The rookie extension deadline has come and gone and the Bulls did not come to an agreement with Coby White, which makes him a restricted free agent in the summer of 2023.
Other players from the 2019 Draft class have signed lucrative deals with their respective teams. Jordan Poole, Tyler Herro, Anfernee Simons, Darius Garland, Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Brandon Clarke and Nassir Little among them.
But no such agreement has been made with White, who through his first four seasons with the Bulls, has largely not lived up to his status as seventh overall pick. While the aforementioned players have broken out at some point or another, White has flashed potential, but has not proven the requisite level of high caliber play that would incentivize the Bulls to sign him longer term.
This news is not at all surprising. If there was an agreement to be had, it would have had to have been a very team-friendly deal. Given the way White has played, he isn’t worth whatever number he would be hoping for. He will point to the 14-3.8-3.8 stat lines from his first two seasons, but the Bulls know he has lacked consistency.
For White, it makes more sense to bet on himself and try to garner a large offer sheet from another team in the summer.
The Bulls are willing to let this play out. Even if he did blow up, they would have the ability to match any offer he gets through his restricted free agency. Alternatively, they could send him out in a sign-and-trade the way they did with Lauri Markkanen, who net them Derrick Jones Jr. and a protected first round pick from the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Bulls rebuild process, which lasted from 2017 to 2020, looks less fruitless by the day. Markkanen, Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr. are now on different teams. And it seems White could be heading that direction.
Still, White has a chance to prove himself and doing that would be best case scenario for both sides. If he becomes a legitimate rotation player, the Bulls are better for it and he has a chance at a higher pay. If he struggles, he’ll have a chance to develop with another team on his next deal.
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