Patrick Williams Gets Honest About Future With Bulls

Patrick Williams, Chicago Bulls

Getty Patrick Williams #44 of the Chicago Bulls.

The deadline for the Chicago Bulls to come to terms with fourth-year forward Patrick Williams on a contract extension came and went without anything getting done.

Williams is one of 13 players from the 2020 draft class who failed to land a new deal before the deadline. He is one of three top-five picks who will play out the final year of their rookie contract before hitting restricted free agency next offseason.

He had already made his peace with this outcome ahead of the deadline.

“That’s more the business of basketball. I think that’s why I have an agent. I’ve never been good at the business of basketball, to be honest. It really hasn’t been much of an importance of mine up to this point,” Williams said via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic on October 23. “My main focus for now is really just try to get this team over the next hump. Get myself over that hump.”

That “hump” for Williams has been showing the same level of aggression he shows when he’s the best player on the floor when the Bulls’ stars are also on the floor.

Williams has admitted to not feeling entirely comfortable in those situations. According to head coach Billy Donovan, that doesn’t always have to mean scoring. Donovan pulled Williams after less than three minutes into a game this preseason for not rebounding like he is capable of.

It’s the same issue Williams lamented about last season.

“I wanted to be more consistent,” he said via Mayberry in April. “I wanted to play-make a little bit more; show that I can do that. Obviously, every player wants to be able to make plays down the stretch and be able to do that down the stretch. I think I have the skill to do it, I think the opportunity was there. I don’t think I grasped it. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t.”

The No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 draft, and the first pick of Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas‘ tenure, the opportunities have certainly been there.

Patrick Williams Wants ‘Big’ Contract

Williams lost his spot in the starting lineup twice last season. But there were still rumors that he was seeking a perhaps larger-than-expected sum of money in negotiations.

“I’m hearing Patrick Williams wants big big numbers,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on “The Lowe Post with Zach Lowe” on October 20 “Like starts with a two and isn’t ‘[$20 million] kind of stuff potentially.”

Williams didn’t give a specific number. But he did say he wants a “big” contract.

“This is how I feed my family. Obviously, I want a big contract,” Williams said. “I think that’s what I’ve worked for. I think that’s what I’m worth. But whenever it comes, it comes. I’m not 100% gonna say this summer or next summer, or whatever the case may be. I go out and hoop, and try to win games. Whatever comes of that comes of that.”

The Bulls still control the outcome since Williams will be a restricted free agent. That gives them the right of first refusal should he sign a contract offer sheet next summer.

Bulls GM: 2023-24 a ‘Big Year’ for Patrick Williams

Williams can point to the likes of Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White as two young players whose futures were less than certain before getting new contracts this summer. But he should also take heed of the words of general manager Marc Eversley.

Eversley expects to see Williams take that leap they’ve been hoping for.

“This is a really big year for Patrick Williams,” Eversley said during the NBA TV broadcast of the Bulls’ win over the Toronto Raptors on July 7. “I think for us to take that next level, Patrick’s gotta grow. I know he’s put in the work this summer – he’s going to continue to put in the work…He’s really gotta take another step.”