That won’t help quiet the trade rumors that continue to swirl around the team.
The majority of the chatter has revolved around two-time All-Star guard Zach LaVine and 2023 All-Defensive First Teamer Alex Caruso. But they are not the only Bulls drawing interest in the trade market.
“Patrick Williams … still intrigues various teams despite his extremely underwhelming start to the season,” wrote Marc Stein of The Stein Line on November 20. “The former No. 4 overall pick and the Bulls did not come to terms on a contract extension before the Oct. 23 deadline for Class of 2020 first-round picks.”
Williams is averaging 5.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.3 assists this season.
Patrick Williams Disappointing Start Fueling Trade Rumors
The points and rebounds are career-lows while Williams’ three-point efficiency has also fallen to a career-low 25.6%. Having been removed from the starting lineup and relegated to the bench for the second year in a row, the idea of Williams needing a change of scenery is not new.
“A lot was riding on Williams taking a leap in his fourth season. The Bulls entered this season still viewing him as a potential star and hoped his development would be the missing piece in their plan,” wrote Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic on November 13. “His contract year is off to a wretched start, and the only thing that might save Williams is a fresh start.”
Williams had nine points on 57.1% shooting in the loss to Miami. That tied his second-best mark from the floor on the season. He added three rebounds and two blocks.
He will be a restricted free agent after this season.
“I’ve never been good at the business of basketball, to be honest. It really hasn’t been much of an importance of mine up to this point,” Williams said via Mayberry on October 23. “My main focus for now is really just try to get this team over the next hump, get myself over that hump.”
The Bulls control what happens with Williams this offseason. They will have the right of first refusal on any offer sheet he signs next offseason. That is presuming they extend the qualifying offer to him. But Mayberry also notes that this situation has familiar earmarks of another that did not turn out well for the Bulls.
A Damning Comparison
“Time is proving he’s much closer to a role player than a featured player,” Mayberry wrote. “It’s reminiscent of Lauri Markkanen’s final season with the Bulls. And we see what a change of scenery did for him.
Markkanen was the No. 7 pick in the 2017 draft.
Markkanen spent four seasons with the Bulls. By the end was coming off the bench and, he says, playing without any joy for the game. The Bulls traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. He spent one season before they traded him to the Utah Jazz as part of a package for Donovan Mitchell.
The 7-foot, sharpshooting Markkanen earned Most Improved Player honors last season. Perhaps that reality is still sticking with Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas, who traded Markkanen.