Monday was the last day for rookie-scale eligible players to agree on extensions with their respective teams before the 2022-2023 NBA season kicks off. Several deals were sealed, and most players, especially from the 2019 draft class, agreed to extensions throughout the off-season.
Explosive guards like Tyler Hero and Jordan Poole, who were first-round picks in 2019, signed deals worth millions of dollars. This was, however, not the case with the seventh pick in that draft class.
The Chicago Bulls did not reach any agreement with their guard Coby White. This didn’t come as a surprise, though, because most people saw it coming. Given White’s unstable performance and the ups and downs in his first three seasons in the NBA, this was a possibility.
With no contract extension, Coby White will be a free agent in the 2022-2023 NBA season.
Coby White is going to WORK tonight. pic.twitter.com/rnSOoqkow3
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 23, 2021
White’s NBA future with the Bulls is uncertain
White’s situation is an intriguing one. White has been an instrumental player on the Bulls’ roster, but he’s no longer what they anticipated. So the Chicago Bulls didn’t just know what to do with their guard.
They almost traded him, especially after his brutal close to the season. But on second thought, they retained him. The Bulls’ lack of a 3-point shooting guard played a significant role in their decision to keep White.
He ranked third on the team in both 3-point makes per game (2.2) and 3-point attempts per game (5.8). Remember, the Chicago Bulls ranked last in 3-point attempts last season. So trading away a player with a high 3-point rate at a time Lonzo Ball’s injury situation remains unknown would have been a costly decision.
On the other hand, White’s inconsistency has been sickening throughout his three-year career. His inability to significantly impact the court when he’s not shooting has also been a concern. The Bulls currently need a player who, besides shooting, can be mobile and play two-way, but White isn’t that player.
And they can no longer wait for him to develop, yet there are other younger players making a greater impact. He’s extremely team friendly, but the Bulls felt he didn’t do enough to warrant an extension.
So all these put White in a very tricky situation. His future in Chicago is uncertain, though he’s just 22 with valuable basketball skills. How Donovan juggles his rotation will be a concern as he enters a prove-it campaign. This is the season that could make or destroy him.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 12, 2022
White is Concentrating on the season ahead
Historically, contract negotiations, or lack of it, have been a great distraction to most players. It’s, therefore, wise for the Bulls not to let that happen to Coby White.
As much as the last season didn’t go as expected, White has been a very committed player. And even throughout the extension negotiations, he remained calm and focused.
“I just play basketball, bro. I’m just looking at it as another season. Come in, help my team. We’re really focused on winning here, going to the second round of the playoffs, and so on,” White told reporters while in training camp. “Whatever I can do to help my team do that, that’s all I care about. And I believe everything else will take care of itself.”
White has been one of the most flexible players on the Bulls roster. He started his role as an off-the-bench scorer but became a starter in the 2021-2022 season. It’s the arrival of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso that saw him relegated to the bench again.
He’s going to remain in the reserve role, awaiting any possible deals to come his way. And White will be competing for minutes in the crowded backcourt with players like Goran Dragic and rookie Dalen Terry. Still, he is in a better position to make an impact for the Bulls and convince potential employers that he’s actually not what they thought.
Coby White is putting his attention only on the team after failing to reach an extension. pic.twitter.com/Gks6ATfMC6
— Bulls Nation (@BullsNationCP) October 19, 2022
Professional career highlights
The Chicago Bulls picked Coby White, a former North Carolina Tar Heels player, in the first round of the 2019 NBA draft with the seventh overall pick. He became the first player from North Carolina to be drafted in the first round by the Bulls since Michael Jordan in 1984. He has since played 195 career games and was named to the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2020.
White has averaged 12.7 points, 3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and shot 36.5 percent from 3-point range in his career.
He plays as a combo guard but has always changed roles. White started as a reserve scorer. He then took over as the Bulls’ starting point guard before being moved to the bench with the signing of Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. White underwent shoulder surgery in June 2021 and was ruled out for at least four months.
Coby White: "I didn’t lead us well enough to give us a chance to win. Back to the drawing board, learn from it, take it how it is and continue to get better. We’ve got 71 more. I’m looking forward to Saturday. We’re going to be ready on Saturday for sure.” pic.twitter.com/hcL39rI1MM
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 24, 2020