The Chicago Bulls got a rather convincing win over the hosting Miami Heat in the regular season opener for both sides. But that does not mean it is too early to look for possible avenues of improvement.
While no one should expect a blockbuster for the Bulls – don’t necessarily rule it out either, though – they could and probably should be looking to fill any gaps.
But there is one piece of business looming that the Bulls might be wiser to address sooner rather than later and that is Coby White who is in the final year of his contract. The Bulls are expected to shop the young guard near the deadline but might have a potential option much sooner.
Send Coby White Home
White saw the deadline come and go for an extension of his rookie contract. It was not unexpected but it does set the stage for the Bulls to follow through on their plans to shop the guard at some point this season.
During a recent conversation with Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney, an Eastern Conference executive discussed some options the Bulls may have.
One that could be of particular interest to the Bulls and the other team is White going home.
- PJ Washington
- Coby White
White and Charlotte Hornets big man PJ Washington were draft classmates with the former taken five spots higher. The Bulls’ offseason was relatively quiet creating a bit of a need for White’s shooting.
Charlotte’s offseason has been anything but quiet and yet it still has resulted in a bit of a need for Washington.
A previous iteration of this deal involved three teams so this at least has the benefit of simplicity.
“[The Bulls] are sort of in limbo until they know what is happening with Lonzo Ball,” the exec said, “but the season is going and rolling without him whether they like it or not. So they’ve got to address some things. They need help on the wings, the interior, they need to be able to shoot it better. It’s tough because if Lonzo comes back and is good, they don’t want to make many changes. But they have a lot of guards and it might make sense to use that to fill in other holes.”
White played over 24 minutes in the Bulls’ season-opening win over the Miami Heat. And, while he did not shoot the ball particularly well, he did show more tenacity on defense.
As for the wings and interior, the Bulls have players that can do one or the other.
What they really need is a player who can do both and the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Washington would foot the bill having logged 54% of his minutes at center last season, per Cleaning The Glass, where he was surprisingly more effective than at power forward.
“[The Hornets] would probably like a purer point guard to backup LaMelo Ball, but White is a North Carolina guy at a time when the Hornets are reeling and in need of a hometown draw. Washington could fit as an undersize center and a stretch 4, addressing two Bulls shortcomings—again, the extent to which the Hornets will be willing to deal him ahead of his restricted free agency remains a question.”
White does boast surprising positional versatility but his skill set is not quite as diverse at this stage of his career.
Why It Won’t Happen
Neither Washington nor White agreed to an extension but the former is still viewed as a part of their long-term plans. The same cannot be said for White who was not drafted by the current front office in charge of the Bulls.
“I’ve been really happy with him,” Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said. “He’s going to be a big part of this team. If we’re going to take a step and become a legitimate playoff team, he’s going to be on the floor 28-30 minutes and he’s going to be a big part of it. He can play well at both ends of the floor. He gives you roster versatility because he can play the four or the five. And he can also defend different perimeter players. He’s a talented player and I think he finished last season on a good note and he’s had a good summer.” (h/t Schuyler Callihan/All Hornets)
That is a great sales pitch but also sounds like it would almost certainly take White plus assets to pry Washington loose if possible.
Things could change for the Hornets closer to the deadline but the Bulls’ assets are limited.
The odds of this deal getting done seem slimmer the deeper you look into it. But it makes sense for the Bulls from a basketball standpoint and could go a long way toward solving some of the stress caused by Patrick Williams‘ slow development.