Bulls Have ‘Rejected Overtures’ for Promising Young Player: Report

Billy Donovan

Getty Will head coach Billy Donovan and the Chicago Bulls make any moves before the NBA trade deadline?

It sounds like the Chicago Bulls want to keep point guard Coby White around, at least for the rest of the season.

According to a February 2 report by Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic, Chicago has rebuffed multiple offers for the fourth-year guard. A January 29 article by Matt Moore of The Action Network stated that “the Bulls and Suns have had conversations about a deal involving Coby White for Jae Crowder in recent weeks,” but nothing materialized. Now, Mayberry has added some new information.

With point guard Lonzo Ball still out with a knee injury, keeping White around could be about security. Or, it could be about much more.

“Contrary to reports and perhaps the court of public opinion, White does have trade value, with league sources saying the Bulls have rejected overtures from rival clubs,” Mayberry wrote, adding: “Whether that says more about the Bulls’ belief in White or concern with Ball remains a mystery. But with his shooting and improved play, White no longer is merely a trade chip the Bulls can use to tidy their backcourt. Could the way he’s developed this season make the Bulls rethink his future? Might he now be a keeper?”

Bulls Have Grown to Appreciate White, Per Reports

White has taken on the role of a reserve for the first time this season, so his minutes and overall production are down. That said, he’s been far more efficient and effective when he is on the court, and he has been in years past.

“The Bulls value White,” Bulls insider K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports wrote on January 27. “They’ve rejected offers for him in the past. He’s certainly available for the right move, but it’s clear at this point that the Bulls won’t give him away. For starters, they need his shooting. The team doesn’t have much of it. Secondly, White is a team player who has accepted whatever changing role has been thrown his way. And his defense and ball-handling both are noticeably improved this season.”

As Mayberry also notes, “White has managed to morph into the most complete player he’s ever been.”

White’s Game Has Grown in Multiple Facets This Season

White is currently averaging 21.2 minutes a game, and while he’s netting just 8.2 points a game, he’s shooting a career-high 49.5% from the field (stats courtesy of Basketball Reference). The 22-year-old guard (he turns 23 on February 16) has also tied his career-best for steals (0.8 per game) and he’s fouling less than he ever has.

Johnson said earlier in January he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulls package White in a deal, but with less than a week before the trade deadline, that’s looking less likely than ever.

“He’d be one of those pieces where you try and get him in a package,” Johnson noted in reference to White. “I think individually, his trade return is not that significant, but in the right package with that lottery-protected Portland pick … if they’re buyers, I think he’d be in whatever package they send out.”

After selecting White at No. 7 overall in 2019, it seems as though he is finally finding his place on the team. He’s in the final year of his four-year $24,131,515 contract, and he’s set to hit restricted free agency this summer. We’ll see if the Bulls keep him beyond this season, but it looks as though he may be sticking around for the remainder of this one.

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