Bulls’ Coby White Name-Drops DeMar DeRozan After Comeback Win

Coby White, Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls trailed the Minnesota Timberwolves 69-47 at halftime, but a 36-23 third quarter sparked by fifth-year guard Coby White helped them secure the victory.

White scored 21 of his team-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, sending the game to overtime. He said he had been watching teammate DeMar DeRozan to prepare for those late-game moments.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” White said via The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry on February 6.

“It’s still a growing process for me. I’m still trying to just learn and get through. The best way to go through it is to be in it. So I’m grateful I’m in it, and I’m able to have the ball in those moments. Especially in the fourth quarter. … I’m super thankful for that. Because, obviously, that’s when winning occurs.”

“I try to just learn from the older guys, like Deebo, in those moments. What’s his mental like? How is his emotions and how is he carrying himself?”

White lamented going scoreless in overtime. DeRozan poured in 10 points.

“For me, it’s just trying to continue to learn as teams change coverages and adapt to how I’m playing,” I’m just trying to learn through it all, and trying to take it for what it is and take it in stride. … Just keep learning, man.”

Coby White ‘Off Limits’ in Bulls Trade Talks

White’s play justifies the three-year, $36 million contract he signed this past offseason. And it prompted a report on his availability ahead of the trade deadline.

“After he was considered available at last year’s trade deadline and before the 2023 NBA Draft, Coby White is now considered off limits in Chicago, sources said, after this breakout season,” Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer wrote on February 5.

The Bulls were hesitant to extend White following four years of inconsistent play and role

He has since proven to be the best use of their offseason as each of the other players they gave new money hindered by injury or fluctuating effectiveness.

Veteran free agent addition Torrey Craig just returned from a foot injury only to exit the win over the Timberwolves with another leg injury. A prolonged absence would sting with Patrick Williams also sidelined by a foot injury. Zach LaVine is also out for the season.

Ayo Dosunmu has experienced an up-and-down campaign, though he is trending upward.

Dosunmu – signed to a three-year, $21 million contract this past summer – had scored double-digit points in 10 straight games before scoring six points versus Minnesota.

Nikola Vucevic signed a three-year, $60 million contract ahead of free agency, and he has echoed the locker room sentiments that he cannot control trade rumors and he believes they can win with what they have.

Bulls at Critical Juncture

There are no expectations for the Bulls to pull the plug on this group, and a win like this could embolden that stance.

The Timberwolves entered the night second in the Western Conference standings.

But the Bulls owe their first-round pick to the San Antonio Spurs next season, and Fischer believes they could be stuck with LaVine for the remaining three years of his five-year, $215.2 million contract.

DeRozan is a free agent this summer. Alex Caruso is going into the final year of his contract next season.

The time for a pivot could be now as they potentially lose more leverage.