Erik Spoelstra May Already Be Recruiting Bulls Players With Team USA

Getty Patrick Williams, Steph Curry and Zach LaVine

The Chicago BullsPatrick Williams is already turning heads during his involvement with the Team USA Select squad. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has seemingly taken a liking to him. Don’t get it twisted. Every player and coach is there to represent their country, but the entire Team USA experience has long been used as a way to network, communicate and to potentially plant seeds for future allegiances.

Spoelstra will be Williams’ head coach for the events. During a press conference, long-time Bulls writer Sam Smith asked about the way Williams matched up with the actual Olympic team. Spoelstra spoke glowingly about the Bulls’ young forward.

Spoelstra said:

The USA team has this incredible firepower, right? A lot of 30-point scorers, a lot of guys who can facilitate and help space for those guys. But it starts with having players who are physically capable of being on the same court and Patrick is quite a physical specimen—strong, agile. He can play either the wing position or that versatile 4 position. He is set up in the future to be a great two-way basketball player, to be able to defend virtually everybody on the floor, whatever your scheme may be. Then, offensively, his game has already really grown. You can tell he is extremely dedicated to having that kind of improvement.

Here is a look at the entire session with Spoelstra.


Erik Spoelstra Talks Tyler Herro on Select Team, Bam Adebayo in 'Perfect Situation' on Olympic Team2021-07-07T01:37:16Z

The Bulls Aren’t Letting Williams Walk Away

Because Williams is coming off his rookie season, Chicago will still have contractual control over him for several years. Translation: even if Spoelstra loves him and badly wanted him in Miami, he wouldn’t be able to go the free-agent route for several years.

The only way for the Heat to get Williams any time soon is via trade, and that is a tough one to construct, even for the most optimistic and creative fantasy trade assembler.

The Bulls may only have two, true untouchables on their roster. Zach LaVine is one of them, and you might have an argument about whether the other is Williams or Nikola Vucevic.

In any case, it is pretty clear, the Bulls plan to build around those three primarily. It would appear Chicago would at least listen to an offer for all three, but a trade is highly unlikely in all cases.

The only reason the Bulls’ brass might listen to trade offers for LaVine is because he is going to be a free agent at the end of the season. While it appears he is committed to staying in Chicago, there is always a chance when free agency is a part of the equation.

Vucevic is already on the wrong side of 30, though he is still an elite post scorer, three-point shooter and defensive rebounder. However, he is challenged on the defensive end which presents a problem at times in this era of position-less basketball.

Williams had a steady rookie season, but he didn’t explode. That said, many people around the league seem to have a take on Williams that is similar to what Spoelstra said during the presser. Because of that, Williams would probably be a part of any potential blockbuster deal the Bulls completed that would bring a third star to the team to play with LaVine or Vucevic.

Again, it would appear the Bulls’ preference would be to keep all three.


Zach LaVine Will Be Both a Recruiter and Target as Well

While we’ve talked about Williams as a target for the admiring eye, LaVine is the more immediate attraction for star players and coaches who appreciate the Bulls’ star ascension to one of the top players in the league at his position.

As I mentioned, LaVine appears to be committed to the Bulls so he should be on the prowl to convince guys to come and play with him in the Windy City. However, if Chicago fails in its efforts to find an upgrade at point guard and/or gets off to a slow start in the 2021-22 season, things could get dicey.

LaVine wants to win, and as he is now in the prime of his career, he knows the time to move in that direction is here. If he starts to believe the Bulls are too far away, he could exercise his right to sign with a team that he feels gives him a better opportunity. That might be with Spoelstra in Miami, or even with his former head coach Tom Thibodeau in New York.

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