Today at 5:00 p.m. CT will mark the Rookie Scale Extension deadline for a handful of those chosen in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Thus far, we’ve already seen nine players from that class agree on a new deal with their current team, including … Ja Morant, Zion Williamson, Darius Garland, RJ Barrett, Tyler Herro, Jordan Poole, Keldon Johnson, Kevin Porter Jr., and Brandon Clarke.
Among the notable names still scrambling for their next contract are Atlanta’s De’Andre Hunter, Washington’s Rui Hachimura, Phoenix’s Cameron Johnson, Boston’s Grant Williams, and Chicago’s Coby White.
Keith Smith of Spotrac has a more comprehensive list below:
Indeed, White sits as one of three players inside that draft’s top 7 (Hunter and Jarrett Culver are the other two) yet to reach terms on a fresh contract. Considering he has struggled to come into his own as an efficient shotmaker and reliable point guard prospect, I don’t think anyone would be surprised to learn that he’s still waiting in the wing. However, that doesn’t mean this is an easy decision to make for the Chicago Bulls front office.
White is still just 22 years old and coming off a season where he shot a career-high 38.5 from downtown. He had 11 games where he scored 20 or more points (of which the Bulls won eight), including a 31-point performance on 11-19 shooting against the Kings in mid-February. In other words, White has continued to flash the coveted ability to be a sparkplug scorer and dependable downtown threat. And it’s clear Arturas Karnisovas has been intrigued by that potential in the past, as White remains one of only two players from the previous regime still on this roster.
Having said that, the Bulls may no longer be in a position to pay for potential. White’s first three years have been about as up-and-down as they could be for a player who has received consistent playing time. Could some of that be related to his changing role and environment? Absolutely, but it’s hard to know for sure. This win-ready Bulls team can only wait around for so long. Plus, it’s not like they are starving for depth at the guard position as of now.
My expectation is that no deal gets down and that White heads into this season with restricted free agency looming. Now, if the Bulls could get his 3-point shooting on a super cheap long-term deal, fine by me. But I have to imagine the organization will lowball White to the point where his camp will prefer investigating what next summer has to offer.
If no deal is reached, however, this does put the Bulls in a risky place. A rebuilding team could always pay up for White’s potential and leave Chicago empty-handed. With that being the case, I can’t help but feel as if the lack of an extension means an even greater likelihood that White finds a new home mid-season. He continues to be one of the organization’s more interesting trade chips, and we already know his name came up in conversations around the league earlier this summer (especially around draft night).