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Magic reach four year, $50 million contract extension with Wendell Carter Jr.

Even without Kyrie Irving, Michael Smith and Michael Holley believe the Nets are a top-three team in the East, and analyzing the team's potential without one of its star players doesn't mean anyone's "turning" on Irving.

Wendell Carter Jr. impressed in his 22 games with the Magic last season after a deadline trade from the Bulls: 11.7 points and 8.8 rebounds a game, a solid 54.9 true shooting percentage, and he took 60.5% of his shots within 10 feet of the basket and hit them at an efficient rate.

Carter showed potential in those games (and he is Orlando’s leading scorer this preseason), and the Magic have decided to pay him for it, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.

That is a fair contract for both sides. Carter gets a raise and fully guaranteed, life-changing money. The Magic get a player who was an above-average big man for them last season at a reasonable price, and someone who fits with a young and improving team.

Orlando has now locked down one of their two big men — the one they traded for because the one they drafted hasn’t been as consistent. Carter was the No. 7 pick in the 2018 draft (by Chicago, who traded him to Orlando for Nikola Vucevic), but the Magic took Mo Bamba at No. 6, and he is extension eligible as well.

Bamba was given a long runway to improve behind Vucevic, there was little pressure on him, but Bamba struggled both to stay healthy and do much on the court when he could play. He averaged 8 points a game last season shooting 47% from the floor, and has not been the defensive force in the paint the Magic expected. He’s never seemed to catch up with the speed of the NBA game. Sources have told NBC Sports there has been a division in the Magic front office on Bamba, with some ready to trade him and move on, while others are still invested in trying to develop the former high draft pick.

Bamba has looked better this preseason, but that is not enough for the Magic to offer much of a contract. He’s played well in minutes next to Carter, but again, it’s preseason so don’t read too much into it.

Part of bringing in Carter was he could be a big man the Magic could rely on, whatever happened with Bamba, which is why the Magic locked up Carter with this contract extension.