Alright, I am not exactly sure how true or untrue this trade rumor is, but let's talk about it. According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, rival executives say the Chicago Bulls are open to trading third-year guard Coby White but do not want to move second-year forward Patrick Williams.
Let's dive into each player, what they bring to the table, and the current state of the Bulls to evaluate this premise.
If we were evaluating Coby White a few short weeks ago, his value would have been down. White has played a total of 20 games for the Bulls this season. He missed the first part of the year due to offseason shoulder surgery and he also missed time on the COVID-19 list. His first 10 games of the 2021-22 NBA season were dreadful and uncharacteristic of his true ability. He averaged, 6.0 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 1.4 APG and shot 34% from the field and 20% from three-point range during that span.
Now, keep in mind, White missed out on offseason training and preseason action. It took some time for him to work his way back into being the volume scorer Bulls fans have become accustomed to. Once he got comfortable, the scoring increased and he helped lead Chicago to nine straight victories.
Over his last 10 games, White has averaged 17 PPG, 3.4 APG, and 2.4 RPG. He's 52% shooting from the field and 48% from three-point territory in those contests. White has come into his own as the scorer the Bulls needed off the bench.
So, would it be a good idea to move Coby White? He has certainly raised his value, but he's also a very important piece for the Bulls as they strive to be a legitimate contender.
Now, I do not have a book to write on Patrick Williams as I did for Coby White. Look, I may even be a little biased here. Not because I do not like Williams or see potential in him, but because he holds the most value for a trade. Williams brings size, athleticism, and the potential to be a future running mate of Zach LaVine once DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic are gone a few years down the road.
In his rookie season, Williams started and played in all 71 games of the regular season. He averaged 9.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, and added in one steal per game. He shot 48% from the field and 39% from downtown. Williams showed flashes of excellence but oftentimes seemed invisible. Listen, sometimes that happens in a player's rookie season.
In his five games before a potential season-ending wrist injury this season, Patrick Williams looked lost surrounded by his new teammates. Again, he's a young player and that's okay. There is no telling if he would have fit in better if not for the injury. During that brief pre-injury stint, Williams averaged 6.6 PPG, 2.2 RPG, and under one assist per game. He shot 56% from the field on 4.6 attempts and 50% from behind the arc on 1.2 attempts per game.
What Should The Bulls Do?
I am not going to sit here and pretend I know exactly what the right move is for the Bulls. But I will tell anyone reading this one thing: trading Coby White would be a mistake. His firepower upon checking into a game complements the versatile defenders off the bench very well. That combination is a MUST-HAVE as Chicago heads toward the playoffs.
The Bulls currently hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference, a feat they've achieved mostly without Patrick Williams. Nobody knows for certain Williams' future will hold, but the Bulls have a legitimate shot at chasing an NBA Championship this season. As of late, trade rumors have surfaced involving Jerami Grant or Harrison Barnes as the potential missing piece to put the Bulls over the top. What do those players have in common with Williams? They play the same position.
Whatever the Bulls front office decides to do, I'll support it. Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have brought this team back from the depths of basketball hell. I just hope they see that even though Williams has loads of potential, White is here and now helping lead the charge. It's a difficult decision to make, but that magic word -- "potential" -- can often land more of a return in a competing season.