It’s been a quiet few days for the Chicago Bulls (20-24) on the basketball court as they have enjoyed a few days off ahead of their international bout with the Detroit Pistons in Paris, France. They snapped a three-game winning streak with a 132-118 win over the Golden State Warriors before departing so they are in good spirits ahead of a winnable game.
That does not mean all is well as they have precariously bounced between encouraging and barely being suitable for the Play-In Tournament.
What’s worse is they are limited in what they can do to improve not only by an owner who is not too eager to pay into the luxury tax but also by what they can offer other teams in any potential deals. With that in mind, a rival executive has weighed in on the value of the Bulls’ assets.
The picture painted is pretty grim for guard Coby White.
‘Not Much Use’ Trading for Coby White
“Coby White has been in the league four years,” the exec tells Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney. “He is only 22 [years old]. But we have seen him for a while now, we know what he is. His trade value was there a year ago but he is going to be a (restricted) free agent in the summer so there is not much use in trading for him.”
The Bulls have made White available since at least last year’s trade deadline with NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson reporting that the Bulls had “fielded multiple trade offers” for him but nothing to their liking.
White’s scoring has gone in the tank this season but he has made notable strides in other, less tangible areas such as his ball handling and strength which has helped him defensively.
Still, even with his steps forward, that offer might not ever come.
“No one likes trading for a restricted free agent because then you’ve got to set the market on his contract, and you have no idea how that is going to go heading into it,” the executive says.
White is averaging 8.4 points on a career-best 56.9% true shooting with 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists this season. And, over the last three games, White has averaged 15.7 points on 69.4% true shooting while knocking down 56.3% of his triples. He has a plus-9 net rating in that span, per Basketball Reference.
The Bulls have had no interest in a new deal for White. But, if he continues to play well and they fail to find a trade partner, it will be interesting to see if they opt to hold onto him rather than risk losing him for nothing.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, it is not just White, either.
Bulls Painted Into A Corner
We’ve heard similar rumblings about their handling of third-year forward Patrick Williams who, despite continued flashes, has not been the consistent threat needed. White’s ceiling is likely as a spark plug shooter coming off the bench after repeated failed experiments as a primary ball handler.
White is still young enough to prove his worth in the right situation.
In the end, though, the Bulls could wind up “stuck” with him because of the sunk cost in them and a lack of interested takers. There was a thought that he could be packaged together along with the first-round pick owed the Bulls by the Portland Trail Blazers and perhaps another player.
But, judging from the exec’s take, the return they would get still might not be worth what the Bulls would lose (and say about their roster build) if they gave him up.