After a disappointing outing against the Lakers, Patrick Williams sat out last night's game in Portland due to a vague foot injury. Fortunately, the Chicago Bulls would manage to keep their heads above water as Ayo Dosunmu and Julian Phillips stepped up to help compensate for his absence last night in a 104-96 winning effort over the Trail Blazers.
Although the young guns made a big statement with their performance, we'd still like to see Pat back in action as soon as possible. If recent reports are any indication, however, it could be a while before Bulls fans get to see Williams out there on the court once again. That's because Williams was spotted wearing a walking boot, typically an alarming indication of a bigger issue at hand.
"Patrick Williams is wearing a walking boot for precautionary reasons until team returns to Chicago and sees team doctors, per Donovan. He’ll undergo further imaging there," says Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson, "Williams saw doctor in LA. Donovan said team doesn’t yet have timeline for left foot to heal off that visit."
As the Bulls return to Chicago to prepare for a matchup against the Toronto Raptors, hopefully the team doctors can provide some evidence into the nature of this injury. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan seems optimistic this injury won't cause Williams to miss a significant amount of time, but it's hard to dispute that the optics of being in a walking boot certainly isn't very reassuring.
Patrick Williams may lose out on a huge payday with the Bulls if this foot injury causes him to miss extended time.
Hopefully, Williams will make his return to the court within a matter of days. I can't help but imagine the huge ramifications this could have if Pat ends up missing a substantial amount of time. Not only would this injury grant others a chance to steal away even more minutes from Williams in the rotation, but it might impact his bottom line as well.
Much discussion was had among Bulls fans online when a report from ESPN's Zach Lowe seemed to suggest Williams is searching for a contract extension north of $200 million this offseason. As he prepares to hit the open market for the first time in his career as a restricted free agent, I can't blame Pat for trying to land the biggest payday possible.
"I’m hearing Patrick Williams wants big, big numbers for his next contract… like, starts with a 2 and isn’t $20M."- Zach Lowe
That being said, I believe it should be obvious now that this quote from Lowe was largely misunderstand. Williams is likely searching for a contract north of $20 million annually, a number that would be far more in line with what other elite 3-and-D talents have signed for around the league in recent years.
While that's still a hefty sum to pay and may make some fans hesitant at the thought, I think letting an elite three-point shooter and Chicago's second-best defender walk for nothing would be an even more egregious error on the front office's behalf. Williams is averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 40% from beyond the arc this season — an almost identical stat line to his numbers from the 2022-23 campaign.
Pat's skill set may be worth a premium on the open market, but his lack of year-to-year growth may significantly hinder his bargaining ability by the time free agency rolls around. That much is doubly true if he ends up missing extended time with this injury. He's already had a difficult time staying in the starting lineup this season — coming off the bench in 13 of 43 games played — so this would be another big factor working against him.
Will any team trust Williams enough to fork over an enormous contract offer this season? That much remains to be seen, but an ill-timed injury here certainly isn't helping his odds of securing generational wealth this summer.