Bulls Refuse to Trade Former Top 10 Pick in Deal to Land 3-Time All-Star: Report

Patrick Williams and Coby White of the Chicago Bulls.

Getty Patrick Williams and Coby White of the Chicago Bulls.

As the offseason gets set to begin, the Chicago Bulls will undoubtedly be active in the trade market. Though they made significant progress toward their goal of an NBA title last season, upgrading their current roster is a must if they hope to compete with the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Rumors that Chicago, in an attempt to address defensive deficiencies, could try to trade for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert have been circulating. But even for Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, there’s one player whom the Bulls would not give up to get him.

“The Bulls do not appear willing to include Patrick Williams … in a trade package for Gobert, sources told B/R,” Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report wrote in a June 14 story about the likelihood of star free agent Zach LaVine re-signing with the team.

Williams, a third-year power forward, appeared in only 17 games for the Bulls because  surgery in October kept him off the court until mid-March, so he wasn’t able to have the breakout season that many expected of him. Still, he appears to be a key part of the Bulls’ future and an integral complement to the team’s core of DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic.

“A talent evaluator I respect greatly who worked for another team is convinced Williams has the physical and athletic tools to be one of the best players from [the 2020] draft,” NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson wrote on March 30.

Fischer Proposed Bulls-Gobert Trade

Fischer had already written about the possibility of a Gobert trade involving the Bulls, mentioning that Williams would provide the Jazz with some much-needed defensive help on the perimeter. Fischer wrote that Bulls center Nikola Vucevic would likely be part of any trade for Gobert.

“Vucevic-for-Gobert seems to make more sense for Chicago, in the Bulls’ efforts to fortify a defensive attack around LaVine,” he wrote in a June 7 story. “And while Vucevic is generally considered a net negative on the defensive end, the popular package that’s been mentioned by league executives of Vucevic and second-year forward Patrick Williams would introduce the perimeter defender the Jazz have long been said to covet.”

Utah will likely be looking to retool its roster this summer after being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs three of the past four years despite having two stars, Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, in the lineup. According to an April 29 story by The Athletic’s Tony Jones, the Jazz are committed to building its roster around Mitchell, a 25-year-old three-time All-Star, perhaps making Gobert, who’s been with the team since 2013, expendable at 30 years old.

Proposed Trade Deals Vucevic, Young Guard for Gobert

A trade proposed by Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report in his June 13 story would see the Bulls deal multiple pieces for Gobert, all while keeping Williams on the roster. His trade idea would send Vucevic, Coby White and Marko Simonovic to the Jazz for Gobert.

White would give the Jazz a young prospect to pair with Mitchell, while Vucevic would help them remain competitive now. However, if Utah wants to play hardball, demanding Williams in any trade would probably be their go-to asking price.

Regardless, it seems as though the Bulls are not willing to let it get to that point. They want Williams in Chicago next year and won’t give him up even if it means losing Gobert.

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