The Chicago Bulls (23-26) could have to adjust whatever they might have had planned for Coby White ahead of the February 9 trade deadline. White has been on the trade block since the deadline last season but no deals have come to fruition for the former seventh-overall pick.
He is in the final year of his rookie contract and, despite a regression in his counting stats, has taken steps forward in several critical areas.
Surely the Bulls are hoping that it’s been enough to entice a would-be suitor to meet their asking price – which has previously been reported as a rotation player and a draft pick, per NBC Sports Chicago‘s K.C. Johnson – for the 22-year-old. But their hopes could be dashed before they can ever really build up steam regarding such a deal.
White is not valued in that way, league sources tell Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney.
Coby White’s Value ‘Decreasing’
“It decreases the closer you get to the trade deadline because more and more, teams see him as a short-term rental,” the source tells Heavy Sports of White’s value. “[The Bulls] passed on chances to trade him because he is going into restricted free agency, and it looks more and more like they’ll sign him and then trade him sometime next season.”
White is averaging 8.2 points and knocking down 35.8% of his threes this season but has shown significant improvement in other critical areas that don’t always show in the stats sheet.
He is in a slump the last three games with 4.7 points and 26.7% efficiency from deep.
There has been no word of the Bulls even giving a thought toward giving White a new contract ahead of restricted free agency next summer. But the idea that they could ultimately find themselves in this exact situation is not at all new.
“If the Bulls…keep him around for another 18-ish months, you can shop him as a young player locked in for X amount of years, offering teams more contractual certainty,” suggested Morten Jensen of Forbes in a Twitter thread.
To Jensen’s point, teams are often reluctant to tie up their cap space when the incumbent team can just match the deal after making them wait for the full 48-hour window.
White’s career has been a mixed bag of injuries and inconsistency with flashes of ability.
“As a player, by this point, you know what Coby White is,” the executive reasons. “So it is not like anyone is watching him and having their opinions shifted one way or the other. He is an undersized bench scorer, an instant-offense type who can give you 20, 24 minutes, in that range.”
Should Bulls Have Passed on Offers for Coby White?
The fundamental question for this team will continue to be whether or not they are holding onto or giving away the right pieces. Their moves to assemble this team cost them a pair of emerging players in Orlando Magic big man Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz.
Both players were moved out by Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas who has also expended plenty of draft capital to put this group together.
More importantly, he has been accused of overvaluing forward Patrick Williams. Perhaps it is in reaction to how things have played out for Carter and Markkanen. But they also have seen teams back off of their pursuit for guard Alex Caruso, 28, because their asking price – a pair of first-round picks – is so high, per Matt Moore of The Action Network.
Moore adds they have discussed a deal for Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder involving White.
They are said to view Caruso as close to untouchable. But it seems like they are higher on their current assets than anyone else leaving Karnisovas in a bit of a tough spot when it comes to improving what he has already expended a lot of resources building. What he and general manager Marc Eversley do next is critical, if they do anything at all.