There was hope the Bulls didn’t need to address their point guard situation this offseason. Arturas Karnisovas, executive vice president of basketball operations, expressed big expectations for Coby White last month.
“I think he’s going to have a big summer,” Karnisovas said. “He knows exactly what he needs to work on.”
What he needs to work on now is a lot of rehab. The Bulls announced Thursday that White underwent surgery on his left shoulder to repair damage from an injury he sustained over the weekend while engaging in basketball activities away from the team. According to a source, it was a labrum injury. Dr. Brian Cole performed the operation.
The plan is for White to be re-evaluated in four months, at which point a clearer recovery timeline will be known. Four months is the best-case scenario, meaning White will miss out on an offseason of improvement and could start the season on the shelf.
If the Bulls were indeed banking on White’s offseason gains to answer their concerns about starting point guard, his condition will force them to come up with something else. He averaged 15.1 points and 4.8 assists last season, losing the starting job coming out of the All-Star break but earning it back and playing well the last few weeks of the season. However, even when he was drafted seventh overall out of North Carolina in 2019, there were concerns he was more scoring guard than facilitator. That’s why the Bulls were rumored to be making a play for the Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball at the trade deadline in March. And there was speculation they’d be in the market for a point guard this offseason even before White’s injury.
The surgery seemingly leaves the Bulls little choice but to try to upgrade at the position — a process that starts in a few weeks with the draft lottery, which will determine if they keep their 2021 first-round pick. That selection was traded to the Magic in the Nikola Vucevic deal on March 25 but is protected if it’s in the top four.