Chicago Bulls: Winners and losers of the Zach LaVine deal

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Bulls Denzel Valentine
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

Loser: Denzel Valentine

You may think the Bulls’ salary cap is the overall loser here, but if we’re looking at playing time, Denzel Valentine is probably taking the ‘L’ here.

After making 57 appearances as a rookie, year two for Valentine saw him take on a larger role, mainly off the bench. While he did make some spot starts, he averaged 10.2 points on 41.7% shooting, 5.1 boards, and 3.2 assists as a utility player. The former Michigan State Spartan found himself looking at a larger role had LaVine left town.

Unfortunately for Denzel, that didn’t happen.

It’s possible that he would’ve been starting at the two spot. It’s possible that he could’ve remained as a bench staple. In any regard, his path to minutes is still capped as long as LaVine doesn’t have any health concerns.

The bigger kick in the rear for Valentine is that he didn’t have a ton of competition to start. As of now, Antonio Blakeney, Justin Holiday, Sean Kilpatrick, and Jarell Eddie are the only other candidates to start.

In other words, he should’ve been liking his odds to be the opening night guy. Instead, he will be resuming his role as a jack of all trades player off the bench.

Related Story: Pros and cons of Zach LaVine deal

And even then, he’ll be in a fight for minutes with the new addition of Chandler Hutchison, who will be looking to crack the starting lineup himself.