The Chicago Bulls just wrapped up their most successful season in the last five years. They got off to a blistering-hot start, and despite cooling off exponentially by the end of the year, they finished as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
But after being swiftly eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks, they could look to make some changes. Sure, injuries got in the way and affected their success, but if they want to compete for a title, exploring the trade market this offseason could be a solid idea.
In turn, they need to figure out what pieces they are willing to trade. Well, according to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, Patrick Williams is not only the best trade chip the Bulls have at their disposal, but the eighth-best trade candidate in the entire league this summer.
“Left wrist surgery severely limited Patrick Williams’ availability in what was billed as a promise-packed sophomore campaign,” Favale wrote. “Rather than harbingers of concrete progress, his 17 appearances instead served to reinforce what he might one day become. And at 20 years old, with two full seasons to go in his rookie-scale contract, that’s more than enough for him to crack the top 10 of this shindig.”
Favale compiled a list that ranked the league’s top trade chips this summer, and Williams was eighth on the list. He ranked one spot ahead of Denver Nuggets guard Bones Hyland and one spot behind Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins.
He sees Williams as a potentially crucial piece on a contending team.
Favale Sings Williams’ Praises
According to Favale, Williams projects to be a top player on an elite team, making him a potential trade target for teams that are looking to solidify their future core.
“Everything known about Williams, so far, nods toward someone who can be one of the top-five players on a ridiculously good team. He has the size and length to be deployed against superstar wings—and a sample of holding up against many of them to go with it. His offense falls firmly under the plug-and-play umbrella,” Favale noted.
In the 17 games he played this past season, Williams averaged 9.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 0.9 assists while shooting 52.9% from the field and 51.7% from behind the three-point line.
Teams that come to mind as potential suitors include the Indiana Pacers, Detroit Pistons, and Toronto Raptors, and the latter of those three teams was brought up by sources who recently spoke with Heavy.com.
Raptors Forward Mentioned as Potential Bulls Target
An anonymous Eastern Conference GM recently spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. He noted that, while the Bulls are particularly attached to Williams, one player they would consider trading him for is Raptors forward OG Anunoby.
“They have veterans, they can’t do too much player development. I think there are a handful of players they might consider trading [Patrick] Williams for—it won’t be easy, they are attached to him—and one of them would be (OG) Anunoby in Toronto,” said the GM. “They need two-way players, guys who can defend and knock down shots. He can be very, very good at both of those things.”
Anunoby has reportedly become dissatisfied with his role in Toronto, and while he has yet to tell them this, it could result in his name popping up in the trade market this summer.
With how valuable Williams is projected to be, trading him could be Chicago’s best pathway to title contention.