As NBA free-agency tips off, new deals reported for Williams, Christie

Before NBA free-agency began Sunday evening, there were reports of a couple pending free-agents agreeing to terms with their current teams.

Forward Patrick Williams will get five years and $90 million to stick with the Bulls, according to NBA Insider Shams Charania.

Rolling Meadows High School grad Max Christie will get $32 million over four years to stay with the Los Angeles Lakers, as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The arrival of Bronny James wasn't enough to push Christie out of town, just as his brother Cam was drafted by the Clippers.

One other Bulls-related item, center Andre Drummond was one of the first free agents to announce a new home, landing a two-year deal worth $10 million with Philadelphia. It's widely believed the Bulls turned down a chance to send Drummond to the 76ers at the trade deadline last February.

Williams' contract numbers were interesting, especially considering teammate Coby White got just three years for $36 million last year. Williams averaged 10.0 points and 3.9 rebounds last season, then played in just 43 games due to a broken foot.

One explanation is there are more NBA teams with cap room this summer. So maybe the Bulls didn't want to risk Williams getting a large offer sheet.

Other popular storylines have the Bulls unable to find any trade partners for Zach LaVine, no surprise because of the $129 million left on his contract over the next three years; and the Bulls not planning to bring back free-agent DeMar DeRozan.

The Bulls are expected to move forward with a focus on their younger players, including new arrival Josh Giddey and first-round draft pick Matas Buzelis. The Bulls still owe San Antonio their first-round pick in 2025, but it's top-10 protected, so there's a reward for the Bulls being one of the worst teams this season.

The Bulls don't have cap space, but can use the mid-level exception, worth $12.8 million. The Bulls may try to negotiate a sign-and-trade deal with DeRozan to help him find a new home and get something in return. The NBA set the luxury-tax threshold at $170.8 million, which means the Bulls have roughly $28 million of room before hitting that mark.

Some other early developments in free-agency, per reports: The Clippers announced they do not plan to re-sign Paul George, who may land in Philadelphia. Chris Paul was released by Golden State and is expected to join San Antonio.

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