Archive for Saturday, May 25, 2002

Duke’s Williams sets up Bulls’ visit

May 25, 2002

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— It's either an indication of their interest level or an extreme example of their thorough ways, but the Bulls plan to spend two days with Jay Williams when he comes to town for his private workout.

Bill Duffy, agent for the former Duke point guard, said Thursday that he and Bulls general manager Jerry Krause are close to confirming the dates for the visit, likely to be June 13-14.

"I think Chicago is one of the best cities in the country," Williams said Thursday afternoon. "There is so much potential there, both on and off the court. The fans are great. That Jalen Rose trade was crucial for them, and with their young players, they have a great nucleus. I'd love to be part of it."

Thus far, the 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound Williams has worked out only for Golden State, which has the third pick in the June 26 draft. The Bulls pick second. Houston owns the top pick but is deep in the backcourt, and Duffy said no visit is confirmed there.

"The workout list is short," Duffy said. "There are limited places he can go unless you want to pull a Steve Francis or a John Elway. And Jay won't do that."

Indeed, unlike the aforementioned stars who forced trades by indicating they wouldn't play for the teams that drafted them, Williams said changing perceptions would have him eager to play for the Bulls.

"When someone says Chicago, I get excited," he said.

"In the past people would say, 'You don't want to go there.' But now they've added some right pieces to the puzzle and people say it's good. Plus there's all that tradition."

If those words sound like a player eager to make his impending millions anywhere, keep in mind that Williams offered no such platitudes following his Golden State workout. Also, Duffy represents Toronto's Antonio Davis, who accused the Bulls of reneging on a free-agent contract last year.

Duffy said his relationship with Krause "is unbelievably positive." And Williams said fellow Dukie Elton Brand speaks highly of the city and the organization.

Williams, 21, won a national title and played for a perennial contender at Duke. But he seemed unfazed by the prospect of entering a rebuilding situation that has managed only 53 victories over three seasons.

"I had to rebuild at my high school," Williams said. "I went to Duke and everybody thought we'd be horrible because William Avery, Corey Maggette and Elton all left.

"Rebuilding is something I'm not scared of at all. I love challenges."

Williams and Duffy spent Thursday driving up and down the Southern California coast, going from meeting to meeting regarding potential marketing and endorsement possibilities.

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