Now that the Bulls’ postseason hopes are officially over, the front office has a list of offseason issues to address. The status of guard Coby White is one of them.
Entering the game Saturday against the Nets, White was averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 assists and shooting 43% from three-point range in the Bulls’ first seven games in May.
Those numbers would seem to indicate the point-guard problems plaguing the Bulls for most of the season have been solved. Still, it’s a small enough sample size that it simply could be a mirage — a thought that was reinforced when White shot 1-for-10 against the Nets.
Not surprisingly, White didn’t agree with the mirage part.
‘‘Disregard everything that happened [earlier] this year; I just feel like I’m continuing to grow,’’ White said of his progress as a point guard. ‘‘I don’t really feel like it’s a thing where, ‘At the end of the season, he gets hot.’ Nah, because I feel like this year I’ve been growing and learning and everything is starting to come together at the right time.
‘‘I feel like if you live right, you do the right things, everything will come together for you. So that’s how I see it.’’
Is that how executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas will see it, however?
White was handed the point-guard job out of camp and struggled with consistency at both ends of the court until he was benched for Tomas Satoransky in mid-March. White earned the starting spot back a month later and has played at a much higher level since.
What the front office has to decide is whether White has shown enough that the Bulls can address other positions this summer or whether he is a combo guard who still needs a veteran mentor.
Dennis Schroder, Lonzo Ball (restricted), Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry and Chris Paul (player option) might be on the market, but they also would come with big price tags.
White’s stance is that the Bulls already have invested in him and that he’s only getting better.
‘‘A lot of guys my age, especially getting taken out of the starting lineup, you could’ve handled that two different ways,’’ White said. ‘‘You could’ve pouted and just said, ‘Forget it,’ or you could’ve just kept playing and continue to get better and continue to stay on the grind. And I chose to continue to stay on the grind and continue to keep playing. And then my number got called, and I took advantage of it.
‘‘I feel like I have the best job in the world. I don’t even look at it as a job, really; I look at it as a dream come true. I’m going to continue to get better and continue to grind. I still have a long way to go.’’
The Bulls have only seven players under contract for next season, and that includes Satoransky and forward Thad Young, who have partial guarantees in the final season of their deals.
As it stands now, center Nikola Vucevic will be the highest-paid player at $24 million for 2021-22, followed by guard Zach LaVine ($19.5 million), Young ($14.1 million), Satoransky ($10 million), forward Patrick Williams ($7.4 million), White ($5.8 million) and swingman Troy Brown ($5.1 million).
That list likely will grow to eight players with guaranteed deals because forward Al-Farouq Aminu holds a player option at $10.1 million. The Bulls have a team option on guard Ryan Arcidiacono at $3 million.
If Karnisovas is looking to deepen his payroll pockets and pursue a point guard, such as Ball, waiving Young and Satoransky before free agency would save him an additional $13.1 million.