On the floor, the 2020-21 Bulls are set to look pretty similar to the 2019-20 iteration. In fact, as of this writing, they’re projected to return 13 players from last season’s 15-man roster.
But with a new front office in place, that outcome didn’t always appear set in stone -- at least from the outside looking in. Wendell Carter Jr., for one, became embroiled in trade rumors in the run-up to the 2020 draft held on Nov. 18. He addressed said rumors in comments to reporters over Zoom during the Bulls’ media week.
“When I first saw it, I kind of knew it was BS,” Carter said. “I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then my family members started hitting me up about it, like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ You going to Oakland?’ I’m, like, ‘Man, I feel like I’m good.’
“I didn’t pressure the front office at all. At the end of the day, it’s a business. So if it was to go through, I mean, it’s a business. But I had a lot of faith I was going to be here. I knew the coaching staff and the front office believed in me from the talks that we’ve had. So I knew I was going to be a Bull.
“It’s always a little anxiety when you see your name floating around as possibly being traded. But deep down in my heart, I knew I was going to be a Bull.”
The Bulls ended up standing pat -- no pun intended -- on draft night, selecting Florida State forward Patrick Williams fourth overall. Carter praised Williams’ versatility and painted a rosy picture of his own expanded offensive usage under new head coach Billy Donovan.
“Especially with the new system we’ve got going, I feel like I’m going to be able to showcase my offensive game a lot more,” Carter said. “And defensively, I’m just going to do what I do.”
A breakout third season from Carter will be pivotal to the Bulls’ rebuild finding its footing. Feeling healthy and empowered by the new regime, Carter sounded confident in his presser that a leap for him is in the cards.