Coby White

Injury Notes: Diakite, P. Williams, C. White, Zion, Lakers

Thunder forward Mamadi Diakite has been diagnosed with a left hip fracture and has been ruled out indefinitely, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter links). Diakite sustained the injury during Sunday’s preseason game against Milwaukee, Mussatto adds.

It’s an unfortunate turn of events for Diakite, who was claimed off waivers by the Thunder last month and was trying to prove he deserved a spot on the regular season roster. Only $100K of Diakite’s minimum-salary contract is guaranteed, making him a potential casualty of a roster crunch.

Although the Thunder haven’t revealed their plans for their 15-man regular season roster, they’re carrying 13 players on guaranteed contracts, and Kenrich Williams is a lock for the roster despite his non-guaranteed salary. That leaves just one available 15-man spot — if Diakite’s injury takes him out of the running, Gabriel Deck and D.J. Wilson would likely be the top contenders for it.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Bulls forward Patrick Williams appears to be nearing a return. He participated fully in Wednesday’s practice and said his injured ankle “feels good,” per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic (Twitter link). Meanwhile, Bulls guard Coby White, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, still isn’t close to being cleared for contact. Head coach Billy Donovan said on Wednesday the team is about three or four weeks away from determining the next step in White’s rehab process (Twitter link via Cody Westerlund of 670TheScore.com).
  • Pelicans head of basketball operations David Griffin said last month he thought Zion Williamson, who underwent offseason foot surgery, would be ready for opening night. However, head coach Willie Green confirmed on Monday that Williamson still isn’t running or participating in team activities, according to William Guillory of The Athletic, who says Zion’s uncertain status leaves New Orleans in limbo with the regular season around the corner.
  • Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is hopeful that Malik Monk (groin) and Kendrick Nunn (ankle) will be ready to go by opening night, per Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group (Twitter links). However, veteran guard Wayne Ellington is dealing with a hamstring strain that makes him more of a question mark for the start of the season.

Central Notes: Markkanen, Carlisle, White, Pistons

The Cavaliers lavished Lauri Markkanen with a four-year, $67MM contract in a sign-and-trade with the Bulls and they have big plans for him offensively, as Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer details. Markkanen won’t just be firing 3-pointers — he’ll have the ball in his hands often on post and elbow isolations and his new team wants to showcase his playmaking ability.

“He is a dynamic offensive player, and we want him to show his whole skill set,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Pacers coach Rick Carlisle says the roster was built to enhance his desire for an improved defensive mindset, according to Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files“Guys that we brought in on two-ways and Exhibit 10s also are tough-minded, defensive-oriented guys,” he said. “Hard play is such an important part of success in our league. I think everybody knows that, but we’ve really gone that direction with guys that we’ve brought in.”
  • Coby White may have the talent to be a starting point guard in the league but it won’t happen with the Bulls, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic opines in his latest mailbag post. The commitments to Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso greatly diminish White’s chances of remaining with the franchise long-term. Mayberry takes on a number of topics, including his skepticism regarding the franchise’s desire to retain Zach LaVine for the long haul.
  • Pistons coach Dwane Casey wants to push the pace but not at the expense of high turnover numbers, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. It will be a challenge, considering that young guards in Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes will frequently be running the offense. One of the solutions is to cut down on the number of times his wings attempt one-man fast breaks.

Bulls Notes: White, Ball, DeRozan, Stotts

Bulls guard Coby White is limited at training camp after offseason shoulder surgery, but he’s making progress toward an early-season comeback, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. White has started dribbling and shooting and took part in some open-court drills after Tuesday’s practice ended.

“I’m able to do pretty much everything on a basketball court. I just struggle with left hand, overhead shots — such as, like, layups — but I can pretty much do anything,” he said. “Right now I’ve just been working on strengthening my shoulder and getting it stronger because I ain’t used it for a long time.”

The Bulls are hoping to have White back by mid-November, which will mark five months since his operation. When White does return, he’ll have to fight for playing time after the offseason additions of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso, but he’s excited about the new-look backcourt.

“Lonzo’s gonna really help the team as a major piece,” White said. “He’s so unselfish, and as a point guard, he’s great defensively, which is one thing that I can (learn) from him.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Ball called it a “pretty easy” decision to sign with the Bulls, according to Michael Mulford of Yahoo Sports. Ball, who received a four-year, $84MM offer shortly after free agency began, said he always considered Chicago to be the front-runner. “They really didn’t want me to change anything I had going, any part of my game,” he said at media day. “They wanted me to excel in the things I’m already comfortable doing so it was an easy choice for me like I said and then I think Zach (LaVine) had a big part to play, as well.”
  • DeRozan isn’t fazed about the idea of having so many score-first players on the roster, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. DeRozan, LaVine and Nikola Vucevic are used to being the primary scorers for their teams and now they have to find a way to combine their talents into a cohesive offense. “It’s basketball at the end of the day,’’ DeRozan said. “You put me out there, I’m going to figure out whatever needs to be figured out for us to be successful. I don’t overthink it. I think that’s when a lot of people get in trouble – when you try to overthink this game. It’s a simple game. You understand what it takes, what needs to be done and you go out there and execute it and do it to the best of your abilities. That’s what it’s all about. I don’t get caught up in ‘I got to do this, do this.’ Whatever it takes to win, that’s all I care about.”
  • Former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts was an observer at Bulls practice, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. Head coach Billy Donovan explained that it’s common to host college coaches and former NBA coaches to get their perspectives on the team.

Patrick Williams To Miss 4-To-6 Weeks With Ankle Sprain

12:27pm: The timeline for Williams’ recovery is based on the date he was injured, which was September 15, tweets Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. That should put his return sometime between October 13-27.


11:09am: Bulls forward Patrick Williams may miss the start of the regular season after suffering a severe sprain to his left ankle, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The team confirmed the news (via Twitter), stating that the injury happened during an optional individual workout and Williams is expected to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks. Chicago opens its season October 20 against the Pistons.

Williams is coming off a strong rookie season in which he started all 71 games that he played and averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per night. He also gave the Bulls a strong defensive presence on the perimeter.

In the same tweet, the team provided an injury update on guard Coby White, who underwent surgery on his left shoulder in June. The Bulls say White has made “steady progress” and is expected to be ready to play in November.

Bulls Exercise 2022/23 Options For Coby White, Patrick Williams

The Bulls have exercised a pair of rookie scale team options, locking in guard Coby White and forward Patrick Williams for the 2022/23 season, the team announced today in a press release.

While decisions on standard team options are typically due right before free agency begins, teams have to make their decisions on rookie scale team options a year in advance. By October 31, clubs must either exercise or decline third-year options for first-round picks from 2020 and fourth-year options for 2019’s first-rounders.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2022/23 Rookie Scale Team Options]

White was a starter for the Bulls this past season, but figures to come off the bench following the team’s acquisition of Lonzo Ball in free agency. The 21-year-old averaged 15.1 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 4.1 RPG on .416/.359/.901 shooting in 69 games (31.2 MPG) in 2020/21. His ’21/22 debut may be delayed, since he’s coming off left shoulder surgery.

Williams, the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft, was also a full-time starter last season as a 19-year-old rookie. His role for 2021/22 remains unclear, but the former Florida State standout looks like a key part of Chicago’s long-term plans. He put up 9.2 PPG and 4.6 RPG on .483/.391/.728 shooting in 71 games (27.9 MPG) last season.

White’s fourth-year option for 2022/23 is worth $7,413,955. He’ll now be extension-eligible during the 2022 offseason and would be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023 if he doesn’t sign a new deal next year. Williams’ third-year option for ’22/23 will pay him $7,775,400. The Bulls will have to decide on his fourth-year option for 2023/24 by October 31, 2022.

Eastern Notes: Goodwin, Bulls, Wizards, Knicks

Former Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin worked out for the Celtics this week, Chris Grenham of Forbes Sports tweets. There’s mutual interest in a training camp invite, though no contract has been signed. Goodwin saw action in 47 games with Atlanta last year, averaging 4.9 PPG and 2.0 APG.

He played on a $1.7MM contract last season and became a free agent when the team failed to extend a qualifying offer. He didn’t play in the postseason, partially due to a respiratory condition.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • While most of the rotation spots are a given, the Bulls will have a number of intriguing training camp battles, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes. Marko Simonovic could work his way into the mix at both power forward and center, while Troy Brown Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. will compete for second-unit minutes at the wing. Free agent signee Alex Caruso and Coby White will fight for backcourt minutes once White fully heals from shoulder surgery.
  • Oddsmakers don’t think much of the Wizards, but they may be underestimating what the front office did this offseason, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. PointsBet has a 34.5-win over/under line for the Wizards, 12th among Eastern Conference teams, and ESPN’s experts peg them as the 11th-best team in the conference. However, Washington improved its depth this summer and project to be an improved defensive unit, Hughes notes.
  • The Knicks get a B-minus from The Athletic’s Zach Harper as their offseason grade. While the backcourt was upgraded with the addition of Kemba Walker, Harper believes the small forward spot didn’t improve all that much by replacing Reggie Bullock with Evan Fournier. They also didn’t improve in the frontcourt spots, in Harper’s estimation.

Central Notes: J. Jackson, George, White, Markkanen

Josh Jackson may be the most expendable player in the Pistons‘ training camp battle for roster spots, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. When Hamidou Diallo re-signed last month, it gave Detroit 16 guaranteed contracts. Sources tell Edwards it took longer than expected to reach a new deal with Diallo, but he was always in the team’s plans.

Jackson is set to make $5MM in the final year of a deal he signed last offseason. The former No. 4 overall pick was productive in his first season with the Pistons, averaging 13.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 62 games, but Edwards notes that he’s just an average defender and an unreliable three-point shooter (30% last season). There may also not be enough minutes for Jackson, Diallo and Frank Jackson, who all play similar roles.

Edwards names Jahlil OkaforRodney McGruder and Sekou Doumbouya as other candidates to be traded or waived to reach the regular season roster limit of 15. Okafor will make $2.13MM in the final year of his contract, while McGruder has a $1.67MM expiring deal and isn’t expected to play much. Doumbouya is still on his rookie contract, but Edwards points out that he remains a raw prospect and is left over from the previous front office.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons have officially announced the return of George David as assistant general manager. He held the same position from 2012-14 before leaving for the Wasserman Media Group. “I’m excited to return to the Detroit Pistons and help Tom Gores, Arn Tellem and Troy Weaver in the restoring effort of the franchise,” David said. “Detroit has always been home for me and I know how passionate the city and region is about their sports teams.  Troy’s vision for building the roster aligns with the core values of Detroit Basketball and I look forward to playing a role in the continued rise of the organization.”
  • Even though the Bulls stocked up on guards this summer, there should be playing time available for Coby White once he returns from surgery on his left shoulder, states Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Collier sees White as a back-up to Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, and he may be on the court with Alex Caruso in three-guard lineups.
  • The Cavaliers will pay Lauri Markkanen $15,690,909 for the upcoming season with slight raises throughout his new four-year deal, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Markkanen will make $16,475,454 in 2022/23, $17,259,999 in 2023/24 and $18,044,544 in 2024/25, giving the contract a total value of more than $67MM, although only $6MM of the final season is guaranteed.

Eastern Rumors: Ball, Rose, Tucker, Portis, Allen, Williams, Fournier, Schroder, Horton-Tucker

The Bulls are looking to make to major additions to shore up their point guard position, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have been linked for months to Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball and there’s thought to be mutual interest between the two sides on a four-year deal worth more than $80MM. If the Pelicans extend a $14.36MM qualifying offer to Ball, he’ll be a restricted free agent — the Bulls would have to give him an offer sheet and hope New Orleans doesn’t match it, or work out a sign-and-trade with the Pels.

The Bulls may have some competition from the Celtics, who have been recently mentioned as a potential Ball suitor after dealing away Kemba Walker. There’s increasing speculation the Celtics will not look to re-sign unrestricted free agent Evan Fournier, says Fischer. That possibility increased significantly after the Celtics agreed to acquire Josh Richardson from the Mavericks.

Chicago is also considering another Derrick Rose reunion and there’s mutual interest. It’s uncertain if the Knicks and head coach Tom Thibodeau can convince Rose, an unrestricted free agent, to re-sign with them if the Bulls make a hard push. However, Chicago will likely need to shed salary in order to bring in both Ball and Rose and the Knicks have plenty of cap room to outbid the Bulls for his services. While that’s a best case scenario in the Bulls’ eyes, they’re intent on adding two point guards this summer, especially with Coby White out indefinitely after undergoing left shoulder surgery, per Fischer.

Fischer offers up a number of other interesting items:

  • The Bucks are interested in bringing back two of their prominent free agents. They’d like to re-sign defensive specialist P.J. Tucker on a contract in the neighborhood of two years and $20MM. They are also hoping to re-sign forward Bobby Portis and the feeling is mutual. Since the Bucks only have Non-Bird rights on Portis, they’d have to use their mid-level exception to give him a starting salary higher than about $4.3MM.
  • The Cavaliers view the Raptors as their main threat to re-signing restricted free agent Jarrett Allen. Toronto’s interest in Allen surfaced last weekend. However, Cleveland is likely to match any offer sheet for Allen. The Raptors are also eying Kings free agent Richaun Holmes.
  • League sources think Lou Williams, one of the league’s top reserves, could re-sign with the Hawks on a veteran’s minimum deal, sys Fischer.
  • The Knicks, who need to add scoring punch, have expressed interest in Fournier. They’ve also been linked to Lakers guards Dennis Schroder and Talen Horton-Tucker. Schroder will be looking for a new home after the Lakers agreed to acquire Russell Westbrook. Previous reports have indicated the Knicks’ potential pursuit of Fournier and Schroder. Horton-Tucker is a restricted free agent after the Lakers extended a qualifying offer, though the team has the option of pulling it off the table.
  • According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, there’s support within the Knicks organization to pursue Nets free agent Spencer Dinwiddie and he’s interested in remaining in New York. Devonte’ GrahamKendrick Nunn, and Kyle Lowry are some other potential targets at point guard. At the wing, the Knicks have some interest in the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan and they’ve had discussions with the Magic this week regarding a potential Terrence Ross trade.

Coby White Undergoes Left Shoulder Surgery

5:05pm: The left shoulder surgery White underwent on Thursday addressed a labrum injury, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Although the Bulls plan to reassess White’s recovery in four months, his anticipated recovery timeline could range from four-to-six months, Johnson adds.


3:45pm: Bulls guard Coby White underwent surgery on his left shoulder on Thursday, the team announced today in a press release.

White had a relatively healthy season in 2020/21, appearing in 69 of 72 contests and not missing a game during the final month of the season. However, he injured his shoulder this past weekend while “engaged in basketball activities away from the team,” according to the Bulls.

The club’s statement indicates that White will be re-evaluated in four months, which means he may not be available for the start of the 2021/22 season.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic reported today, the NBA sent a memo to teams announcing that training camps will begin on September 28 and the regular season will tip off on October 19. Four months from today would be October 10.

White’s injury shouldn’t have much of an impact on the Bulls’ offseason plans, however. Even if the former lottery pick were healthy, Chicago was still expected to make it a priority this summer to add a point guard via trade or free agency.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Williams, Markkanen, Simonovic

The bold moves that the Bulls made at the trade deadline didn’t get them into the playoffs, but star guard Zach LaVine is encouraged by the direction of the franchise, writes Jamal Collier of The Chicago Tribune. Chicago shook up its roster in late March, including a blockbuster trade to acquire All-Star center Nikola Vucevic from Orlando. The organization is hoping LaVine and Vucevic will be the foundation of the team for years to come.

LaVine is eligible for an extension next season or he could opt for free agency in 2022. Either way, it appears he wants to remain with the franchise.

“Obviously with the trade, it made us a lot better, and I loved it,” LaVine said. “I love it here in Chicago. And I think everybody understands the business of basketball and anything can happen, but I let that stuff handle when it comes by. I don’t think too far into the future about it. I don’t stress about it either. I try to let my game do the talking for me, but also try to worry about the things I haven’t accomplished yet, like winning. This year was great, but also frustrating at the same time.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • LaVine is already looking ahead to next season and is planning offseason workouts with some of his teammates, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. He has invited rookie forward Patrick Williams, who is planning to play in the Summer League, and second-year guard Coby White. “I think that’s a good bonding and team exercise for us, especially in the offseason,” LaVine said. “You’re away from your guys, and everybody needs time away, but once you start ramping back up these are the dudes you’re going to be in battle with. I want to help them just like other players helped me when I was younger going out there and working out.”
  • In his comments to the media on Monday, executive VP of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas stressed that the Bulls’ front office will remain aggressive going forward in its efforts to improve the roster, as Sam Smith of Bulls.com relays. “We will not settle for mediocrity here,” Karnišovas said. “We’re going to add talent to our roster and from there get better and come back improved and better so we don’t have to sit out another postseason.”
  • Coach Billy Donovan and Karnišovas are expressing support for Lauri Markkanen, but their public comments don’t mean they’ll make a strong effort to keep him when he hits restricted free agency this summer, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Karnišovas called Markkanen “an essential part of our team” after a disappointing season that saw him lose his starting job.
  • Karnišovas said draft-and-stash prospect Marko Simonovic is in the team’s plans for the future and will be evaluated further after his season ends, Schaefer tweets. A second-round pick in 2020, the 21-year-old center played in Serbia this year.