The Bulls had three free agents they could have made restricted, allowing Chicago to match any offer they received. But to make a free agent restricted, his team must extend a qualifying offer – a one-year contract offer for a pre-determined guaranteed salary. Essentially, teams can’t have the privileges of matching outside offers without first making their own reasonable offer.
The Bulls’ candidates for free agency:
Kris Dunn ($7,091,457 qualifying offer)
Shaquille Harrison ($2,025,705 qualifying offer)
Denzel Valentine ($4,642,800 qualifying offer)
Dunn has proven himself to be one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. Harrison has stoked intrigue for his athleticism and effort. Valentine… once got torched in the Drew League by Frank “Nitty” Session, who loudly questioned how Valentine was in the NBA:
Yet, Valentine was the only one of the trio to receive a qualifying offer.
Restricted free agents usually scour the market for larger offer sheets. The qualifying offer is typically a fallback option.
But teams can unilaterally pull qualifying offers early in free agency. This year, the deadline is next Friday.
So, Valentine didn’t miss his opportunity.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Dunn and Harrison aren’t necessarily good enough to make Chicago regret not giving them qualifying offers. Dunn has major offensive shortcomings, and Harrison (27) is both the oldest and least-established of the bunch.
But they seemingly have better chances of succeeding than Valentine, who’s also 27 and faces an uphill battle to justify this contract (especially with Garrett Temple – who’s signing a one-year, $5 million contract – giving the Bulls another perimeter option).
At least Valentine is realistic about his place in the league and secured the bag surprisingly available to him.