The Bulls Have Reportedly “Rejected” Certain Trade Offers for Coby White
Reports about what the Chicago Bulls might do at the NBA trade deadline have been minimal at best. The team’s core trio of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic have barely been mentioned as legitimate trade candidates (despite the reported interest), while only a couple of role players have heard their names thrown into rumors.
Among them, you’ll find second unit guard Coby White, who’s been the most popular trade bait for Chicago over the past year. Not only has he struggled to carve himself out a consistent role over his first few seasons in the league, but the Bulls also invested in lot of backcourt talent two summers ago. White also happens to be up for a fresh contract this upcoming offseason, and getting something in return for his talent via trade makes the most sense if the Bulls have no plan to pay him.
Both Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report and K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago mentioned that White was available still available in January. More specifically, Johnson told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that White’s name has been thrown into “a lot of talks.”
The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry all but confirmed the notion that the Bulls have received calls on White, but also stated that Arturas Karnisovas has already rebuffed offers:
“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.
I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know how much stock to put into this comment. On the one hand, of course they rejected some offers. They aren’t going to jump at the first opportunity that comes their way, and they shouldn’t. You got to play at least a little bit of hardball to get back a worthwhile return.
On the other hand, is leverage the only reason they’re turning some folks away? The alternative is that they are genuinely not interested in moving White anymore and keeping him off the table, which … um … well … I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.
The Bulls have absolutely no reason not to listen to offers on White. While he’s put together arguably the most well-rounded season of his career (showing real growth as a ball-handler and defender), he’s also averaging the fewest minutes and points of his career. They should plan to accept whatever the best deal is on Feb. 9 if the plan isn’t to pay him his next contract this summer.
But what if they do plan to pay him that contract? I guess the front office could be working under the belief that they can keep White on a very team-friendly deal. As long as he continues to show the gradual improvement we’ve seen this season, that’s certainly not the worst thing in the world.
A lesser desire to trade him could also signal a greater desire to shake-up the top part of this roster. In other words, keeping White would make sense if the Bulls plan to take a step backward. He’s still just 22 years old with a knack for scoring the basketball. If winning isn’t the top priority, you might as well continue to try to develop him alongside fellow youngsters like Dalen Terry, Ayo Dosunmu, and Patrick Williams.
My guess is still that the Bulls “rejected overtures” are far more about the former point than the latter. The Bulls’ front office likely wants to get as much as they possibly can for him, and this is their way of trying to accomplish that. But, hey, we’ll see what the rest of the deadline brings. White is under team control as an RFA this summer, so Arturas Karnisovas can wait this one out.