Chicago Bulls exercise options on Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine and three others
The Chicago Bulls have exercised third-year options on guards Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine, and fourth-year options on guards Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne, along with forward Bobby Portis. By exercising their options, all players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2018-19 season.
The Bulls acquired Dunn in a Draft-night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves last offseason in which Dunn, Zach LaVine and the rights to Lauri Markkanen were exchanged for Jimmy Butler and the draft rights to Justin Patton. In his rookie year with the Timberwolves, Dunn played in 78 games (7 starts) and averaged 3.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He ranked sixth among rookies in assists, second in steals and fourth in blocks. Dunn has missed the start of the 2017-18 season while rehabbing the dislocation of his left index finger.
Valentine was selected 14th overall by Chicago in the 2016 NBA Draft. The Michigan State product saw time in 57 games and averaged 5.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game his rookie year. Valentine hit at least one 3-pointer in 15 consecutive games from March 8 to April 4, and hit multiple 3-pointers in seven games in a row from March 8 to 18, both of which were the longest such streaks on the team last season. He scored a career-high 19 points with five 3-pointers made at Washington on Jan. 10. This season, Valentine is averaging 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists through four games.
Grant has played in 67 games for the Bulls after completing his rookie year with the New York Knicks (76 games). He was acquired by the Bulls, along with Jose Calderon and Robin Lopez, in a trade for Derrick Rose, Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick on June 22, 2016. Grant has career averages of 5.9 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.3 rebounds per game, but through four games (4 starts) this season is averaging 10.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.3 assists. He has posted his first two career double-doubles in his last six regular season games: April 10, 2017, and Oct. 24, 2017.
Payne was traded to Chicago on Feb. 23, 2017, along with Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow, for Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second round draft pick. The former Mr. Basketball in Tennessee has career averages of 5.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists through 88 games. He only appeared in 31 games in 2016-17, missing time due to a right foot injury, but in the 10 games he played with the Bulls, Payne averaged 4.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 12.9 minutes. He has not played in 2017-18 while recovering from offseason surgery on his right foot.
Selected by the Bulls 22nd-overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, Portis has appeared in 126 games (17 starts) with career averages of 6.9 points and 5.0 rebounds. He was the 25th player in Bulls history to have a double-digit scoring career debut (10 points in 10 minutes at Charlotte on Nov. 3), and was the first Bull to post a double-double with 20 points and 11 boards in one of his first five career games since Elton Brand in 1999 (at New York on Dec. 19). He scored a postseason-high 19 points with nine rebounds in his playoff debut on April 16 at Boston. Portis has not played in 2017-18 while serving an eight-game team suspension.