Former Top Pick Could Prevent Bulls From Landing $125M Star

Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls reacts to a play.

When the next move has to be the best move, things can get dicey. The Chicago Bulls have found that out not once, but twice as they moved on from a pair of high lottery picks only to see both find their footing in different surroundings.

The ascension of both Wendell Carter Jr. with the Orlando Magic and Lauri Markkanen with the Utah Jazz has been well-documented.

In response, the Bulls have gone into an overprotective shell.

That shell has already kept them from landing at least one win-now piece and could very well keep them from another and possibly play a part in their disconnect with two-time All-Star Zach LaVine. The situation begs the question that has yet to have a real answer from the tight-lipped Bulls: what would it take for them to trade Patrick Williams?

Williams a Must for Collins

One of the players around the league that are most often discussed in trade conversations, Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins, just returned to action in their 126-125 win over the Orlando Magic.

But rumors of his departure from Atlanta being imminent have led to several teams being linked to the high-flying big man including the Bulls.

However, the Bulls might be keeping themselves out of the running.

“The Bulls have not budged off their stance on Patrick Williams,” a rival Eastern Conference executive tells Heavy Sports NBA insider Sean Deveney, “which is basically that they’re not even discussing him. If you are going to get a player like Collins, it is going to cost you Williams.”

Collins signed a five-year, $125 million contract last season but reports out of Atlanta are the team was hesitant to give it to him. There was even a trade request from Collins’ representatives during early contract negotiations.

Chicago will get a good look at Collins when the Bulls visit the Hawks on December 21 in the second leg of a back-to-back.

He’s mired in a down season but does have a 20-point, 10-campaign under his belt.

Deveney throws out the idea of a package including Willams along with Coby White, big man Nikola Vucevic, and the first-round pick the Bulls own via the Portland Trail Blazers with the exec adding that the enigmatic former fourth-overall pick is a necessity in the deal.

Is Williams Worth It

Williams has been inconsistent despite being force-fed a starting role. He is averaging 11.3 points on 63.5% true shooting over the last seven games since being re-inserted into the starting five (thanks to an injury sustained by his replacement Javonte Green) after a one-game hiatus.

At one point, he said that he was feeling like he had what it takes to be a superstar. Two games later he was demoted calling the decision an “expected” one.

The Bulls invested $215 million in LaVine this past summer and, despite his ceiling, they could have a difficult time recouping that value on the trade market. He has not been the same player this year after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason.

It is fair to wonder if the roster is constructed in a way that complements him as it should.

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