CHICAGO --- Before Saturday's game in Denver against the Nuggets, Billy Donovan said the Bulls hope to keep fourth-year forward Patrick Williams around for the long term.
"I do know that the goal is to have Patrick here for the long term," Donovan said. "That, I would say, has been pretty consistent all the way through."
How does Williams react when he hears his head coach wants him to remain with the Bulls?
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“I love it. I love it here. I love the city, I love the team. I love what we’re about," Williams said Monday. "We’re about winning. There’s no gimmicks. There’s no moral victories over here. Obviously, I love it.”
Confusion about Williams' long-term outlook with the Bulls unfolded for two reasons.
Earlier this season, the Bulls and Williams failed to reach an agreement on an extension of his rookie contract. However, the absence of a new contract doesn't bum him out. He said then, in late October, his mindset wouldn't change and he leaves anything from his personal life behind him "any time I step between those four lines."
That doesn't preclude him, however, from believing he deserves a significant contract number.
“I’ve never been good at the business of basketball. It really hasn’t been much of an importance of mine up until this point. But obviously, this is how I feed my family. Obviously, I want a big contract. I think that’s what I work for and I think it’s what I’m worth. But whenever it comes, it comes,” Williams said. “I’m not 100 percent going to say this summer or next summer or whenever it may be. I go out and hoop and try to win games. My main focus now is helping this team get over the next hump and myself over that hump.”
The other reason for confusion about Williams' long-term outlook stems from more recent.
Last Friday, Donovan opted to move Williams to the bench prior to their game against the Brooklyn Nets. Williams has gotten out of the blocks slow offensively this season. For that, Donovan tried Williams with the second unit to open up more opportunities.
The combination of the Bulls and Williams' failure to connect on a contract, and his recent move to the bench, sparked curiosity about his future beyond this season with the Bulls.
Though, there doesn't appear to be any confusion on the Bulls' end. They want him back for the long term. Williams wants to stay in Chicago, too.
And in his third game coming off the bench, Donovan is pleased with how the 22-year-old performed.
"I thought he was good tonight," Donovan said Monday. "I thought he had a chance to have had a pretty explosive night. He had some plays that were really close to finishing on some drives. Spins in the lane, get a couple of offensive rebounds. He shot the ball well from three (point range). He knocked down some threes. But yeah, I thought he played well. I liked the way he played."