The Chicago Bulls came storming out of the gates in their regular-season opener, dropping Jimmy Butler and last season’s top-seeded Miami Heat, 116-108. Moreover, they picked up the W despite the fact that franchise cornerstone Zach LaVine was held out due to left knee injury management.
Looking long-term, though, one could make the argument that the biggest story of the night was Patrick Williams getting the start after a weird preseason in which the former No. 4 pick found himself relegated to the second unit for a handful of games. That said, he didn’t make much of a case for remaining with the first team when he played.
Rather, Williams scored just four points on 2-of-6 shooting with two boards and no assists. Meanwhile, Chicago was actually outscored by four points in his 24 minutes on the hardwood.
So, it should come as no surprise to hear that one analyst has joined those that have been uttering the “trade” word with increased frequency as of late.
B/R: Williams Could Find Himself on the Block
On Wednesday, Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley took a sidestep back into the world of trade chatter, namechecking the top three ballers from every team in the Association who could be talked about as trade assets. For the Bulls, Williams was No. 1 with a bullet, and it had everything to do with the aforementioned inconsistency.
“If the rest of this roster is ready to compete for something of substance and he simply isn’t, there could be a scenario in which Chicago flips him for more immediate relief,” Buckley opined.
Whether or not the Bulls would actually consider moving him is anyone’s guess. This much is certain, though — keeping Williams to this point may have cost them an opportunity to acquire one of the superstars that were said to be available recently.
“Had the Bulls made Williams available at any point over the last 12 months, they may well have won one of the superstar sweepstakes,” Buckley said.
A Sea Change in Chi-Town?
Buckley made a point to re-establish that Williams has been held in incredibly high regard by the Bulls, which could be a large part of the reason why any possible talks regarding a superstar move didn’t bear fruit. The hoops scribe further suggested that, in all likelihood, little has changed in the ensuing months.
“The fact he still resides in the Windy City suggests he’s unlikely to be heading elsewhere any time soon,” Buckley added.
At the same time, though, Buckley believes that the recent weirdness could be the beginning of a sea change among Bulls decision-makers, should they witness more games from Williams like the Bulls’ opener.
“His preseason demotion to the second unit had folks talking for the wrong reasons about his long-term outlook, so maybe views are changing about 2020’s No. 4 pick,” Buckley posited. “He looks the part of an impact two-way wing, but his potential far outweighs his production.”
Over 89 career games since coming to Chicago by way of the 2020 NBA Draft, Williams has averaged 9.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest and posted shooting splits of 49-41-73.