It’s objectively, undeniably good to be the Chicago Bulls right now, which is a weird thing to say about a team that is technically still in the midst of a five-year playoff drought. However, the East-leading club nonetheless has a tough question to answer with the NBA trade deadline looming.
Can good be great and is now the time to push some chips to the center of the table in an effort to facilitate the jump?
As it stands, the Bulls have a strong veteran core in Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Jokic, Lonzo Ball and on down the line. However, the roster also boasts some intriguing young assets from the team’s recent lottery days; players who could be used in deals to procure another big win-now piece.
According to a new report, Chicago may be willing to make at least one of those youngsters — former No. 7 overall pick Coby White — available in trade discussions.
Scotto on White’s Trade Deadline Status
On the January 12 episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan previewed the trade deadline, breaking down rumors and scenarios from around the Association. The Bulls were one of the teams that dominated the discussion with Scotto dropping the following tidbit:
Chicago is open to upgrading their roster but doesn’t want to part with Patrick Williams. However, Coby White is available for the right upgrade, according to rival executives.
White’s name started popping up in trade chatter upon his return from injury earlier this season. At the time, he was struggling to regain his form and he had already lost his starting point guard spot to Ball. That confluence of events had some wondering whether he might be expendable.
More recently, he has been a force off the bench and as a spot starter for Chicago. However, the trade musings have continued, and Scotto’s report would seem to indicate that Bulls brass is at least considering selling high on the 21-year-old in order to bring in a battle-tested vet with a higher profile.
Is Trading White Really the Move?
Over his last 10 games, White has averaged a cool 17.0 points, 3.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds per contest. Along the way, he has knocked down 52.3% of his shots, 48.3% of his three-pointers and 86.2% of his free throws. And Bulls coach Billy Donovan has been singing his praises as a result.
“I think Coby is a winning player,” Donovan said recently, via NBC Sports Chicago. “I’m hoping he’s gaining some confidence in terms of his value for what he can do for our team… It’s an important role for us.”
That last bit is key. As much as fans, pundits and perhaps even the Bulls front office like the idea of adding another name to the mix, the team needs a player like White who can come off the bench and be the tip of the spear offensively at times. So, the Bulls would definitely be giving something up by including him in a trade.
Also — he’s still a young guy with star potential. Sending off that kind of long-term piece for a win-now player who may or may not actually bring more wins is a gamble that could fail to pay off.