Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Former Bulls Players Getting Paid Big Bucks


Former Chicago Bulls players — Wendell Carter and Daniel Gafford — are getting paid big bucks to remain on the teams the Bulls traded them to.

Last Friday, Carter Jr. agreed to a four-year $50 million extension to stay with the Orlando Magic, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Last Monday night, Charania reported that Gafford, Carter’s backup for the Bulls, received a three-year $40.2 million extension to stay with the Wizards.

Are we missing something here?

Carter improved his numbers slightly with the Magic, in a really small sample size of 23 games. He averaged 11.7 points and 8.8 rebounds, which were slightly better than his 10.9 and 7.8 averages with the Bulls.

However, his kryptonite still exists on the opposite end of the floor — defense. He recorded a 112 defensive rating and -1.1 defensive box plus/minus, both marks that were worse than when he was with the Bulls.

Carter had a nice scoring streak when he got to Orlando, averaging nearly 18 points per game throughout four games and contributing heavily on the glass. But, his outlook stays the same in my opinion.

What does the Magic see in him?

It has to be potential. Carter is only 22-years-old and has played just three seasons in the league. He flashed some offensive potential with his height and dominance in the paint in the past.

The cons outweigh the pros in my opinion. His interior defense is a huge drawback on his play and his offense is limited to near and around the basket.

Daniel Gafford should be placed under the same umbrella.

In Chicago, Gafford hardly saw the floor, playing 12.4 minutes per game. He only saw action for a small span when Carter was inactive for some time with a shoulder injury.

However, in Washington, Gafford saw over 17 minutes per game on the floor. He averaged 10.7 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game — 2.2 of those on the offensive side.

He had plenty of reputable games in his short first season with the Wizards, like his 18-point game against the Pelicans that included four blocks and seven rebounds.

Like Carter, the Wizards must be attracted to his potential at the position. Gafford is only 23-years-old with just two seasons under his belt. He is a much better defender and rim protector than Carter, recording a career 107 defensive rating, 1.5 defensive box plus/minus and 1.4 blocks per game.

The Bulls still won these trades… right?

There’s no question about it. The Bulls got what they needed for Carter and Gafford.

To refresh your memory, Carter was shipped with Otto Porter Jr. and two first-round picks to the Magic for all-star Nikola Vucevic.

Vucevis is a clear upgrade at the center position. The Bulls struck out in the draft with Carter and Gafford for big man spots and Vucevic is a proven center in the league.

As for Gafford, he was shipped with Chandler Hutchison to the Wizards for Troy Brown Jr. and Morwitz Wagner, who was then used to get Daniel Theis from the Celtics.

Brown is an excellent addition to the Bulls, surviving the gutting the front office gave the roster this offseason. He showed his ability to be a catch-and-shoot player this preseason and flashed his adaptability and hustle last season on the floor.

Daniel Theis is tough to argue. On the one hand, he’s another clear upgrade in the paint. He can pass, shoot and defend the paint to perfection. On the other hand, the Bulls don’t have him anymore. They received a trade exception from the Houston Rockets in return.

Either way, Carter nor Gafford played many valuable minutes for the Bulls while they were on the roster, so I see it as a win for the team either way.

Congratulations to both Carter and Gafford on their paydays. But, the Bulls have the squad that best fit their trajectory, which lined up with neither Carter nor Gafford’s.

Ryan Taylor
Ryan is pursuing an undergraduate in journalism and a graduate degree in digital communication from DePaul University. He has been with Sports Mockery since 2021. He primarily covers the Chicago Bulls.

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you