Bulls Rumors: Patrick Williams Viewed as 'a Core Player' amid Lonzo Ball's Recovery

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 8, 2022

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 21: Chicago Bulls forward Patrick Williams (44) looks on during a NBA game between the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls on March 21, 2022 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 aren't yet ready to cash in on Patrick Williams' trade value, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst reported at the 27:24 mark on his Hoop Collective podcast that the Bulls "believe a lot in [Williams]" and view him as a possible two-way "core player" moving forward.

Concerns about the Bulls' ceiling have lingered since the start of last year. They certainly improved by adding DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, but they may not have assembled a championship-caliber roster.

Now, Chicago could have to open the 2022-23 season without Ball.

The veteran point guard underwent surgery in January for a meniscus injury and missed the second half of 2021-22. What was supposed to be a recovery period of six to eight weeks has extended well beyond initial expectations. ESPN's Jamal Collier and Ramona Shelburne reported Sept. 2 that Ball is "doubtful" to be cleared in time for the team's opener due to "lingering pain and discomfort following meniscus surgery on his left knee."

The uncertainty surrounding Ball could raise the Bulls' level of desperation and force them into making an aggressive move, and Williams would be a prime candidate to go in that scenario.

The 6'7" forward has battled injuries as well but shown a lot of promise. He's a 41.3 percent three-point shooter through 88 games, and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James described him as having "Kawhi-type hands" on the other end of the floor.

Williams shouldn't be considered untouchable because who knows which star around the league will start to agitate for an exit from his current team. But Chicago's position on and belief in the 2020 first-round pick is understandable.