Bulls: Michael Carter-Williams, relishing opportunity to prove himself, sprains left knee

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Bulls: Michael Carter-Williams, relishing opportunity to prove himself, sprains left knee

There’s a certain kinship developed on draft night, when 19 and 20-year olds convene for a night of uncertainty and excitement upon their entrance into the NBA, embarking on a whole new world when shaking commissioner Adam Silver’s hand.

Little do they know but the clock starts ticking on their career right then and there, as the first three years for first-round draft picks is a proving ground to prepare for their first big contract through restricted free agency.

As Michael Carter-Williams lay writhing in pain on the floor early in the second quarter with a left knee injury that ruled him out of Monday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets, one has to wonder if the names of his draftmates ran through his brain.

Guys like Gorgui Dieng, Rudy Gobert, Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo.

They were a few of the 2013 first-round guys who beat the Oct. 31 midnight buzzer with contract extensions with their respective teams, preventing a season of nervousness and likely cementing wealth for their families for generations to come.

Carter-Williams watched reports of the deals come down like everyone else, even though he knows he won’t be one of the recipients and will have to play this season out, heading to restricted free agency next summer.

“You can play the what-if game your whole life,” Carter-Williams said to CSNChicago.com. “But it’s not gonna help me get to where I want to be. The ultimate goal is to be the best player I can be. It takes effort.”

Before the left knee sprain he suffered on Monday - he'll get an MRI on Tuesday - he spoke optimistically of the contracts he saw guys agreeing to, hours before his unfortunate circumstance came into focus.

“It’s great to see people signing deals,” Carter-Williams told CSNChicago.com. “I’m happy for all of them. It’s awesome, everybody reaching their dreams. I’m sure they’re helping their families and friends. It’s nothing better than that.”

Carter-Williams isn’t alone, although every situation is different.

The 2013-14 Rookie of the Year joins the likes of Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Washington’s Otto Porter as lottery picks who didn’t come to agreements, heading into a summer where the salary structure could change drastically due to the expected changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. A new CBA could be finalized in the coming weeks, if not sooner.

Carter-Williams doesn’t deny the importance of that type of security, but insists it’s not clouding his mind.

“It’s real important. It’s super important. Your first real big contract,” Carter-Williams said. “Not to say our rookie contracts aren’t big money, but relatively speaking, it’s your first big contract. It’s great.”

If executives would’ve been polled after Carter-Williams’ award-winning rookie campaign, he would’ve been at the top of the list of guys expected to sign a big deal at the first chance.

Given the topsy-turvy nature of his career to date, it’s easy to see if Carter-Williams wonders if people have forgotten the type of production he’s capable of on a nightly basis.

Playing behind Rajon Rondo gives the Bulls insurance and depth at the position, while giving Carter-Williams a chance to slow down and play without the feeling of having to carry a team on his shoulders.

If he’s healthy and able to get back on the floor and produce, his day will come as well.

“I think the biggest thing for me is I’ve done some pretty good things in this league,” Carter-Williams said. “I’ve shown what I can do tin this league. I’ve had some unlucky bumps in the road, traded after winning rookie of the year, going to Milwaukee, which wasn’t the best situation for me.”

Had he been able to truly connect with Bucks coach Jason Kidd, a player many compared Carter-Williams to for their similar abilities as passers and all-around players, he probably would still be in Milwaukee and enjoying some of the fruits of his early labor.

“Yeah for sure. It definitely does sting,” said Carter-Williams of falling out of favor in Milwaukee. “I think when a coach has confidence in you, giving me the ball and letting me play my game, I think I’ve proven that I’m pretty good. I think of different scenarios, if I stayed in Philly would I be signing an extension like a lot of other people are. But that wasn’t the situation for me. God has a plan for me and I gotta stay position. God will provide for me.”

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Bulls not a part of Anthony Davis-to-the-Lakers trade, but it could have an effect on the draft

Farewell, Lonzo Ball-to-the-Bulls rumors.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday evening that the Los Angeles Lakers have finally acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, and the deal doesn't include a third team.

In exchange for Davis, a six-time All-Star about to enter his prime, the Pelicans recieved Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and three first round picks, including the No. 4 pick in next week's NBA Draft.

There was some speculation - also reported by Woj - that a third team would need to get involved in order to satisfy what Pelicans GM David Griffin was looking for in a package for Davis.

Though the Bulls were never directly connected in reports as a potential third team, it made sense considering they own the No. 7 pick and have a need at point guard.

There was also some speculation - though, again, never concrete news or reports - that Zach LaVine could have been an option in a deal, with the Bulls acquiring the No. 4 pick.

Alas, the Bulls aren't part of the deal. But it still may have an effect on them.

The Pelicans now own the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in next week's draft. They're obviously going to take Duke forward Zion Williamson with the first pick but now have options at No. 4. Whereas the Lakers had been linked to Vanderbilt poing guard Darius Garland, the Pelicans really don't have a need there with Ball and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt.

That, in theory, could bump Garland down to No. 6 and the Phoenix Suns, which would then free up the Bulls to take North Carolina's Coby White at No. 7.

Wojnarowski also reported that teams are still inquiring about the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans. It's unlikely the Bulls would depart with LaVine though maybe they could put together some sort of package to move up from No. 7.

What's more likely is the Bulls keep their assets intact in such a weak draft class and move forward with the best player available on the board at No. 7.

But it's officially Woj Bomb season, so buckle up. As is the case every NBA offseason, anything can and will happen.

NBC Sports Boston's Trade Bot comes up with Kris Dunn-Terry Rozier trade


NBC Sports Boston's Trade Bot comes up with Kris Dunn-Terry Rozier trade

The NBA landscape is getting ready to undergo a dramatic makeover this offseason, with the vast number of free agents and the volatility of the 2019 draft class. While the Bulls and Boston Celtics are two teams that could have much different views of success next season, they also could be ideal trade partners. Our partners at NBC Sports Boston laid out an intriguing trade offer that certainly got Celtics fans talking.

The NBC Sports Boston “Trade Bot 3000” came up with a scenario in which Danny Ainge targets Bulls guard Kris Dunn.


This does not come as a huge shock, as GM Danny Ainge has had a liking for Dunn’s game dating back to the 2016 NBA Draft, when he reportedly almost traded then-Celtic Isaiah Thomas fior a lottery pick to select Dunn. Of course since then things have changed quite a bit, as Dunn has failed to develop into a real threat from the perimeter and his great defensive effort has been dragged down by foul troubles (4.3 fouls per 36 minutes).

NBC Sports Boston’s Trade Bot pointed out that Boston would be receiving the New London, Connecticut native with a full season before he is set to hit restricted free agency (2020-21). Dunn’s team-friendly contract would make sense for a Celtics team that is unlikely to have any functional cap space this offseason. And even in the event that the Celtics do create near max cap space, that would likely mean that guards Terry Rozier and Kyrie Irving are no longer on the roster.

Dunn would be a solid option as a starter or backup guard for a new-look Celtics squad that would be built around feeding Jayson Tatum plenty of looks, much more than the 13.1 field goal attempts per game that he averaged over the 2018-19 season. Dunn’s usage rate dropped a significant amount last season and his offensive rating improved as a result of him using less possessions. I would expect that trend to continue under Brad Stevens, who would find more creative ways to keep Dunn involved on offense.

It is simple to see how the trade would be appealing from the Bulls perspective. Though incredibly similar prospects, Rozier presents a greater threat from the 3-point line as compared to Dunn.

He is by no means a knockdown shooter, but the fact that “Scary Terry” has taken 6.3 attempts from 3-point range per 36 minutes (for his career per Basketball-Reference)  definitely matters.

Defenses will have to account for Rozier when he is on the floor, making him a nice partner for LaVine on the offensive end of the floor. But again, Rozier would not be a savior at the PG position. He has many of the same flaws as Dunn, such as generating a tremendously low amount of free throw attempts. As we all know, a fresh start can do wonders for a young player and a trade of this nature would allow the Bulls to add Rozier, while giving him the true maximum salary that only the Celtics would be able to offer.

To make matters even better for Chicago, the Bulls would be collecting a second round pick as well for swapping a player on a rookie deal for a player who is due for a significant raise. One last interesting nugget on a possible Dunn-for-Rozier trade is that the two guards are actually one day apart age-wise. They are at a similar stage in their careers/development, to the point where it would be tough to say which team won the trade.

Let us know how you would feel about NBC Sports Boston Trade Bot’s Dunn-for-Rozier swap at @BullsTalk!