Bulls' Williams gladly gave shirt off his back to Vucevic

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, shoots over Bulls center Nikola Vucevic during the second half Wednesday in Phoenix. The Bulls played at Phoenix on Wednesday without Zach LaVine, Coby White or Garrett Temple due to injuries. Earlier in the day, rookie Patrick Williams talked about giving up his No. 9 jersey to Vucevic.

    Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, shoots over Bulls center Nikola Vucevic during the second half Wednesday in Phoenix. The Bulls played at Phoenix on Wednesday without Zach LaVine, Coby White or Garrett Temple due to injuries. Earlier in the day, rookie Patrick Williams talked about giving up his No. 9 jersey to Vucevic. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/31/2021 11:34 PM

Patrick Williams didn't hesitate to step out of Nikola Vucevic's lane.

Vucevic has worn No. 9 for a long time, so when he was traded to the Bulls from Orlando last week, Williams offered to switch from No. 9 to 44, beginning with last Saturday's game in San Antonio.

 

"Steve (assistant equipment manager Steve Pankow) called me and said Vuc wants No. 9," Williams explained after Wednesday's shootaround. "It was totally my decision. My initial thoughts were he can have it, 9 for me was just a number."

Late Wednesday night in Phoenix, the Bulls played without Zach LaVine (ankle), Coby White (neck) and Garrett Temple (hamstring), but stayed competitive before losing to the Suns 121-116. The Bulls trimmed a 16-point deficit to 3 points a few times late in the game, but couldn't get a big basket or stop when needed.

Vucevic led the Bulls with 24 points, while Thad Young and Denzel Valentine scored 19 points each. For Phoenix, Devin Booker scored 45 points and hit 17 of 24 shots from the field to stretch the Bulls' losing streak to five in a row.

Coach Billy Donovan went with a big starting lineup, featuring Williams, Vucevic, Young, Tomas Satoransky and Lauri Markkanen. It was an interesting combination. The Bulls didn't show any signs of defensive improvement, but did dominate the rebounds 50-32.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Williams said Pankow and some of the Bulls veterans said the rookie forward should get some money from Vucevic for agreeing to the number change.

"At that point, I was still like, 'Man, you can just give it to him. Say welcome to the Chicago Bulls or something like that,'" Williams said. "But Vuc, my first time texting him I said, 'Do you really want it?' He said, 'Yeah.' He just kind of gave me a price and that was pretty much it.

"I just play basketball. I don't worry about a number. I've always kind of liked No. 4, I'm not sure why. It's just a number. I'm just blessed to be out there and playing the game that I love. So that's the most important thing."

Another development this week was former Bulls forward Chandler Hutchison making a successful debut in Washington, scoring 18 points in his first game with the Wizards.

After the game, Hutchison posted a message on social media saying, "One man's trash ..." But he claimed there were no hard feelings toward the Bulls. He last played for the Bulls on Feb. 5 and was sitting out due to undisclosed personal reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It's nothing personal against Chicago, that situation made me the person I am right now," Hutchison said. "I put in a lot of work, but I have no ill feelings toward them whatsoever. It's just the excitement about what's to come, and I know I'm going to have a bright future here in Washington."

For his part, Donovan didn't have anything negative to say about Hutchison. Before the trade, Donovan had mentioned that he thought the third-year forward was close to returning.

"He was a great guy to get to know. Obviously he was working through things on his own. I made several comments about really appreciating his honesty and his strength in what he was doing. But I always felt like Chandler and I had a good relationship, so I don't know necessarily who maybe the tweet was directed at or was it just an organizational thing? I'm not quite sure."

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

0 Comments
 

Get articles sent to your inbox.

Article Comments
Attention: We are experiencing technical difficulties with our Facebook Comments module at this time. Comments will remain disabled until we are able to resolve the problem. We apologize for the interruption. We invite you to engage with our content and talk with other commenters on our Daily Herald Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DailyHeraldFans/. Thank you.