‘I’ve seen it all.’ Coby White focuses on consistency amid Zach LaVine trade rumors and Chicago Bulls roster turmoil.

Coby White has been here before.

He’s no stranger to a roster rebuild. Or a coaching change. Or the overhaul of an entire front office. So when trade rumors began to swirl again this month, the Chicago Bulls starting point guard chose not to worry.

“I’ve seen it all,” White told the Tribune. “A lot of people come and go. I’ve been through a whole change. It doesn’t really bother me. I really don’t even think about it. Live in the moment, stay in the present. At the end of the day, you gotta be prepared for anything.”

Next to nothing remains of the Bulls team that drafted White with the No. 7 pick in 2019. Former general manager Gar Forman and former coach Jim Boylen were both fired 18 months into his arrival to Chicago. The ensuing years were defined by a full-scale rebuild as the Bulls brought in coach Billy Donovan and new players like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević and Lonzo Ball.

But during all that change, one thing has stayed constant: Zach LaVine.

LaVine is the only remaining player besides White from that 2019 roster. And in those tumultuous five years together, LaVine has become something of a big brother to White.

He modeled how to be a professional athlete. He developed a special skill for detecting when White had fallen into a mental funk. He could sense when the guard needed a word of encouragement: “Keep your head, bro. You’re good. Remember how talented you are.”

When the future felt unclear in Chicago, White said LaVine’s consistency kept him levelheaded.

“Zach has seen me grow up in the NBA,” White said. “Our relationship goes beyond basketball. I’m grateful for that relationship. He has always believed in me and pushed me and given me confidence.”

This season is far from the first time White has watched LaVine weather trade rumors. LaVine has been included in speculation throughout the past three years as the Bulls have attempted to find a new route to postseason success.

But this round of rumors is different. LaVine has been blunt about the reality of this season — continued losses will result in a roster rearrangement. And while the Bulls have been interested in hearing offers for LaVine in the past, this is the first time LaVine has mirrored that interest as he reportedly looks outside Chicago.

For White, that hasn’t changed anything about LaVine as a teammate and a leader in the locker room.

“Whenever it’s brought up or talked about, he’s always the same guy,” White said. “He’s just Zach. At the end of the day, I’m not surprised by it. He doesn’t change who he is or anything like that. He’s been a constant in the locker room and a constant for me.”

White hopes to stay in Chicago — especially after inking a three-year, $40 million contract and buying a new home in Lincoln Park in August. He’s also pragmatic about the current situation in Chicago. He knows the team isn’t doing enough with a 5-10 record in the opening month. He knows the trade rumor frenzy will only pick up if this pattern continues.

But White also isn’t a fan of leaning into the speculation. Until change becomes concrete, White said he’ll stay focused on himself — a trait that he believes extends to Bulls players.

“Everybody’s been the same,” White said. “We know how it is. Most of us have been in the league for multiple years. At the end of the day, you can’t control what’s going on outside the court, media and all that extra stuff. But we’re still the same guys in the locker room. We’re still positive, still get along well. That’s how we have to be.”


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