How much is being certain of something worth? As the saying goes, the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. But, in sports, that can leave a situation such as the Chicago Bulls (6-8) could be facing.
They currently roster Coby White – a sparkplug scorer capable of doing serious damage from beyond the arc.
The issue is that has far too often only been a theoretical depiction of White.
He has dealt with injury and inconsistency in his young career leaving his future in Chicago cloudy at best. Given that there are no plans to offer White an extension, they could have an interest in shipping him off at some point this season. The question is, can they find a deal that works?
Bulls Painted Into a Corner
“I think they’d do well with a volume 3-point shooter, a Buddy Hield or Luke Kennard or even Duncan Robinson if they could figure out a way to make that deal. But again, the contracts are not really there for that kind of deal.”
The executive is likely spot-on about both Hield and Robinson.
Hield, 29, could be worth it averaging 18.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists while shooting 40.8% from beyond the arc.
But his $20.5 million price tag this season is prohibitive unless the Bulls are looking to add more players into the mix which is excessive for Hield who has also drawn interest from the Los Angeles Lakers and is on the books for $18 million next season.
Robinson, 28, is cheaper than Hield at $16 million but is viewed as a negative asset.
– Luke Kennard
– Coby White
– Derrick Jones Jr.
– Marko Simonovic
Kennard, 26, has seen his scoring dip down to around his 2021 levels at 8.3 points per game. But he is shooting a career-high (and perhaps a little unsustainable) 47.7% from three-point range.
However, he also led the league last season shooting 44.9% from the outside, and has upped his efficiency on 2s to 56.7%, also a career-best mark.
The Bulls are once again floating near the bottom of the league in three-point attempts. But, unlike last season when they overcame ranking 30th in attempts by ranking fourth in efficiency, they rank 28th in attempts this season and 12th in efficiency this year — they need help.
Still, the roadblocks to this deal become clear.
Why the Bulls Would Decline
When a team is giving up multiple players for one, it is usually along with draft capital for a star-level player. None of the players the executive mentioned qualify even at their best. It is also not entirely clear that White cannot still turn into a reasonable facsimile of Kennard who dealt with similar inconsistency earlier in his career but has always been a better shooter.
Jones has value to this group too. Certainly not enough to keep him out of any trade talks but he has been in the rotation most of this season and is one of their few switchable “bigs” on the roster.
Moving him for a guard would leave them even thinner while Marko Simonovic has no value outside of matching salaries.
As for White, who has missed the last seven games with a bruised quad, he shot 38.5% from deep last season but is down to 29.4% this season.
It will be hard to move him without adding more pieces unless he ups his value by playing better. And, if he does that, and is helping the Bulls win games, then the question becomes whether or not they should move him at all.