Analyst Says Bulls Rookie, Not Zach LaVine, Should Be ‘Untouchable’

Patrick Williams

Getty Patrick Williams shoots the ball over Brook Lopez during an April 30 game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Nothing about the Chicago Bulls 2020-2021 season went as planned, and it’s left them in a somewhat grey area walking into the offseason trade market and free agency.

With both Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine in-house, it’s unclear whether they’ll opt to go all-in on another trade or play out the season with the current roster makeup.

If they do go the route of trading for another star, say Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard for example, fans feel strongly about including rookie forward Patrick Williams in any deal.

The fourth overall pick in last year’s draft averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game for Chicago this season.


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Hughes: Bulls Rookie is ‘Untouchable’

In his latest piece for Bleacher Report, Who Should Actually Be Untouchable on Every NBA Roster?, Grant Hughes hand-picked one player from each roster that should be retained at all costs.

When it came to the Chicago Bulls, he went with Patrick Williams, who’s logged just one year in the Windy City:

Patrick Williams’ career is still in its infancy, but his combination of youth and potential for success in a critical role makes him the pick for the Chicago Bulls.

The former fourth overall pick played all but one game for the Bulls, and on a number of occasions was tasked with guarding the opposing team’s best player, like Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James.

What he showed in those matchups is exactly why Hughes argues Williams could be a franchise cornerstone type, hence, making the 19-year old Chicago’s ‘untouchable’ talent.

That, and Zach LaVine’s pending contract extension and 2021 free agency:

Zach LaVine is Chicago’s best player, but he’ll hit free agency after 2021-22 if he doesn’t sign an extension this summer. Though a league exec told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps at the trade deadline that both LaVine and Williams were untouchable, you’d have to think that of the two, LaVine’s contract status now makes him more likely to be moved than Williams.

If the Chicago Bulls explore deals for players of Damian Lillard’s caliber, then that would signal a commitment to winning now, with a roster featuring Nikola Vucevic, and more notably, Zach LaVine.

That doesn’t mean they’d have to give up Patrick Williams, but trust it’s a name that would be featured in trade talks.

But if they were to utilize Zach LaVine as a trade chip, the potential return could be


Former NBA Exec Proposes LaVine-Simmons Swap

Ben Simmons to Chicago?

In his latest piece for The Athletic, John Hollinger discussed the situation that now faces the Philadelphia 76ers, and whether or not it’s worth exploring the trade market for Ben Simmons.

Ultimately, the former Memphis Grizzlies’ executive concluded that it wouldn’t be worth the trouble (at least this summer) after thumbing through the kinds of players that a trade return might feature.

Unless it meant landing Zach LaVine:

This takes us to one final option, the one that maybe doesn’t seem like the most appetizing at first, but the one that ultimately might be Philly’s best chance of salvaging this era…Zach LaVine.

Hollinger cited the All-Star’s contract situation as a potential motivator for Chicago:

Chicago is in a tough spot with a potential extension on him, either needing to cut back on offseason moves to do a renegotiation-and-extend or let him play out his walk year and hope it can re-sign him at or near the max.

LaVine is coming off of a career seventh season, in which he averaged 27.4 points, five rebounds, and 4.9 assists.

There’s a lot of upside (particularly on the defensive end) in pairing Simmons with Patrick Williams, an already proven NBA defender at age 19.

But what that would mean for the Chicago Bulls moving forward is unclear.

READ NEXT: Bulls Have a History with the 38th Overall Pick, and it’s Complex


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