Thanks – in large part – to the hefty payday likely headed towards Zach LaVine, the non-tax-payer mid-level exception may be the main source of spending power for the Chicago Bulls over the next few days. In other words, they’ll have only about $10.5 million to fill some glaring holes on their roster, which is … you know, not a lot.
But while free-agent spending isn’t the only way to add talent to a roster, their efforts on the trade front haven’t been particularly productive either. At least, not yet.
Leading up to the draft, you may recall rumors swirling that the Bulls were open to dealing Coby White alongside the No. 18 pick. However, it appears Chicago has yet to find what they believe to be equitable value in any such deal. And now, it appears more likely than not that the 22-year-old combo guard will be back in Chicago next season.
Both Joe Cowley (The Sun Times) and K.C. Johnson (NBC Sports Chicago) hinted as much this morning, with Cowley stating White’s value has yet to reach “where the Bulls value him” and Johnson writing that “management envisions a role” for him moving forward.
None of this is to say White’s name is off the trading block. In fact, Cowley cites a source who contends that the Bulls “have remained active” in looking to trade White, but they’re not willing to just “give him away.” (Michael: And, indeed, two Chicago sources pumping the breaks simultaneously certainly rings like the Bulls’ attempt to send a message/play for leverage).
In any case, the Bulls have clearly fielded calls on White, and I can’t imagine that stops over the next handful of days. Remember: the market can change during free agency. One team may not be able to complete some other deal on which they were counting, re-opening the door to White.
With all that said, I don’t think White’s return would be any sort of issue. He’s still a former lottery pick who shot a career-high 38.5 percent from behind the arc last season. And while he hasn’t (yet) displayed the level of consistency needed for a win-ready team, there are still reasons to believe he can take a step in the right direction. Among them, the fact that his role has been ever-changing. And If he were to stay with the Bulls into next season, it would likely be his first in a similar team-role as the year prior.
We also know how badly the Bulls need shooting, and White is easily one of the best shooters on the team.
Lastly, let’s not forget how injury-prone this team was last season. White is a familiar face with a familiar feel. If they have to turn to someone for scoring in the starting unit, they can do a lot worse.
Long story short, I tend to believe the Bulls when they say they’d be happy to have White back next year, even if they are actively willing to listen to trade offers in the meantime.