Coby White

Central Notes: Pistons, Bucks, Coby White, Pacers

The Pistons currently hold the seventh pick in the 2020 draft, but like many teams may consider trading back to add future draft equity. James L. Edwards III of The Athletic examines several hypothetical deals Detroit might make.

Although guards Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton have been considered as possibilities were Detroit to stay put, Edwards opines that several high-quality players could still be available if the Pistons trade lower in the lottery. Edwards views the Celtics, who have three first-round draft picks, as optimal trade partners.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Though the Bucks carried a stellar defense and the best record in the league into the playoffs, the team was quickly dispensed in the second round of the 2020 playoffs by the fifth-seeded Heat. Eric Nehm of The Athletic weighs several trade and free agent options for shoring up Milwaukee’s frontcourt. Center Brook Lopez made an All-Defensive team this year, but Nehm considers flipping Lopez for a more aggressive pick-and-roll defender like Pacers big man Myles Turner, or adding someone like Danilo Gallinari, Markieff Morris, or Harry Giles in free agency.
  • Bulls guard Coby White, who made the 2020 All-Rookie Second Team, may be ready to take a leap during his sophomore campaign, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
  • As we previously relayed, Pacers ownership anticipates scheduling three finalists for meetings prior to the end of October. Former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, current Pelicans assistant Chris Finch, and current Heat assistants Dan Craig and Chris Quinn could be in the mix for those three interviews.

Central Notes: White, Casey, Pacers, Cavaliers

Bulls guard Coby White has his sights set on becoming a full-time starter with the franchise next season, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.

White, 20, was selected No. 7 overall by the franchise in 2019, impressing onlookers in his rookie campaign this season. He averaged 13.2 points, 2.7 assists and 25.8 minutes per game, coming off the bench in every contest but one. He’s spent significant time in the gym and weight room since the NBA season was postponed due to COVID-19.

“Work out, that’s about it,’’ White said when asked about his recent routine. “I was able to hoop a little bit when I was home, but I’ve been back in Chicago for two or three months. Really, all I can do is come to the gym, work out, kind of doing the same thing every day — one player per basket, get some stuff done in the weight room. Other than that, it’s all it’s really been.’’

White recognizes the importance of staying ready, since Kris Dunn – who started in 32 of 51 games this season – is set to reach restricted free agency. Players were still working out individually as of Friday, according to Cowley, with full intrasquad scrimmages scheduled to begin later this week.

“I think the big thing is just all coming together, getting a feel for each other,’’ White said. “Just getting that team chemistry back. We’ve been away from each other for so long and we haven’t played with each other in so long, so for us to just get back all on the court together it’ll be good for us. And you know, with everything going on in the world, some of us haven’t really played basketball or been down and played five-on-five in so long, so in that aspect it’ll be good. Cause for a lot of us basketball is our therapy.’’

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • The Pistons are eyeing a short route back to winning, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press details. Detroit finished with a 20-46 record this season, suffering from multiple key injuries and setbacks along the way. “We’re not really rebuilding here in Detroit,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “I think our basketball fans deserve a lot. We like to use the word ‘retooling,’ ‘restoring’ as much as ‘rebuilding.’ It doesn’t have to take a long time because if our young guys are making the progress we expect them to make, it shouldn’t be a long-term restoring.”
  • Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files examines what Pacers players are hoping to see from their next head coach. Indiana fired Nate McMillan from his position in August, ending his four-year tenure as head coach of the team. “It’s up to me to step up to the plate and find the right person to lead the locker room again and be creative as a new-age coach,” team president Kevin Pritchard said last month.
  • Kelsey Russo of The Athletic poses a number of questions the Cavaliers hope to answer in the team’s upcoming training camp, including how Dylan Windler is adjusting to playing and whether Collin Sexton‘s game has evolved off the ball. The first day of group training begins on Wednesday, September 23, marking roughly six months since players last played 5-on-5 in Cleveland. Andre Drummond (personal reasons) will miss the team’s camp, according to Russo, while impending free agents Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova also won’t participate.

Bulls Notes: Unseld, Coaching Candidates, FA Targets

Nuggets assistant Wes Unseld Jr. made a stronger case for the Bulls‘ head coaching vacancy after Denver defeated the Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Tuesday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski notes that Bulls executive vice president Arturas Karnisovas, who worked in Denver’s front office with Unseld, already thought highly of him. The 44-year-old assistant coach also received a ringing endorsement from Nuggets head coach Mike Malone after their victory in Game 7. “Wes Unseld should be a head coach,” Malone said.

Unseld is reportedly among 10 candidates who were a part of Karnisovas’ original list for the Bulls’ head coaching job.

Here’s more from the Windy City:

  • K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago evaluates the 10 candidates connected to the Bulls’ head coaching vacancy. Johnson notes that outside of former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson and former Thunder head coach Billy Donovan, the rest of the candidates are assistant coaches. Former Bulls coach Jim Boylen was an assistant before getting promoted to head coach.
  • Bulls rookie point guard Coby White potentially divulged some inside information about the team’s head coaching search on Wednesday, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. White was asked by reporters what he wants in the next head coach and mentioned the team’s timeline for the position. “We haven’t talked about the new coach because it’s so spread out right now. They haven’t really narrowed it down to the people that — I think, don’t they narrow it down Friday or something like that?” According to Cowley, there are indications that Chicago has moved on to the second round of interviews, with the first round reportedly wrapping up last week.
  • In his latest mailbag, Sam Smith of Bulls.com takes a look at some potential free agent targets for Chicago. Smith writes that if veteran forward Otto Porter opts into his $28MM player option, the Bulls will be over the salary cap. Therefore, the team will likely be out of the running for a top-tier free agent until next offseason. That being said, Smith likes Markieff Morris or Marcus Morris, along with Davis Bertans, and possibly former first-round pick Emmanuel Mudiay.

Ja Morant, Kendrick Nunn Headline All-Rookie Team

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, who previously won the Rookie of the Year award, was the only player unanimously selected to this year’s All-Rookie First Team, the league announced in a press release.  A panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters selected the team.

Heat guard Kendrick Nunn collected the second-most First Team votes (98) and total points (197). Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke, Pelicans forward and top overall draft pick Zion Williamson, and Warriors forward Eric Paschall rounded out the First Team.

Morant and Clarke became the first Grizzlies duo named to the All-Rookie First Team since the 2001/02 season, when Pau Gasol and Shane Battier earned the honor. Nunn is the first Heat player named to the First Team since Michael Beasley in 2008/09.

Heat guard Tyler Herro, Raptors guard Terence Davis II, Bulls guard Coby White, Hornets forward P.J. Washington, and Wizards forward Rui Hachimura gained All-Rookie Second Team honors.

Knicks wing and third overall pick RJ Barrett finished 13 points behind Hachimura for the final spot on the Second Team, with Sixers forward Matisse Thybulle narrowly missing a spot as well.

The voting was conducted based on regular-season games played prior to the restart.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, White, Jordan

The Bulls didn’t have the year they’d envisioned heading into the 2019/20 campaign. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic and league stoppage, Chicago was on its way to a third straight lottery appearance, and Zach LaVine is not happy with how the on-court situation was unfolding.

“To be blunt, I’m upset,” LaVine said (via Sam Smith of NBA.com). “We had high expectations coming into the season and it didn’t go our way anyway we could have thought of. We played through some adversity, but we didn’t go out there and do what we were supposed to do as a team.

“… I’ve been in the NBA six years now and it just gets frustrating. I want to be in the playoffs. We really [believed]. I haven’t played in a playoff game and it wears on you. That’s what you work so hard for and continue to play for.”

Here’s more from Chicago:

  • In the same piece, LaVine added that he has high hopes for rookie Coby White. The Bulls selected the point guard with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
  • Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports examines how the Bulls’ 2019 offseason signings panned out and what roles they may have with the club going forward. Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky were the highest-priced acquisitions.
  • ESPN has moved up its Michael Jordan documentary release date. “The Last Dance,” which is a 10-part series that takes an in-depth look at the Bulls’ dynasty, will debut on April 19.

Central Notes: Pacers, White, Cavs, Bone

Thanks in part to the Pacers collecting a $10MM insurance policy on Victor Oladipo, who missed all but 13 games of the postponed NBA season, Indiana’s payroll is scheduled to come in at $104.6MM, the league’s lowest mark. If COVID-19 affects league revenue significantly, the Pacers will be in one of the most comfortable financial situations in the NBA, as J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reports.

Michael notes that a significant drop in league revenue, such as a 5% drop from the projected $115MM cap ($109.25MM) or a 10% decline ($103.5MM), could impede several teams, but the Pacers are stacked with several players on movable contracts.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Bulls rookie point guard Coby White‘s late-season scoring streak (he averaged 23.7 PPG while connecting on 39.8%t of his 8.5 three-point looks) was one of the few positives in a generally dismal 22-43 season for Chicago. Morten Jensen of Forbes wonders what White’s performance means for his club going forward.
  • Despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting the NBA on pause this month, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and his assistants have been maintaining their (remote) connection to the young Cleveland squad, according to Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor.
  • Pistons rookie point guard Jordan Bone logged time with Detroit’s Grand Rapids G League club and the NBA squad this season, and remains an intriguing player for the team’s future, according to Pistons.com writer Keith Langlois.

Central Notes: Wood, Brogdon, Cavs, Bulls

Christian Wood will be reaching the unrestricted free agent market in 2020 on the heels of a career year, and the Pistons‘ big man isn’t pretending that he hasn’t thought about what the offseason might bring, as Keith Langlois of Pistons.com details.

“I know it’s a big summer for me,” Wood said on Tuesday. “I actually think I’m one of the best bigs in this free agency coming up with my ability to shoot and space the floor and be able to play the five and be able to guard and switch on the perimeter. I’ve just got to stay focused. I’ve got to keep with the same mindset, same attitude what I’m doing right now.”

While Wood should draw a good deal of interest on the open market this summer, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of remaining with the Pistons. The fact that Detroit is the team that finally gave him an opportunity to play a regular role is something he won’t forget as he considers his options, per Langlois.

“It’s a huge factor,” Wood said. “Especially with this team being one of the first to actually give me a legitimate chance and playing in games and believing in me and believing in what I do. Especially with (head coach Dwane) Casey, with us establishing a relationship early and throughout right now. It plays a big factor.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

Bulls Notes: White, Harrison, Boylen, Collins

Bulls coach Jim Boylen is reversing his stance on not starting rookie guard Coby White for the rest of the season, according to Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. With the playoffs out of reach, White may be inserted into the starting lineup soon as the team focuses on developing players for next season.

“I think that day is probably coming,” Boylen said after practice this morning. “We’ve talked all year about developing and winning. Is that day coming? I would say, ‘Yes, probably.’ When, I’m not exactly sure.”

White is making a strong case for a starting role with his recent performance. He is averaging 27.7 points and 3.9 assists over the past seven games, and Schaefer notes that his defense and decision making have improved.

“He’s been great, man,” Zach LaVine said. “Just seeing his growth over the last month, he’s getting better every game. Even if it’s not like he’s getting 30 like he was, he’s still doing things that we’re progressing on. He’s growing every game.”

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Shaquille Harrison used his new-found 3-point stroke to put up a career-high 25 points last night, Schaefer writes in a separate story. He has made nine of his last 11 from beyond the arc after shooting 27.7% on 3-pointers for his career. With restricted free agency looming this summer, Harrison is looking for any edge he can find to prove his worth. “I was undrafted, I had a couple offers coming out of high school,” he said. “I’ve always been that last guy they’re looking at, and I knew I had to make an impression that one opportunity or chance I get. So, it’s usual for me, it’s nothing new. I take pride in that, a lot of guys can’t do that.”
  • Boylen is denying reports of a rift with senior advisor Doug Collins, relays K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. The dispute reportedly involves Collins’ presence at coaching staff meetings. “All my interaction with Doug has been very positive. He’s been in my meetings and on the floor with the team,” Boylen said. “I don’t control his schedule or if he’s here or not here. We’ve had a very good, close relationship since he’s been here.”
  • Despite another disappointing season, Boylen continues to have strong backing from ownership and executive vice president John Paxson, Johnson writes in another piece.

Bulls Notes: Boylen, Arcidiacono, Hutchison, Gafford

Frustration among Bulls players is being caused not only by eight straight losses, but by coach Jim Boylen’s unusual timeout strategy, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Boylen called a timeout last night with 30 seconds to play and his team trailing by 10 points. Television cameras seemed to capture Zach LaVine expressing bewilderment over the decision.

“He hasn’t said a word to me about it agitating him,” Boylen said of LaVine. “I don’t know if you’re reading his mind on that or if you’re just making that assumption that that’s what he’s upset about. He hasn’t said a word to me about it. He’s very respectful about me coaching the team and me trying to help the team. So you’ll have to ask him.”

Asked about Boylen’s strategy, LaVine responded, “That’s what he do, man. That’s what he do. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m not the coach. He’s told me he likes working on things that we do in practice and things like that. He’s the head coach. He can call timeout if he wants to.”

Mayberry documents four other instances this month where Boylen has used timeouts in the closing seconds with his team hopelessly behind. He notes that players have been reluctant to buy into Boylen’s coaching methods, and his 36-79 record since taking over hasn’t helped. However, he retains the support of management and was given a two-year extension after last season.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Ryan Arcidiacono has made his first two starts of the season in the two games since the All-Star break, and he’s likely to continue in that role as long as Chandler Hutchison remains injured, Boylen tells K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago“(Arcidiacono starting) keeps Coby (White) in that backup role, where he’s finding his voice and he’s learning to play that (lead guard) position,” Boylen said. “And I think that’s important too. Coby has more of a voice with that second group, and we’re asking him to run that group as efficiently as he can and learn.”
  • Hutchison got a cortisone shot in his injured right shoulder for the second time this season and expressed hope that he will be able to return, although he didn’t offer a target date, Johnson relays in a separate story. Hutchison also indicated offseason surgery may be necessary. “It’s something as a last resort kind of deal. With what’s going on with my shoulder, it could be used to clean it out. Or it could be something that heals on its own,” he said. “Right now, I’m hoping that with rest it’s something I can get to a point where it heals on its own. And then those talks will kind of advance if it gets to that point.”
  • Daniel Gafford tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times that he hopes to use the final six weeks of the season to prove he’s worthy of a larger role in the rotation.

Bulls Notes: Markkanen, Young, Valentine, White

Lauri Markkanen‘s latest injury not only damages the Bulls‘ hopes of reaching the playoffs, it prevents the organization from having clarity on an important long-term decision, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Markkanen will miss the next four-to-six weeks after doctors discovered an early stress reaction of his right pelvis during an MRI. It’s the latest blow to a depleted frontcourt that is already getting by without Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Otto Porter.

The injury figures to complicate offseason negotiations for Markkanen, who will be eligible for a rookie scale extension. Johnson notes that because of injuries, Markkanen and Zach LaVine have played just 106 of a possible 210 games together since LaVine was acquired in a trade with Minnesota.

Short-term plans are for Thaddeus Young to move into the starting lineup at power forward, but Johnson argues that Chicago still needs to explore trade opportunities for Young prior to the February 6 deadline. Porter hopes to return after the All-Star break, while Markkanen’s prognosis would sideline him for 10 to 17 games.

There’s more tonight from Chicago:

  • The Bulls need to find a taker for Denzel Valentine before the deadline, Johnson contends in a separate piece. Valentine has hardly seen any playing time this month after being productive while averaging 15.5 minutes per game in December. Coach Jim Boylen has been vague in his reasons for not using Valentine, who has fully recovered from reconstructive ankle surgery that forced him to miss all of last season. At least one team has expressed interest in Valentine, sources tell Johnson.
  • Boylen won’t alter his way of doing things despite fan criticism and a poor win-loss record, relays Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley noted a lot of empty seats at United Center for Friday’s game with the Kings, but Boylen insists that support for him and the team hasn’t declined. “The fans have been great to me,’’ he said. “For the most part, they understand what we’re trying to do. There’s always going to be people that don’t like where it’s at or where it’s going. I can’t control any of that. All I can control is my attitude, my work, my connection to this team. That’s what I’m going to try and do.’’
  • Markkanen’s injury probably won’t mean more minutes for rookie guard Coby White, Cowley adds in the same piece. Even though the Bulls might need more scoring, the focus for White will remain on development. “His plan won’t change much,’’ Boylen said. “He plays a different position than Markkanen. We’ll get Coby involved and keep developing him as a guard that can lead the team, but also score the ball. Keep pushing him to be a two-way player, which I think is really important for him.’’