Do the Chicago Bulls still need Coby White? That’s the major question some are asking as the team has begun the 2021-22 season on fire.
Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype discussed this in a recent article identifying the most likely trade targets for each team in the NBA this season. Scotto wrote:
Coby White, who’s expected to return from shoulder surgery in November, will come off the bench when he returns behind Lonzo Ball after starting 54 of his 69 games played last season. White, who was a draft pick under the Gar Forman regime, could join Lauri Markannen as the next player under the previous regime to be traded by current Bulls executive Arturas Karnisovas, multiple executives predicted. Following the offseason additions of Ball, DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso, White could be expendable. “I think Coby could get moved if they feel like they need a piece,” as one NBA executive predicted. “I like Coby. He’s a guy who needs to get to a situation where he can play.” White is under team control for two seasons and is eligible for restricted free agency until the summer of 2023.
The play of rookie guard Ayo Dosunmu could have some bearing on whether White is considered expendable, but we must remember, the third-year guard isn’t without value.
Coby White Could Still Be a Sixth-Man of the Year Candidate
We’ve talked a lot about what White might not be able to do with this current group, but based on the defensive effort we’ve seen from a group that was supposed to suck on that end of the floor, we should know better than to doubt them.
The question is: what if White falls neatly into the bench-scorer role for this team? White has never failed on the basketball court because of a lack of effort, heart or an unwillingness to be coached. He plays as hard as anyone in the league–even when making mistakes–and he’s been humble through all sorts of coaching decisions during his two years in the NBA.
There is a chance White becomes the Jordan Clarkson, Jamal Crawford-style player we’ve all thought he could be since he came into the NBA. In his two-year career, White has averaged 14.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists while making just under 36% of his threes and 85% of his free throws.
If White works hard and smart on defense, fits into the active-hands and smart-contest mindset the Bulls have displayed this season, while still attacking on the offensive end the way he’s capable, Chicago’s already strong bench could be even better. If that happens, Chicago would be better off keeping White rather than shopping him–even for frontcourt help.
Things Are About to Get Tougher For the Bulls
Most in the Windy City are admiring what the Bulls have accomplished through the first three games of the regular season. The Bulls are 3-0 after handing decisive losses to the Detroit Pistons (twice) and the New Orleans Pelicans, but the savvy fan understands tougher challenges are coming.
The Bulls have a very winnable game on Monday night in Canada against the Toronto Raptors. After that, the team heads into a tough stretch. After Monday’s game against the Raptors, the Bulls will play the following schedule:
- vs. New York Knicks
- vs. Utah Jazz
- at Boston Celtics
- at Philadelphia 76ers
- vs. 76ers
- vs. Brooklyn Nets
- vs. Dallas Mavericks
- at Golden State Warriors
- at L.A. Clippers
- at Portland Trail Blazers
- at Denver Nuggets
- vs. New York Knicks
- vs. Indiana Pacers
None of those games project as easy wins and every opponent would seemingly be a tougher out than both the Pistons and the Pelicans–although Detroit plays hard and the Pels were without Zion Williamson.
Still, there is no question, the schedule is about to get exponentially more difficult for the Bulls.