Letting Patrick Williams leave may repeat a recent disaster scenario

Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards
Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Chicago Bulls have made some trades that have come back to haunt them. 

The Jimmy Butler deal looked okay at the time but has aged like milk with Zach LaVine’s injuries and lack of team success. 

Lauri Markkanen, the other key part of the deal, is now a star for another team after the Bulls traded him away for what amounted to nothing. 

dark. Related Story. The Chicago Bulls have a Zach LaVine problem. The Chicago Bulls have a Zach LaVine problem

The Bulls are in a similar situation with Patrick Williams, and there is a chance they will make the same mistake. 

Chicago Bulls free agency: The Patrick Williams dilemma  

Patrick Williams will be a restricted free agent as long as the Bulls extend the qualifying offer of around $13 million. Williams could just accept that, bet on himself on a one-year deal, hope he blows up and collects a fat raise at this time next year. 

The Bulls could also work out a deal for less annual income but more years with some incentive bonuses for Williams to try and prove he is worth the investment. 

If having a young and talented player who hasn’t reached his potential entering restricted free agency sounds familiar, it’s because the Bulls were here before with Lauri Markkanen. 

Markkanen was coming off a down season in which he only played 51 games, averaging 13 points and five rebounds. The Bulls elected not to make the big investment and instead traded Markkanen to the Cavaliers for Derrick Jones Jr, a player who is no longer on the team, and a future pick from Portland that may never convey. 

Markkanen is now an All-Star for Utah and a player they plan to build around. It’s a pity the Bulls didn’t do the same. 

Williams has not shown as much as Markkanen had by this time in his career, but he too is a young player with big-time upside who is coming off a down year in which he played 43 games and averaged 10 points and four rebounds on similar shooting splits as Markkanen. 

Williams has also shown he can defend, so the Bulls could potentially allow a future two-way wing to walk for nothing or orchestrate a sign-and-trade in which they take back far less than he is potentially worth. 

Signing him to a new contract brings its own set of risks, as there is no guarantee Williams will ever be able to stay healthy or that he is going to eventually morph into an All-Star like Markkanen did. 

There will be risk involved either way for the Chicago Bulls, which makes this a tough call unless they can agree to a team-friendly deal that gives them some protection.