The deadline to sign a rookie contract extension passed Monday without Patrick Williams and the Chicago Bulls striking a deal. What does that mean as the former No. 4 draft pick enters the fourth and final year of his contract?
Williams has been a complicated figure for the Bulls since they selected him in the first round of the 2020 draft. After a promising rookie year, his growth was slowed by a season-ending wrist injury in his sophomore season.
There have been bright spots in Williams’ progression — a building role as a defensive leader, his 41.4% accuracy from behind the 3-point arc. But his relatively moderate production (averaging 10.2 points, four rebounds and 1.2 assists last season) has been a point of emphasis — and contention — for the Bulls.
Still, Williams remains a valuable piece of the puzzle for the Bulls — both as a key player in the starting lineup and as a potential trade asset if this season doesn’t shake the status quo.
Ahead of the deadline on Monday, Williams voiced his enthusiasm to secure a large deal for himself — whether at the deadline or next summer in free agency.
“That’s more the business of basketball,” Williams said. “That’s why I have an agent. I’ve never been good at the business of basketball. Obviously this is how I feed my family. Obviously I want a big contract. That’s what I work for.”
Across the league, 13 players signed rookie contract extensions over the summer. Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton and Desmond Bane each signed maximum deals worth $260 million. That left 14 players eligible for extensions before Monday’s deadline.
Several players agreed to extensions in the final hours before the deadline. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels agreed to a five-year, $136 million contract extension, pushing the team into the luxury tax, according to a report by The Athletic. Josh Green signed a more cost-effective three-year, $41 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks, according to ESPN.
Each extension set the table for Williams and his side to demand a higher price tag for a long-term extension of his contract.
This is a familiar position for the Bulls, who also let Coby White pass the rookie extension deadline last season without inking a new deal. The end result was a net positive — White made major strides throughout his fourth NBA season, the Bulls re-signed him to a three-year, $40 million contract in June and now he’s set to start at point guard on opening day.
The same path exists for Williams, who will hit the market next summer as a restricted free agent, which will allow the Bulls to match any offer the forward receives.
For Williams, the most important step in contract negotiation ahead of next summer is simple — make the best case for himself on the court.
“Anything personal in my life that I’ve been going through, any time I step in between those four lines it’s gone,” Williams said. “For me, it’s going to be easy to just go out and play.”