The Bulls are still trying to determine whether Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, and Denzel Valentine will be a part of their core going forward, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. As Cowley observes, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. are building blocks in Chicago, but the team has yet to make any long-term decisions on Dunn, Portis, and Valentine.
While the Bulls may have had aspirations of playoff contention coming into the season, the team is off to a 7-23 start and will be prioritizing player development and long-term roster planning going forward. Valentine will be out for the season with an ankle injury, but Chicago should have plenty of opportunities to evaluate Dunn and Portis, who both returned to the court last week after rehabbing injuries of their own.
Dunn, who posted 13.4 PPG, 6.0 APG, and 4.3 RPG in 2017/18 during his first season with the Bulls, has appeared in just four games so far this season due to a sprained MCL. Although the former fifth overall pick came off the bench upon returning from that injury, he reclaimed a starting job on Saturday with LaVine sidelined, and responded with a team-high 24 points in a road win over San Antonio.
Dunn has another season left on his rookie contract after this year, so the Bulls won’t have to make any final decisions on him during the 2019 offseason. That may not be the case for Portis though, since the power forward is eligible for restricted free agency next summer.
By all accounts, Bulls management is very fond of Portis, who was praised last season for his attitude and hard work even after punching teammate Nikola Mirotic during a practice. Portis is also a member of the club’s recently-formed leadership committee. Still, he didn’t receive a contract extension when he became eligible during the 2018 offseason, so his future with the franchise is somewhat uncertain. He’ll have to prove this season that he can be a good fit in a frontcourt that figures to predominantly feature Markkanen and Carter going forward.