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Bulls agree with Garrett Temple on one-year $5 million deal

/ by K.C. Johnson
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
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The Bulls have agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract with free agent guard Garrett Temple, agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago.

Temple, a 10-year NBA veteran who last played with the Brooklyn Nets, averaged a career-high 10.3 points and 2.5 assists across 62 appearances (35 starts) in the 2019-20 season. In 576 career games, he’s connected on 34.7 percent of his 3-point tries.

Late Wednesday, following his first draft as lead executive of the Bulls, Artūras Karnišovas emphasized he’d prioritize shooting while being “really picky” in free agency. Temple can occasionally initiate some offense and, as a veteran combo guard, has been a solid defender and catch-and-shoot reserve throughout his career.

To show how long Temple has been in the league, consider this: He and Tyrus Thomas were freshman teammates on the 2005-06 LSU team that reached the NCAA Final Four. He's widely regarded as a strong, veteran presence and has served as vice president of the players' association.

However, his signing could be viewed by some as a duplication of Denzel Valentine, whom the Bulls tendered a qualifying offer earlier this week. The fact Temple, 34, is a veteran on such a young team and also signed for one year would be positives.

 

The Bulls are primed to own significant salary-cap space next summer. Temple’s deal will come off the books at the same time as those for Otto Porter Jr. and Cristiano Felício, who will earn a combined $36 million in 2020-21.

Depending on Valentine’s status through restricted free agency, the Bulls could be up to 15 guaranteed contracts by the time they sign Temple and Patrick Williams, their first-round pick.

Temple’s deal isn’t for the full mid-level exception, which is valued this offseason at $9.3 million, so the Bulls could conceivably spend more on another player. But, assuming Valentine returns, that would necessitate creating a roster spot with either an uneven trade in which the Bulls sent out more players than they received or the waiving of a reserve center like Felício or Luke Kornet -- a scenario which would require eating their 2020-21 salary. 

A potential trade candidate would be Thad Young, who has one season of fully guaranteed money left on his contract at $13.5 million. Only $6 million of his $14.2 million is guaranteed for 2021-22.

Young privately expressed displeasure over his playing time last season, which featured him logging the second-fewest minutes average of his career and lowest since his rookie season at 24.9 per game. The addition of Williams on top of Lauri Markkanen’s presence could impact Young’s situation again.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the Temple signing, which was later confirmed by his agency, Priority Sports.

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