He was set to be a restricted free agent this offseason. But Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas followed through with his vow to re-sign as many of the team’s free agents as possible this offseason.
White, 23, is coming off the worst statistical season of his career but showed enough growth in other areas to warrant a three-year, $36 million contract and set a goal for next season.
“Continue to polish my overall game, continue to get better at ball-handling-wise, trying to get to the free throw line a little bit more playing and pick-and-roll, playing in the paint, playing off two feet,” White said on Youtube’s ‘Scoop B Selects’ with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson in a video from July 25. “Really just polish my overall game, continue to get better in that.”
White’s numbers – 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists – belied his development in 2022-23.
White’s three-point shooting fell off, going from 38.5% in 2021-22 to 37.2% this past season but he still passed the eye test overall for Bulls brass.
“He’s got better in every aspect of his game,” Karnisovas said in his exit interview on the Bulls’ YouTube channel on April 15. “I think that’s a good example of a player that is developing and taking strides from decision-making to defense to three-point shooting…He’s been really good for us and has been key in a lot of wins so he’s gotten really better.”
White was later asked about the injuries this team has endured and if it ever led him to think about what could have been. He said he tries to “stay in the present” and noted the group’s excitement for the upcoming season.
Coby White Bulls’ Mindset After Play-In Tournament Loss
Robinson also asked Whtie about the team’s view on the Miami Heat narrowly beating them only to advance to the NBA Finals. Chicago took a three-point lead on White’s triple with just under four minutes to go in the second round of the Play-In Tournament.
Miami ended their season with a 15-1 run to close out the game and the rest is history. White insists there is still nothing but positivity coming from the Bulls after that loss.
“It was a good experience for us to experience that: a single elimination game, not something you really experience in the NBA,” White said. “But it was good for us…We beat a good Toronto team then lost to Miami, and they wound up going to the Finals. We don’t look at it as like that would have been us. But we look at it as it was right there.”
“I think that was a game we could have won, we should have won,” White told Robinson. “But we definitely have confidence going into next season and definitely, the goal’s to be back in the playoffs.”
Bulls’ Addition Could Block Coby White’s Vision
White has let it be known that he still has designs on being a starting point guard but Chicago re-signed third-year guard Ayo Dosunmu who made it to restricted free agency only to return on a three-year deal ($21 million) of his own to return. They even took it a step further in addressing their point guard position, adding Jevon Carter on a three-year deal ($19.5 million) too.
Judging from comments made by a Bulls staffer told Keith Smith of Spotrac during Summer League in Las Vegas, White seems destined for a bench role next season.
“Jevon will bring some of the defense we lost at the lead guard spot with Lonzo out. And he can shoot too,” the staffer said. “Coby has come a long way. We think he could win Sixth Man of the Year. He’s been that good as a bench scorer.”
That is far from definitive, and training camp could always change any preexisting opinions head coach Billy Donovan and his staff may have. But the remarks are still notable at this stage and could be telling about how the organization views the situation despite White being the higher-paid player.