Coby White

Bulls Notes: DeRozan, Starting Point Guard, Terry

Asked by Mark Medina of Sportskeeda about the belief in some corners of the Bulls fanbase that the team should embrace a rebuild, veteran forward DeMar DeRozan pushed back against the idea that such a reset is necessary.

“I think a lot of people who say that or suggest that really don’t understand basketball at all, in my opinion,” DeRozan said. “You can think that’s an answer or that’s a route. But there’s no telling how long that route is going to even last. That route doesn’t necessarily always work in a timely fashion that you may think it will take. With that, it’s hard to find and create talented players like the players that we already have assembled.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” DeRozan continued. “It’s not only on the players, but the coaching staff as well to be able to correct the mistakes that we have because we weren’t far off at all with the mistakes that we’ve had. If we correct those, give us back the 10 to 15 games that we should’ve had last season. That changes the whole dynamic of everything.

“It’s always easy when something goes bad just to say, ‘Scratch it.’ But you really don’t know where you’ll end up from there. So when I hear people say that, it lets me know and understand that they don’t understand basketball at all.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • In that same interview with Medina, DeRozan expressed interest in representing Team USA in the 2024 Olympics and said he’d be interested in signing a contract extension to remain in Chicago. “That’s a place I want to be and end my career,” the six-time All-Star said. “I want to be able to accomplish everything I’ve set out to accomplish. That’s all I can worry about and control. I have the utmost confidence in myself. I’ll let my agent and the organization deal with that side of things, to be honest, man. From their standpoint, they want me to be there long-term and vice versa. We’ll see what happens from there.”
  • Appearing on The Score (WSCR-AM 670) in Chicago on Wednesday, Bulls president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said the the team’s starting point guard job is expected to be up for grabs in training camp, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I think it’s going to be competition, fierce competition. It’s going to be a lot of good guards,” Karnisovas said. “That’s mentality we’re going into training camp (with.) I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be hard for Billy (Donovan).” The Bulls added Jevon Carter this offseason to join Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, and Alex Caruso in the mix at point guard.
  • In a separate story for NBC Sports Chicago, Johnson explores how Milwaukee’s impending acquisition of Damian Lillard will impact the Bulls.
  • After appearing in just 38 games and averaging only 5.6 minutes per night as a rookie, 2022 first-rounder Dalen Terry worked hard this summer in the hopes of getting the opportunity to earn a bigger role in his second NBA season, he tells Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “You know me, I’ve always got confidence,” Terry said. “That’s not something I ever lack. But I think confidence comes with work, and I know how hard I busted my ass this whole summer.”

Central Notes: Portis, Pistons, White, Carter

Bucks reserve big man Bobby Portis recently spoke about his experience playing on the FIBA World Cup roster for Team USA, as Aris Barkas of Eurohoops writes.

Portis reflected on how this year’s iteration of Team USA hopes to improve on its 2019 predecessor’s No. 7 finish in the most recent World Cup.

“This is a totally different team, not one guy who played in that FIBA World Cup team is on this team and we are just trying to re-identify ourselves, play for each other, play for the name in front of the jersey and that’s the biggest things in those tournaments,” Portis said.

Portis went on to acknowledge that he has something of an international following, especially from the fans of Team USA’s next scheduled opponent, Team Greece, thanks to his Milwaukee comrades Giannis Antetokounmpo and Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

“Giannis and Thanasis are like my brothers and, during the season, I go through my social media and I see tons of fans from Greece, tagging me in photos, DMing me, so it’s pretty cool to see fans from all over the world being fans of myself,” Portis said.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • After several lottery-bound seasons, the Pistons are hoping to take a leap with a talented young roster. Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press identifies five Detroit players who – to his mind – have the most to prove in 2023/24, including 2021 No. 1 draft pick Cade Cunningham, who missed most of last season due to an injury; recently re-signed big man Isaiah Stewart; and former top-10 selections Killian Hayes and James Wiseman.
  • With Coby White now re-signed to a lucrative, multi-year contract, and 3-and-D Chicago native Jevon Carter also in the fold, the Bulls will have a major positional battle for their starting point guard role when training camp tips off, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Cowley notes that White may have a bit of an edge thanks to his built-in chemistry with his teammates, most notably another re-signed Bull, center Nikola Vucevic, in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop actions.
  • In case you missed it, Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball expressed his belief that he will, at some point, return to the hardwood. Ball has been sidelined since January 2022 with a knee injury, and three surgeries later, he has already been ruled out for the entirety of the 2023/24 season.

Bulls GM Says Keeping Nikola Vucevic Was “No. 1 Goal”

The Bulls were determined to re-sign their free agents this summer and center Nikola Vucevic was the top priority, general manager Marc Eversley told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

Appearing on the Bulls Talk podcast, Eversley discussed the need for continuity, especially regarding Vucevic, who has been with Chicago since a trade deadline deal in 2021. Vucevic opted to forgo free agency and accepted a three-year, $60MM extension.

“I’m excited for Vooch,” Eversley said. “There’s not many starting centers in the NBA. So if Vooch were to go away, how would you replace him? Those options were just not appealing to us. So retaining him became the No. 1 goal of the offseason.”

Vucevic will turn 33 in October, but he’s coming off a productive season. He played 82 games for the first time in his career and averaged 17.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per night while shooting 52% from the floor and 34.9% from beyond the arc.

The Bulls also re-signed guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu, setting up a battle for playing time in a crowded backcourt. They added Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig as well to cap off a productive free agent session.

On the first night of free agency, White committed to a three-year, $36MM deal that could reach $40MM with incentives. He’s coming off the worst scoring season of his career at 9.7 PPG, but the Bulls are happy with other parts of his game.

“Coby White had, I thought, a terrific year last year. I think the growth he has shown over the last three years has been second to nobody on the roster,” Eversley said. “I think his ability to shoot (and) he’s much more comfortable handling it now. He doesn’t get pressured or panic anymore.

“He has found his voice in the locker room. He has become a quiet leader. We’ve seen growth and development from him. And that’s why it was critical to bring him back.”

Dosunmu, who started 51 games in his second NBA season, signed a three-year, $21MM contract as a restricted free agent. He earned second-team All-Rookie honors in 2022, but experienced a decline in his three-point shooting last season.

“He would not argue with me; he didn’t have quite the second year he thought he might’ve,” Eversley said. “Call it a sophomore slump. But we’ve seen him in the Advocate Center and how hard he has worked from the end of the season to today and there’s nothing but good things that are going to happen to him.”

Bulls Notes: Dosunmu, Carter, LaVine, DeRozan

Ayo Dosunmu understood that nothing would be guaranteed when he decided to re-sign with the Bulls, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. After receiving a three-year deal worth $21MM as a restricted free agent, Dosunmu now has to prove that he’s worthy of consistent playing time.

With Lonzo Ball out for the season, Chicago appears to have a three-man competition for the starting point guard role. The organization also invested in the re-signed Coby White, who got $33MM over three years, and free agent addition Jevon Carter, who signed for three years at $20MM.

“You know I always want to come out here and compete,” Dosunmu said. “Anybody who says they don’t want to start, they would be not telling the truth. But that’s something that will be taken care of in training camp. … I’m going to make a way. That’s all I can say. I’ve always found a way. I’m going to continue to find a way.”

There’s more on the Bulls:

  • Carter, a native of the Chicago area, credits Derrick Rose for inspiring his NBA career (video link). Carter is thrilled to be playing in his hometown after spending time with four teams in his first five seasons. “When I started to watch Derrick Rose, he was really one of the ones that made me believe that going to the NBA was possible,” Carter said.
  • Trade speculation surrounding Zach LaVine has calmed down, but it’s likely to resume when the season begins, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. League sources told Cowley they got the impression that the Bulls were exploring their options with LaVine this summer. Even though executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas was pleased with the strong finish to the regular season, Cowley cautions that changes could be coming if the team doesn’t get off to a good start this fall. Cowley also points out that LaVine is Chicago’s only maximum-salary player, and the new CBA could make teams reluctant to add big money in trades.
  • Appearing on Iman Shumpert‘s podcast, DeMar DeRozan said it feels like the NBA is trying to de-emphasize the mid-range game, but he doesn’t mind going against the tide (hat tip to Josh Buckhalter of “The threes, that’s cool. I’m not never against that or anything,” DeRozan told Shumpert. “But sometimes it’s a complete game that you could have too, playing basketball. And I think so much of that gets lost by so many threes being shot.”

More Contract Details: White, Lyles, A. Holiday, Draymond, D-Lo, More

Coby White‘s new contract with the Bulls and Trey Lyles‘ new contract with the Kings both include unlikely incentives that could increase the value of those deals, Hoops Rumors has learned.

White’s three-year pact is guaranteed to be worth at least $36MM and has $1.3MM in annual incentives that could push the guard’s earnings up to $40MM in total. As for Lyles, he’ll make $8MM guaranteed salaries in each season of his two-year deal with Sacramento and could earn another $1.2MM in bonuses, which would increase the overall value of the contract to $18.4MM ($9.2MM per year).

Here are a few more details worth noting on several recently signed contracts:

  • Aaron Holiday‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Rockets is only partially guaranteed. Holiday is assured of about $1.05MM and would receive his full $2.35MM salary if he remains under contract through at least January 7.
  • Draymond Green‘s four-year, $100MM contract with the Warriors includes a 15% trade kicker, while Jevon Carter‘s three-year, $19.5MM deal with the Bulls has a third-year player option.
  • Only the first season of Julian Champagnie‘s new four-year, $12MM contract with the Spurs is guaranteed. For each of the following three years, he’ll have to remain under contract beyond August 1 to guarantee his salary for that season.
  • A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year deal (or a two-year deal with a second-year option) has the right to veto a trade, since he’d lose his Bird (or Early Bird) rights if he’s dealt. However, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows a player to waive that right to veto a trade when he signs that sort of contract, and Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell became the first player to do so, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Alex Len also waived his right to veto a trade as part of his new one-year deal with the Kings, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Bulls Re-Sign Coby White To Three-Year Deal

July 7: White’s deal is now official, the Bulls announced in a press release.

June 30: Restricted free agent guard Coby White is re-signing with the Bulls, agreeing to a three-year, $33MM contract, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) the deal is worth $40MM, with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago clarifying (Twitter link) that it could “potentially” be worth $40MM. That implies there will be incentives in the contract that could increase the value.

Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports was first to report that White was likely to return to Chicago on a three-year deal worth north of $30MM. Chicago made White a restricted free agent on Wednesday by extending him a $7,744,600 qualifying offer.

White is entering his fifth NBA season after being drafted by the Bulls with the No. 7 overall pick in 2019. He appeared in 74 games (two starts) last season, averaging 9.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 2.7 APG with a .443/.372/.871 shooting line in 23.4 MPG.

Several of those counting stats from ’22/23 represented career lows for White. However, he’s only 23 years old and improved in key developmental areas last season, including defense, ball-handling, decision-making and passing.

White figures to receive regular minutes again in ’23/24 with Lonzo Ball‘s status very much up in the air. Ball unfortunately had a third knee surgery that may sideline him all of next season — if not indefinitely.


Coby White Likely To Re-Sign With Bulls

Restricted free agent Coby White is considered likely to re-sign with the Bulls on a three-year deal, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reports. The contract is expected to be worth more than $30MM, according to Fischer.

Chicago made White a restricted free agent by extending him a $7,744,600 qualifying offer on Wednesday.

White is entering his fifth season in the NBA after being drafted by the Bulls with the No. 7 overall pick in 2019. While he hasn’t lived up to his draft status, White has been a regular part of the Bulls’ rotation in his four pro seasons.

White saw action in a career-high 74 games (two starts) last season. He averaged a career-low 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 23.4 minutes per game. Overall, he’s appeared in 269 career regular-season games, averaging 12.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

The combo guard figures to retain at least a second-unit spot, given Lonzo Ball‘s ongoing knee issues. The Bulls are interested in re-signing unrestricted free agent Patrick Beverley, who jumped into the starting lineup after being signed on the buyout market last season.

However, Beverley has another potential suitor in the Celtics, according to Fischer. Boston traded away Marcus Smart to Memphis in the Kristaps Porzingis three-team blockbuster and the Clippers have reportedly shown renewed interest in Malcolm Brogdon.

Beverley joined the Bulls last season after he was bought out by Orlando and started 22 games. He was dealt by the Lakers in a four-team swap at the trade deadline.

Bulls Sign Nikola Vucevic To Three-Year Extension

3:12pm: The Bulls have issued a press release officially announcing Vucevic’s extension.

“During his time in Chicago, Nikola has proven that he is a special player both on and off the court,” executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a statement. “He has produced at an elite level since we acquired him and will remain an integral part of our foundation moving forward. Nikola’s willingness to do whatever is asked of him to help us win, while also being an established veteran leader for our group, makes him a valuable component of the culture of our organization. He is a consummate professional and tremendous teammate, which plays a big role in making us an attractive destination for other players. We are excited to have him continue to be part of our journey.”

2:42pm: The Bulls and Nikola Vucevic are nearing an agreement on a three-year, $60MM contract extension that would keep the veteran center off the free agent market, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Vucevic, 32, was acquired by the Bulls at the 2021 trade deadline in a deal with Orlando. Since arriving in Chicago, he has averaged 18.2 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game with a .492/.342/.812 shooting line in 181 total regular season appearances (33.2 MPG).

Vucevic isn’t an elite defender, but he’s a talented scorer and rebounder who has been remarkably consistent during his first two full seasons with the Bulls — he averaged 17.6 PPG, 11.0 RPG, and 3.2 APG in both 2021/22 and ’22/23.

Like fellow big man Naz Reid, Vucevic had been extension-eligible this season, so he didn’t have to wait to reach the open market this weekend if his goal was to re-up with his current team.

The Bulls were considered a good bet to reach a new deal with Vucevic before or during free agency for multiple reasons. For one, their guaranteed contracts and the cap holds for restricted free agents Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu would almost certainly make them an over-the-cap team with or without Vucevic on the books, so they wouldn’t have had a clear path to replace him at the same salary slot if they’d let him walk.

There has also been a sense, as Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports wrote today, that Chicago didn’t love the idea of letting Vucevic go after paying such a steep price to acquire him from the Magic two years ago. That trade netted Orlando a pair of lottery picks – Franz Wagner and Jett Howard – in addition to young center Wendell Carter.

Assuming they officially finalize an extension with Vucevic by the June 30 deadline, the Bulls can shift their focus to free agency, where they’re expected to re-sign guards White and Dosunmu, according to Fischer. A new deal for unrestricted free agent Patrick Beverley is also a possibility, Fischer adds.

The Bulls project to be about $27MM below the luxury tax line after signing Vucevic, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks, though that estimate could vary depending on the exact structure of Vucevic’s extension, as well as Andre Drummond‘s player option decision. Once he officially signs, Vucevic will become ineligible to be traded for six months.

Meanwhile, an already-thin group of free agent centers will take another hit with both Vucevic and Reid off the market. Jakob Poeltl and Brook Lopez are the headliners at the position, with veterans like Mason Plumlee and Dwight Powell among the solid second-tier targets for teams in need of size. However, there aren’t a lot of reliable veterans available beyond those top few guys.

Cameron Johnson, Coby White Among Players Receiving QOs

A series of players have been issued qualifying offers by their respective teams, making them restricted free agents, according to RealGM’s official NBA transaction log.

Nets forward Cameron Johnson and Bulls guard Coby White are among the most notable QO recipients within the last couple days. Johnson’s qualifying offer is worth $8,486,620, while White’s is worth $7,744,600.

For many restricted free agents, qualifying offers essentially function as placeholders, giving the team the right of first refusal on the player as long as that QO remains on the table.

It’s also a one-year contract offer that the player is free to accept at any time, which is a more viable route for some RFAs than others — Johnson, for instance, looks like a safe bet to secure a lucrative multiyear deal, so it would be a major surprise if he simply accepted his $8.5MM qualifying offer.

Besides Johnson and White, here are some of the players who have received qualifying offers this week and are now restricted free agents, per RealGM:

The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers is Thursday, so we’ll likely get many more updates on QOs being extended to players today and tomorrow.

Bulls Notes: Ball, Free Agency, White, Dosunmu, Jordan

It doesn’t appear that the Bulls will be getting their starting point guard Lonzo Ball back anytime soon. In remarks made to reporters after Thursday’s draft, team president Arturas Karnisovas poured cold water on the idea that he could return to the hardwood in 2023/24 at all.

“Going into the offseason, our [expectation] is that he’s not coming back next season,” Karnisovas said, tweets Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Since agreeing to a four-year, $80MM sign-and-trade deal with Chicago in the summer of 2021, Ball has appeared in a grand total of 35 contests for his new team.

If he so chooses, Karnisovas could opt to file for a disabled player exception. The exception would be worth half of Ball’s salary and would give the Bulls another tool to sign or trade for a replacement. It would only be granted if Ball is deemed more likely than not to remain sidelined through June 15, 2024.

There’s more out of the Windy City:

  • Speaking of free agency, Karnisovas indicated that he hopes to add more long range shooting to the Bulls’ spacing-challenged roster this summer, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “We’re trying to change our shooting profile,” Karnisovas said. “Being last in the league in rate from 3 and 3-point makes, we’re going to try to address that in the offseason.”
  • According to Johnson, Karnisovas also indicated that Bulls ownership is amenable to entering the luxury tax in pursuit of improvement, something the team has only ever done once. The Bulls’ president of basketball operations also suggested that Chicago would extend qualifying offers to guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu, making them restricted free agents. White showed significant strides at the end of the 2022/23 season, and makes sense to retain. Dosunmu, meanwhile, regressed considerably during his second season, to the point where he became virtually unplayable in Chicago’s two play-in contests this spring, suiting up for an average of 5.5 MPG.
  • With former Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan in the midst of selling the franchise, it’s high time he bought a stake in the team where he became a Hall of Famer, opines Jon Greenberg of The Athletic. Jordan intends to continue to hold a minority stake in Charlotte for now, but Greenberg argues that the former Chicago shooting guard could divest from the Hornets to buy a solid share of his old team. As Greenberg notes, nowhere is Jordan more beloved than in the city where he cemented his legend, winning six titles in eight seasons while being widely heralded as the greatest player ever.