After locking down Zach LaVine to a record-breaking max contract extension last summer, and following up on that effort to secure Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu each on three-year deals, the Chicago Bulls have proven they’re committed to this current roster. Whether or not the front office will remain steadfast in their approach if the Bulls fall short of their goals once again this season, however, remains to be seen.
DeMar DeRozan seems to be the real x-factor here, as if Chicago fails to qualify for the postseason once again, he could bolt in free agency and may even be traded away ahead of the deadline. DeMar isn’t the only important Bulls starter hitting free agency next summer, however, as Patrick Williams will also be wrapping up his rookie deal by the end of the year.
Fortunately, Bleacher Report took the liberty to project just what a contract extension for an assortment of notable players would look like next year, and Williams was no exception. B/R’s Eric Pincus used a few examples from players of a similar archetype as a reference point of what to expect in potential contract extension negotiations with Williams, and I think he makes a few solid points by highlighting Toronto’s OG Anunoby and Los Angeles’ Rui Hachimura.
Proposed Extension: Four years, $64 million ($16 million annually)
"“OG Anunoby started 68 games in his third year with the Toronto Raptors with similar production—leading to a four-year, $72 million extension (14.3 percent of cap), translating to a projected $20.3 million for 2024-25… That feels too rich for Chicago at this stage, but a compromise could work, like Rui Hachimura’s $15.7 million with the Lakers (11.57 percent of cap—$16.4 million for 2024-25).”"
Patrick Williams may continue to be an integral piece for the Bulls, but only if it comes at the right price.
$64 million may seem like a hefty price to pay for a player who has proven very little in his NBA career to date, but you have to remember, this isn’t your grandfather’s NBA anymore. Heaps of money are thrown left and right at the slightest scent of potential or on-court production.
For what Williams provides out there, I have to say I actually expected his projected price point to be a little higher. There are not many role players out there that can offer you 10 points per game, 40% shooting from deep, and excellent defense, so the going rate is high. We saw that this summer, as even players like Bruce Brown and Dillon Brooks signed deals in excess of $20 million per year despite having holes in their respective games.
Williams is far from a perfect player, and we’re all still waiting for him to make that final leap. But for what it’s worth, I think it’s far more likely that his performance this season ends up driving this $64 million projection up, rather than down. This would be a relatively low-risk investment with a contract that could easily be moved in the future if he fails to meet expectations. After giving up on Lauri Markkanen far too soon, I’d be more than happy to see the Bulls sign Williams to this deal.