Making the jump from being a bad or even a middling team to a good one can be a daunting task. However, taking that next step up to the contender’s table is a whole other level of evolution. Against all odds, that’s the situation the Chicago Bulls are facing now.
Led by DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, the Windy City crew has established itself as a force to be reckoned with in the East. So, with the NBA trade deadline just one month away, Bulls VP Arturas Karnisovas is no doubt weighing the benefits of cashing in on some of his younger assets in an effort to acquire a player who can facilitate the next big jump.
Coby White has been the poster child for that kind of move. At the least, a segment of the Bulls fandom has championed the notion of swinging him for a big-time, win-now piece. Others aren’t so sure, however.
For his part, Bulls insider KC Johnson believes that the team could rue the day it dealt the former No. 7 overall pick, if a trade ultimately comes to fruition.
To Deal or Not to Deal?
As relates to moving White as part of a package for another star piece, Johnson wrote the following, via NBC Sports Chicago:
With the Bulls atop the Eastern Conference and potentially opening a championship contention window ahead of schedule, taking a big swing for a piece like the Pistons’ Jerami Grant or the Kings’ Harrison Barnes certainly would cost Patrick Williams and maybe White.
Trading him also could be a mistake.
At the least, it would be a tough pill to swallow.
Grant and Barnes are definitely players capable of raising the Bulls’ profile. However, White is a homegrown talent who met expectations early and has shown growth during years two and three. And at just 21 years old, he could develop to the point that he’s making a star turn of his own.
He has been especially good as of late, too.
White Has Been Showing Out
When White finally made his return after an extensive shoulder rehab, there was a level of concern about his ability to regain his footing. Over his first six appearances, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged just 3.8 points and 1.3 assists per game while shooting a paltry 24.3% from the floor.
That, combined with the fact that Lonzo Ball had essentially been brought in to take his starting spot, threw fuel on the fires of fan trade chatter.
More recently, though, he has been playing some of his best basketball. Over the last six games, White has put up 18.7 points, 4.3 assists and 1.0 steals per contest. Meanwhile, his shooting numbers for the year — 44.5% overall, 38.6% from deep — are the best of his career.
This could just be a hot streak; as noted by Johnson, White has gone on similar runs previously. This one could be different, though, and his efforts off the bench may be a necessary ingredient for a real title run.
“I’m hoping he’s gaining some confidence in terms of his value for what he can do for our team,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, via NBC. “It’s an important role for us.”