Things have been going relatively smoothly for the Chicago Bulls this summer, as they’ve compiled an almost surprisingly good offseason thus far. That doesn’t mean things couldn’t have gone even better, however, as recent claims seem to indicate a top player in this year’s free agent class was seriously contemplating joining up with the Bulls.
As one of the best shooters and defenders available in free agency, Grant Williams was always going to attract a lot of attention as a premium 3-and-D talent. As every Bulls fan probably knows by now, these are two areas Chicago is clearly lacking talent in; so when word came straight from Williams’ own mouth that he could have potentially been on the brink of joining the Bulls, you can imagine my frustration.
The former Boston Celtics forward Williams discussed this whole ordeal with J.J. Redick on his The Old Man and The Three podcast, making it clear that talks to join the Bulls were heating up, but the front office was just not quite as persuasive as the Mavericks’ management team.
"“Like, it was one of those where there were a bunch of options, but the ones who were probably the most concrete were the Dallas of the world, and maybe Chicago, Atlanta… maybe New York. Stuff like that, where things were kind of getting closer and closer but I think they were still a bit further away, because Dallas was probably the main priority and they were really pursuing and aggressive from the start…. Dallas was the first priority and then there were backups in a way because of how they were attacking the conversation. I think the other teams were also pursuing and trying to get deals done, but I think Dallas was just overly aggressive on it and it ended up working out.”"
The Chicago Bulls just barely missed out on one of 2023’s best free agents with Grant Williams.
If Grant were to join up with the Bulls, he would have undoubtedly challenged Patrick Williams for the starting power forward role straight from the jump. Grant’s elite three-point shooting ability and stout defensive presence would have undoubtedly helped address two of the Bulls’ greatest weaknesses. Chicago would have been a much more versatile and flexible team overall if they had a player like Williams in the rotation.
In the end, I can see why Williams chose Dallas over Chicago. After all, the Mavericks have a clear starting role to offer the talented forward, and have a more realistic chance to compete for a championship as long as Luka Doncic is in the city.
I can only assume Torrey Craig was the contingency plan if the Bulls missed out on Williams. For the veteran minimum, I can honestly still feel like Chicago got a pretty great deal here, all things considered. Especially when you take into account the fact that contenders like Golden State were in hot pursuit of Craig’s services. Although the Bulls were unable to attract Williams’ services in the end, it’s reassuring to see that Chicago is slowly but surely becoming an attractive free agent destination once again.