Bulls Rumors: Patrick Williams' Disabled Player Exception Denied By NBA

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 29, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 26: Chicago Bulls Forward Patrick Williams (44) who is injured looks on before a NBA game between the Indiana  Pacers and the Chicago Bulls on December 26, 2021 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls will not have the additional spending flexibility that comes with the disabled player exception.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the NBA denied Chicago's request for the exception for Patrick Williams. In October, the Bulls announced Williams would miss four to six months due to surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist.

As the NBA explains on its website, the disabled player exception is granted "the disabling injury or illness must make it substantially more likely than not, in the judgment of an NBA-appointed physician, that the disabled player would be unable to play through the following June 15" if it is applied from July 1 through Jan. 15.

Alas, the Bulls will not have the ability to spend some more money for a potential replacement player because of this ruling.

A glass half-full approach to this ruling from Chicago's perspective would be that it was determined Williams may be set to return sooner than the end of the season. While he would likely only be a role player on the Eastern Conference contender, he would be an additional defensive stopper on the wing who can work his way back into the rotation.

He averaged 9.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 0.9 steals per game as a rookie last season after the Bulls selected him with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft.

The Florida State product averaged 6.6 points a night through five games this season before suffering the injury. He also connected on 50 percent of his triples, which was an encouraging development after he made 39.1 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie.

The Bulls have been one of the NBA's biggest storylines in 2021-22 and check in as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference standings at 21-10.

While Williams won't be a go-to option with players like Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, his return would bring additional depth as Chicago looks to parlay its promising start into a potential title run come playoff time.