It’s easy to love the Chicago Bulls‘ Coby White. He plays hard, looks pretty coachable, and has the potential to become an even more explosive scorer than he has already shown in his two years in the NBA.
That said, the Bulls need a purer point guard and a better defensive presence on the ball. With that said, Chicago might be able to include White in a potential deal that would land them their franchise point guard and a solid backup center.
The following trade is feasible from a financial standpoint and could help both teams move forward.
- Pelicans get: Coby White and Lauri Markkanen (Sign-and-Trade)
- Bulls get: Jaxson Hayes and Lonzo Ball (Sign-and-Trade)
I floated this idea on Twitter to gauge Bulls and Pelicans fans’ reaction, and the responses were mixed.
Why This Makes Sense for the Bulls
Chicago needs a point guard who can facilitate and defend.
Ball checks those boxes, and with his improved three-point (up to 37% over the last two seasons) and free-throw shooting (up to 78% from 58% the year before), the 23-year-old would fit nicely with Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, and Patrick Williams.
Ball and Markkanen are both restricted free agents, so a sign-and-trade deal could be in play if both the Bulls and Pelicans want to get something in return for their young players.
Hayes is still young and raw, but the 21-year-old has excellent upside as a rim protector and finisher close to the basket. The Bulls would be parting ways with the more accomplished 21-year-old by sending White to the Big Easy. However, they could stand to clear a path for Ball to start without impediment.
Hayes would provide a solid backup presence for Vucevic, and he could learn from Daniel Theis, a free agent Chicago should make an offseason priority.
Why This Works for the Pelicans
New Orleans wouldn’t be getting better defensively, but Markkanen is a proven marksman, and he’s a legitimate seven-footer capable of creating mismatch issues on the perimeter. With Zion Williamson running something of a point-forward, New Orleans’ offense could be even more effective with a shooter like Markkanen on the floor.
White is more of a scoring point or a shooting guard, so he wouldn’t necessarily impede Kira Lewis Jr’s path to the starting point guard role. Instead, he might fit well alongside him or in a backup role behind Eric Bledsoe. White is an explosive scorer capable of going on three-point barrages.
He averaged 15 points per game while making 35% of his threes. During the last month of the season, White began to cut down on his turnovers and showed some promise that he might still log some productive minutes at point guard.
The Pelicans spent most of the early part of the season not playing Hayes significant minutes. He only averaged 16.1 minutes per game this past season, which was even fewer than the 16.9 he played as a rookie. New Orleans is likely to get more out of Markkanen and White than they got from Hayes and Ball.