Bulls Former Top Pick an ‘Interesting’ Trade Option for NBA Title Favorite

Coby White, Chicago Bulls

Getty Coby White #0 of the Chicago Bulls.

It has not been the smoothest start to the 2023 season or career to this point for fourth-year Chicago Bulls (22-25) guard Coby White. The former seventh-overall pick has had to battle through his own health and inconsistent play on top of upheaval with the front office that drafted him being replaced and a head coach that has not always made the best use of his pieces.

All of those things worked in conjunction to make White one of the biggest question marks coming into this season. Even if his ceiling is not what the Bulls once thought it was, he still offers a valuable skill set when he is right.

He has adjusted to his role as a designated bench scorer and has even added a few tools to his once-shallow bag of tricks.

And, with noted improvement defensively, White could make sense for the Boston Celtics.

Coby White Would Be ‘Very Interesting’ for Celtics

“Coby’s value is all over the place apparently,” said Morton Jensen on ‘The NBA Podcast’ on January 24. “But Coby White would be very interesting on this roster. Like, that is actually the kind of player that I think they could afford to get in and like incorporate into the wider scheme of the rotation.”

Bulls Get:

Celtics Get:

  • Coby White

“I think that would be extremely interesting because he can play both on and off the ball,” said Jensen. “I don’t hate that for Boston if they could make that happen.”

White is averaging 8.4 points on 56.2% true shooting with 2.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists while knocking down 36.3% of his threes. It’s an all-around step back from last season for the former University of North Carolina standout.

But White has made noticeable strides both on the defensive end and as a ball handler.

Over his last six games, he has averaged 12.5 points on 60.6% true shooting with 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.5 steals while turning the ball over just 1.0 times per contest. He has a plus-5 net rating in that span, per Basketball-Reference. More importantly for the Bulls, he has connected on 44.1% of his threes in that window.

The Bulls went after Gallinari, 34, this past offseason before he ultimately signed with the Celtics on a two-year, $13 million deal. He tore his ACL in September before the season even began and while he would not rule out a return this season though it would likely require a deep playoff run.

Boston can provide that as the betting favorites to win the NBA title, per Covers.com‘s aggregation.

Bulls Have to Make a Decision on Coby White

White has been on the trade block for the last year with the Bulls turning away multiple trade offers, reports NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson.

The upshot on White’s improved all-around game is that some time might find room to sign White to an offer sheet that the Bulls are uncomfortable matching. It is highly unlikely – both of the top two teams in projected cap space next season are already guard-rich in the San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers.

But it is not impossible and the Bulls are already leery of crossing the luxury tax threshold.

They have to make a decision on White’s nearly $10 million cap hold while also figuring out what to do with embattled big man Nikola Vucevic who has also enjoyed renewed effectiveness this season.

The Bulls have resisted the outside calls for changes to be made before it’s too late and they are forced to overpay for one or both of Vucevic and White.

Coby White’s Future Far From Settled

What the guard has working for him is his age – he is still just 22 years old compared to the 32-year-old Vucevic. But the latter has proven to be the more consistent and vital performer over the last two-plus seasons.

White is also a holdover from the last regime while Vucevic was the first major non-draft investment the current front office made.

How much will that impact their decision-making when the time comes if it has not already?

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