The tea kettle is starting to whistle, folks!
With the trade deadline under one month away, rumors have slowly begun to emerge. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto recently discussed many of these rumors on an episode of the HoopsHype Podcast, and he addressed the interesting situation that surrounds two of the Chicago Bulls’ youngest players.
“Chicago is open to upgrading their roster, but they don’t want to part with Patrick Williams. However, Coby White is available for the right upgrade, according to rival executives I have spoken with,” Scotto said.
Sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference totem pole, the Bulls have seen their competitive window open faster than anyone could imagine. Thus, speculation has loomed over whether or not this front office could look to go all-in for a Finals push this offseason. What exactly would that look like? Well, the fan-favorite discussion centers around 2020 No. 4-overall pick Patrick Williams. The currently-injured forward is still easily the team’s most intriguing asset. His long-term potential alone could be enough to be the centerpiece of a trade for coveted win-now players like Harrison Barnes and Jerami Grant.
However, being the team’s most intriguing asset, it makes pulling the trigger on a trade that much more difficult. Williams was the front office’s first draft selection, and the team’s eagerness to see him in action resulted in 71 starts for the 20-year-old last season. Not only did Arturas Karnisovas likely build this roster with a role for Williams in mind, but he could envision his potential as greater than that of a Barnes of Grant. And, as someone who recently implied sustained success in an interview with 670 The Score, he might be prepared to wait for Williams to reach that potential.
Cue Coby White.
Whereas Williams began the new era, White ended the last one. The speedy sparkplug scorer started this season as the only other remaining roster member from the Gar Forman and John Paxson regime besides Zach LaVine. That, alone, could imply a greater willingness to let White go at the right price … which reminds me: we have to consider this information is coming from rival executives. Sure, the Bulls could very well be out there telling teams that White is available, but it also isn’t hard for execs to make an informed inference (it’s a fair bet that the organization would dump a previous regime’s player over their hand-picked player, especially when they look at a roster stuffed with backcourt talent).
Between Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu, Troy Brown Jr., and even Javonte Green, the Bulls would have the bodies to fill their rotation. However, what the Bulls would not have is a player like Coby White.
White is finally in the role many believed best suited him when he first entered the league in 2019. Coming off the bench as the team’s sixth man with sharpshooting and good ball control, White started the season in a slump before finding his footing in a big way come mid-December. There is no question he has been one of the team’s most important players over this recent stretch, scoring at least 13 points in eight-straight games and averaging a 50.8 field goal percentage and a 45.3 3-point percentage in the last 11 games.
Remove White from the equation, and the Bulls could find themselves quickly searching for another version of him to balance out their roster. Yet, at the same time, we might have to look at all of this recent success as only a greater reason the Bulls might part with White. His value is currently on the rise. When we consider his efficient downtown shooting, finishing at the rim, smart passing, and suitable defense, this is by far the best version of White we’ve seen since he entered the league, which means his value is arguably the highest it’s been since he’s entered the league. And sometimes, you have to take advantage of those relative peaks (in terms of asset value), when such a unique opportunity to contend presents itself.
So if a team asks for Williams, it’s not crazy to believe the Bulls might direct that team’s attention toward White (and perhaps salary-filler/the Portland pick). But it’s also not crazy to believe the Bulls keep both due to the simple fact that they are already one of the best teams in the league. Anyway, I have to imagine this will not be the last time we hear either Williams or White’s name come up in trade conversations, so stay tuned.
For more trade deadline talk …
The NBA trade deadline is officially less than one month away, and the Bulls have gone from the chaser to the chased.
Super curious to see how this FO handles a deadline where they're near the top, especially if other teams start to close the gap.https://t.co/KN2fM0MlAr
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 11, 2022