After an offseason abundant with roster change, the Chicago Bulls walk into next season with only two players remaining from the last regime: Coby White and Zach LaVine.
The latter, a former lottery pick, has a lesser chance of sticking around, given the former’s status as the team’s best player and Eastern Conference All-Star.
White’s current status doesn’t help his longterm case for the Windy City, either.
The 21-year old had to have surgery to repair a shoulder injury that took place away from the team back in June. He remains out indefinitely, and likely will miss the start to Chicago’s 2021-2022 campaign.
That, among other things, has landed White on a recent list of “logical trade candidates” for next season, written by Sam Quinn of CBS Sports.
Is there any truth to the guard’s impending status as a trade chip for Arturas Karnisovas and company to utilize down the line, or potentially this season?
White was a lottery pick, selected seventh overall back in 2018, and has shown a premier ability to score on even the NBA’s best defenders through two seasons.
Across 134 appearances (55 starts) with the Chicago Bulls, Coby White has put together a 14.8 points per game average, on a 40/36/85 shootings split.
Surely, some team, somewhere, would fork up assets or other talent in order to take a flyer on the 21-year old and former UNC product. But who, and when?
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Quinn: Bulls Need Wings, Not Guards
Coby White’s placement on Sam Quinn’s latest shouldn’t necessarily or automatically invite a negative connotation, as other talented players were also featured: Goran Dragic, Terrence Ross, and Buddy Hield to name a few.
And the CBS Sports reporter justified his take from a purely factual standpoint; the Chicago Bulls have too many guards.
…Lonzo Ball has now commandeered Chicago’s starting point guard position for himself. DeMar DeRozan has occupied the role of secondary shot-creator. Oh, and the Bulls spent their mid-level exception on Alex Caruso. The Bulls now have more guards than they can possibly use.
With the 21-year old White already potentially set to miss the start of next season, he could fall even further down the backcourt totem pole.
In regards to what the Bulls could potentially be after in any deal involving the young guard, Quinn cited a hole in the middle of the current roster:
What they do need are wings. There is not a pure small forward on this roster if you treat Patrick Williams as a power forward. Wings aren’t easy to come by, but the few teams that have some to spare would likely be interested in a former No. 7 overall pick with two years of team control remaining.
Now, to be transparent: this article was written before the dual signings of Alize and Stanley Johnson, although only one should be considered a wing.
Regardless, there’s certainly a better player within reach of Chicago’s front office if they dangled White on the trade market, alone or with draft picks.
Immediately, a few teams come to mind as potential suitors with wings to spare.
What Teams Make Sense for White?
If the Minnesota Timberwolves strike out in their reported push for a Ben Simmons blockbuster, would they entertain Coby White for Taurean Prince?
The 27-year old forward, who spent bits of last season in both Brooklyn and Cleveland, is a career 37% shooter from three, and can play multiple positions.
D’Angelo Russell doesn’t seem long for Minnesota, and even if he does, there’s reason for the Timberwolves to continue aggregating young talent.
The same can be said for the Washington Wizards, who are against the clock, seemingly biding time until Bradley Beal ultimately asks out of DC.
Are they that in love with Kyle Kuzma, that they would turn down White and a future pick for the 2020 champ and former first-round pick?
Both of these names were featured in Quinn’s article, as likely trade candidates for next season, but they’re not the only names Chicago could target.
Could third-year guard and DeMar DeRozan’s former teammate Lonnie Walker IV make sense for the Bulls? What about Gary Harris or Terrence Ross of the Orlando Magic?
Again, the Chicago Bulls’ options are plentiful, and that list will continue evolving as the season goes on, and teams needs become more apparent through play.
Coby White is set to make $5.8-million this season, and $7.4-million the next. The question isn’t if this team can weaponize his salary, but if they will.