Chicago gains roster spot, cap room

Updated: February 3, 2004, 9:31 AM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Jay Williams, who played one season with the Chicago Bulls before a motorcycle accident put his NBA career in jeopardy, and the team agreed on a contract buyout Monday.

Bill Duffy, Williams' agent, said the buyout was in the $3 million range. Williams had two more years worth about $7.7 million left on his original deal.

"No question it's more than fair," Duffy said. "Usually when you cut a deal it hurts both parties, but this is great for both parties."

Because riding a motorcycle violates the standard NBA contract, the Bulls could have terminated Williams' deal after the accident June 19. Instead, they put the former Duke star and No. 2 pick in the 2002 draft on injured reserve and continued to pay him.

The buyout allows the Bulls to gain a roster spot and flexibility with the salary cap.

Williams was riding a new motorcycle June 19 when the bike got away from him and slammed into a utility pole. He was thrown onto a grassy curb, face down from the waist up, his left leg tilting grotesquely upward.

He severed a main nerve in his leg, fractured his pelvis and tore three of the four main ligaments in his left knee. He spent two weeks at a Chicago hospital before being transferred to Duke University Medical Center, where he continues to rehab, holding onto hope that he can play again.

Williams 22, led Duke to a national title as a sophomore. He came to the Bulls a year later with great expectations but had his ups-and-downs as a rookie, finally losing his starting spot. He averaged 9.5 points as a rookie.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press