.2MM over three years, but nothing is guaranteed beyond this season.

“He fits well with what we try to do as far as creating long closeouts and getting into the paint,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s not afraid of any moment. He’s hitting big shots. He competes at the other end as well. He’s getting to the rim. He’s getting to the free-throw line. We’re spacing the floor and he’s driving and attacking.”

There’s more news from Chicago:

  • Second-year guard Denzel Valentine underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and expects to recover quickly, tweets Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Valentine, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 77 games, is focused on regaining the starting spot he lost when Zach LaVine was activated, telling reporters that he has earned a bigger role and should “definitely” be a starter heading into next season. ‘‘I think I can be a consistent player at this level,” he said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Be somebody they can rely on, somebody who defends, makes shots, makes plays for others, plays the game the right way and is a competitor. So I definitely think I’m a starter in this league.’’
  • Kris Dunn is also focused on next year after a toe injury ended his season in mid-March, relays Sam Smith of Dunn played 52 games in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 13.4 points and 6.0 assists, and believes he can become one of the league’s best at his position. “I’m trying to be an elite point guard,” he said. “I have the intangibles for it. I’ve got the work ethic. It’s all about putting it together and doing it the right way. I want to be an elite point guard, but a guard who wins games. That’s the big thing for me, try to make everyone better.”
  • Bulls’ two-way player Antonio Blakeney has been named Rookie of the Year in the G League, tweets Adam Johnson of Two Ways and 10 Days. The former LSU guard averaged 32.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games with Windy City. He has appeared in 19 games with Chicago, averaging 7.9 points per night.

Bulls’ Denzel Valentine Out For Season

Bulls guard Denzel Valentine will miss the rest of the season to undergo an arthroscopic debridement on his left knee, the team announced on Tuesday. Valentine will go under the knife tomorrow.

The Michigan State product made some major progress this season. After appearing in 57 games with the Bulls last season, Valentine played in 77 games (37 starts) this season while exactly doubling his offensive output from 5.1 to 10.2 PPG. All of Valentine’s numbers improved drastically as he played for the rebuilding Bulls.

Valentine, 24, joins Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine on the sideline as Chicago players to wrap up their 2017/18 campaign early due to injury.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Mirotic, Valentine

After an 11-month absence, Zach LaVine made his Bulls debut Saturday night. Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago writes that the solid showing serves as an excellent first step for the player who remains the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler trade.

LaVine put up what seemed like an effortless 14 points in just 19 minutes of action in his first game of the year, but it’s his general playing style that will make Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg‘s life easier as the young team looks to develop into a winner.

“He’s such a smooth player and has a lot of confidence,” Hoiberg said. “To get out there back on the floor and with his teammates, I thought he played very effective and efficient. He played within himself.”

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • In the same NBC Sports Chicago feature, Goodwill writes that the 22-year-old LaVine has and wants to be considered “the guy.” “I always thought of myself on being able to be ‘the guy.’ And being able to go out there, put the team on your back, city on your back, and I want to work to be that guy,” LaVine said.
  • Although the team has thrived since his return, Nikola Mirotic remains intent on leaving the Bulls via trade, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. There is a sense that Mirotic and the team have reached an impasse when it comes to repairing the tension between him and Bobby Portis.
  • The return of Zach LaVine has bumped Denzel Valentine to the second-unit. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune notes that the 24-year-old handled the move professionally. Head coach Fred Hoiberg opted to push Valentine to the second unit, instead of Justin Holiday, because he has fared better with the team’s bench players and can be featured more as a playmaker alongside them.

Central Notes: Thomas, Mirotic, Valentine, Jackson

Isaiah Thomas‘ return should happen any day now and it could not come a moment sooner for the Cavaliers, Chris Fedor of writes. Cleveland has dropped four of its past five games, including back-to-back losses to the sub-.500 Kings and Jazz. Thomas’ ability to score will help a Cavaliers team in need of an offensive punch.

“You always look forward to having a great player back on your team,” head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Fedor. “He’s been going through the process he’s going through. He came out yesterday feeling pretty good so we’ll see what happens after that.”

Thomas completed his first scrimmage with the Cavaliers on Friday and came out of it well. It has been reported that tomorrow’s contest against the Trail Blazers could see Thomas return or the following night against the Celtics in Boston — his former team. Either way, Thomas’ return is close and if he manages anything close to his 28.9 PPG average from last season, Cleveland will be better off.

Check out other Central Division news below:

  • Nikola Mirotic‘s 2017/18 has been a roller coaster but his outspoken confidence since he returned from a facial injury has been noticed by his Bulls teammates and coaches, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Head coach Fred Hoiberg said that Mirotic’s confidence is rubbing off on his teammates. However, some teammates may be rubbed the wrong way by a player who was involved in a physical confrontation with a Bulls teammate — which caused the facial injury — and has publicly demanded a trade.
  • In his second NBA season, Denzel Valentine has expanded his role beyond a simple catch and shoot three-point shooter,’s Sam Smith writes.  Injuries have given Valentine more playing time and his improvements have been noticed. “I give Denzel credit,” Hoiberg said. “He’s not playing outside himself right now. Earlier in the season, if he wasn’t getting shots he’d take a crazy one. Now he’s letting the game come to him.”
  • Reggie Jackson‘s grade 3 ankle sprain has changed the Pistons’ plans and it will take time to adjust to life without one of the team’s best players,’s Keith Langlois writes. Wins and losses will not be as important as achieving consistency while Jackson is on the shelf. The responsibility of that falls on Ish Smith and Langston Galloway, the two players who will see increased roles in Jackson’s absence.