Patrick Williams

Bulls announce signings as NBA moratorium lifts

Patrick Williams, Adama Sanogo return, while DeMar DeRozan visits with Sacramento

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The NBA's moratorium on free agent signings ended Saturday, allowing moves already reported to become "officially official" in lighthearted parlance used frequently amongst fans and writers of the league.

That means the Chicago Bulls issued official news releases on the re-signings of Patrick Williams and Adama Sanogo, the latter to a two-way contract. Although big-name news centered on DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine stayed unfinished for at least another day.

DeRozan is working with the Sacramento Kings to finalize a sign-and-trade transaction with the Bulls and a third team, with sources indicating that the San Antonio Spurs are a strong candidate. DeRozan visited with Kings officials on Saturday.

With sign-and-trade transactions needing to be for at least three years, DeRozan is looking at a deal in the neighborhood of $20 million annually and $60 million overall, a source said.

The Bulls, who are currently roughly $11 or $13 million under the luxury tax depending on the fate of Onuralp Bitim's non-guaranteed contract, don't want to take back money that would push them over that threshold. Thus, the need for a third team, which, like the Bulls, would likely receive draft capital as a reward for helping the Kings acquire DeRozan.

Throughout much of last season, the Bulls and DeRozan operated under the belief that he'd return. Internal discussions at one point centered on a two-year deal at a higher annual salary than the $28.6 million DeRozan made last season.

But management's desire to change the roster, coupled with a challenging trade market for LaVine, led to a trade with Oklahoma City involving Alex Caruso for Josh Giddey. The youth movement has continued in full force since, forcing DeRozan's hand to sign elsewhere.

Williams, who turns 23 in August, is part of that youth movement. He also represent this management regime's first significant player transaction as the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

With a five-year deal that averages $18 million in an age of a dramatically rising salary cap, management is banking on Williams to reach his full potential as a "3-and-D" wing with athleticism and versatility. He'll certainly have more opportunity with DeRozan's imminent departure, though those two were close and DeRozan stood consistently as one of Williams' biggest advocates.

As of Saturday evening, the Bulls hadn't officially announced the signing of free agent center Jalen Smith or veteran Torrey Craig exercising his player option. But those moves will become "officially official" soon.

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