Bulls’ Coby White Gives Honest Take on His Upcoming Restricted Free Agency

Jimmy Butler Coby White Heat-Bulls

Getty Jimmy Butler embraces Coby White following the Chicago Bulls' play-in loss to the Miami Heat.

With the Chicago Bulls‘ 2022-23 campaign having finally been brought — perhaps mercifully so — to its conclusion on Friday, chief decision-maker Arturas Karnisovas will now turn his attention to what some are calling one of the biggest offseasons in years for the club.

Lonzo Ball‘s progression toward a possible comeback after missing the last 15 months with a mysterious, potentially career-threatening knee injury is probably the top thing on fans’ minds. But the Bulls have a whole mess of other things to sort out, too, if they hope to accomplish something more meaningful than they did in ’22-23 amid a 40-42 regular season and play-in tourney ouster.

One of the low-key bigger questions facing Chicago this offseason is whether or not former No. 7 pick Coby White should be — or even can be — retained after an up-and-down fourth year. And while White had good things to say about the Windy City during his exit interview, he stopped well short of promising he’d be returning.

Bulls Guard, Upcoming Restricted Free Agent Coby White Addresses His Future

All things considered, White played well enough for the Bulls this season, logging something just shy of a 10-3-3 line and exhibiting considerable improvement as a defender and distributor. However, that’s a far cry from what had been expected of him after he became an NBA All-Rookie pick in 2020 — or the following year when he served as the team’s starting point guard.

And, White made it clear in speaking to reporters that he’s still eyeing that first-team status.

“I think it would be a conversation,” White said of weighing the opportunity to start alongside his earning potential as a free agent. “Obviously, that’s my goal. So, I think it definitely could be a conversation.”

Between that, the Ball factor, the team’s other free agents and cap/tax situation potentially affecting his position, not to mention the great unknown that is the open market, White is fully aware that his time with the team may be ending.

“It’s new for me, obviously, being a restricted free agent. So, I hope it works out for the best,” White said. “I love Chicago, love my teammates, love the front office… I would like to be back. But a lot of that’s out of my control. It’s a business at the end of the day and I understand decisions have to be made.

“So, if I’m back, great, but if I’m not, you gotta live with it.”

White Says He’s More Ready Now Than Ever to Lead a Team

In terms of raw counting stats, White acquitted himself well as Chicago’s starting floor general during the 2020-21 campaign. Over 69 games played (including 54 starts) that season, he averaged 15.1 points, 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds per outing.

However, the UNC product feels as though he’s only become better equipped to lead the charge over the time that has passed since that would-be breakout, even as his role and minutes have steadily decreased.

“I feel like like I’m more capable of doing it now than I was two years ago. I feel like I’ve grown a lot, I’ve matured a lot in my game,” White said. “[I will] continue to work on my voice leadership, playmaking, all aspects to be the point guard, but still continuing to be who I am.”

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