But the business of the NBA waits for no one and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Williams is extension eligible this offseason. Despite an incomplete resume to this point, there is a belief he could still land a significant payday.
Williams appeared in all 82 games during the regular season averaging a career-best 10.2 points and knocking down 41.5% of his threes. But he saw his rebound numbers drop for the second consecutive season and did not take that next step as a playmaker with just 1.2 assists.
Asked if he was satisfied with his year, Williams answered with an honest “hell nah”.
“Williams has become one of the most underrated players from this class,” argues Smith. “He’s a good shooter, has shown improvement every season and he’s been durable in two of his three seasons. The Bulls’ roster and cap sheet are in a bit of a weird place, but they can’t let Williams leave because of that.”
The Bulls could let Williams hit restricted free agency after next season and allow the market to set itself but that could be risky.
Smith previously pointed to Atlanta Hawks star De’Andre Hunter as a price point for Williams and the Bulls. Hunter signed a four-year, $90 million contract extension with Atlanta last June that begins next season.
How the CBA Will Impact Patrick Williams’ Contract
Williams’ projected deal would represent a slight bump from what Hunter received but the money will eat up a similar portion of the salary cap with the new CBA in place.
“Given that any extension wouldn’t even kick in before July 1st 2024, after the completion of the 2023-2024 season, the league’s salary cap is likely near $150 million,” wrote Morten Jensen of Forbes on June 7. “If we work with those numbers, and assume Williams will be paid an even $20 million over five years, that contract would start at just 13.3% of the cap.”
Williams’ status as the first first-round pick of executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ career could also come into play. They have been reluctant to include him in trade talks both because of their past transgressions and because of his flashes.
The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Williams checks all of the boxes physically.
He has to be more consistent.
Bulls head coach Billy Donovan has called on Williams to be a more active rebounder and even benched pulled him from the starting lineup. The Bulls need him to pan out as their best hope for a future building block currently on the roster – their youngest star is 28-year-old Zach LaVine.
Andre Drummond Picking Up Option
Williams isn’t even the most pressing contract decision the Bulls face this summer, nor is it even restricted free agent Coby White whom the team is said to be “all in” on retaining. Their most pressing need is starting center Nikola Vucevic who is an unrestricted free agent and could look to latch on with a team that has a better shot to win a title.
Drummond, 29, does not spread the floor like Vucevic does nor is he the same level of passer as his fellow former two-time All-Star. But he is a big body in the lane who provides slightly more resistance defensively, is a better rebounder, and costs much less than Vucevic is expected to after picking up that $3.4 million option on his contract.