The Chicago Bulls made some bold decisions ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline and in the subsequent offseason, going all-in. They spent a ton of draft capital and money to create a core of DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso around Zach LaVine and recent first-round draft picks Coby White and Patrick Williams.
When healthy, that group looked like they could make some noise in the Eastern Conference. They were near the top until Ball’s knee injury, which has sent them spiraling since. The Bulls never recovered without their starting point guard last season and things haven’t gotten any better during the 2022-23 season.
Chicago is currently 9-13 but their outlook isn’t very bright. LaVine cannot shake his knee ailments and Ball isn’t going to be returning any time soon as they try and pinpoint exactly what is wrong with his knee. Williams hasn’t developed as they had hoped, which is arguably the biggest disappointment as the Bulls wouldn’t include him in any trade talks.
Right now, this is a franchise stuck in a bad spot. They aren’t good enough to truly contend but nowhere near bad enough to have a legitimate shot at a top pick in the draft with the veterans on the roster.
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This is a team to keep an eye on in the coming weeks as they will have to decide whether to make another last-ditch effort to improve the team or start the teardown process. It is a harsh reality facing the Bulls, but this is what happens when you go all-in and it so clearly isn’t going to produce the results you were hoping for.
One player that has gotten lost in the shuffle this season is White. The North Carolina guard was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. After not working out a rookie extension with the team, he is heading toward restricted free agency and is eligible for a $9.9 million qualifying offer according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
Regardless of which direction ownership opts to take, White is someone that is a clear trade candidate. He has seen his opportunities and production drop once again and a change of scenery could do the scoring combo guard some good.
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Coby White has proven a capable playmaker with some good scoring ability. He made strides with his 3-point shot last season but has regressed across the board this season as he no longer looks to be a part of the team’s long-term plans.
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