Central Notes: Carter Jr., Giannis, McKinnie, Bulls

Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. believes he could return from his severe ankle injury ahead of schedule, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.

Carter injured his ankle on January 6 and was initially given a four-to-six week timetable after undergoing an MRI. The 20-year-old was posting season averages of 11.7 points, 9.9 rebounds and 30 minutes before going down to injury.

“Definitely closer to the four[-week side],’’ Carter said on his potential return, as relayed by Cowley. “My progress has been really good lately, so definitely closer to the four than the six.’’

The Bulls have a 3-4 record since losing Carter, who emphasized that he’s been working on his upper-body strength and watching film during rehab. He’ll likely return just before All-Star Weekend, which is set to commence between on February 14.

“It’s still pretty frustrating, but at the same time, I think everything happens for a reason,’’ Carter said. “That’s something I strongly believe in, so it’s frustrating because I’m a competitor, but on the back end it’s like, ‘OK, this happened for a reason or it could have been worse.’ Just take it in and try to get it better every day.’’

There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:

  • Sam Amick of The Athletic examines how the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo have quieted speculation regarding his 2021 unrestricted free agency, where he’s expected to garner interest from multiple teams. Milwaukee has the league’s best record at 38-6, winning its last six games. Their success has been fueled by Antetokounmpo and his MVP-caliber season (30 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 5.5 APG on 55% FG).
  • Alfonzo McKinnie is fighting to prove he belongs with the Cavaliers on a 10-day contract, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com writes. Cleveland is likely to sign McKinnie to a second 10-day deal after his current contract expires on Sunday, according to Fedor, with the 27-year-old originally signing on January 9. “I’m just excited for the opportunity,” McKinnie said. “Best league in the world so however you get in, you just have to go with that and try to stick. This is my first time ever signing a 10-day. It really ain’t no different mindset-wise. Just trying to put forth everything that you can do on the court to show the organization that you belong, that you want to be around. For me, every year that I’ve been in the league trying to solidify a spot that’s pretty much how I approach it. Just coming out and doing what I can do and leaving it all on the floor and then leaving it into the front office’s hands. Hopefully it’s good enough.”
  • The Bulls could look to ramp up trade discussions involving Thaddeus Young and Denzel Valentine as the February 6 deadline approaches, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. Schaefer examined different trade scenarios with both players, evaluating Chicago’s potential options.
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13 thoughts on “Central Notes: Carter Jr., Giannis, McKinnie, Bulls

  1. kripes-brewers

    This Giannis/Bucks thing is not a story. Stop already. He’ll be signed as soon as it’s allowed.

    • HailRodgers12$

      Yeah it’d be nice if the media or whoever stopped trying to force feed a story. But I guess with LeBron happy in Hollywood, they need to talk about someone. And apparently Anthony Davis isn’t the headline grabber right now like he was before he was traded (or does everyone just assume he’s going to re-up with the Lakers?)

    • Jason Lancaster

      Ya, why would anyone assume that a superstar talent would want to leave a small market to go play in a big one? It’s not like Milwaukee doesn’t have all the same ‘stuff’ as LA, Miami, Dallas, Houston, et al.

      And there’s no way Giannis wants to play with another superstar to try and increase his odds of winning big. There’s no way Giannis wants to play for a team that can pay the salary tax either.

      • HailRodgers12$

        Except Giannis himself has publicly stated he has no desire to play with another superstar (he won’t even work out with them in the off-season).

        Hes also stated that he likes Milwaukee.

        If it’s about money, won’t he be able to make the most by staying with Milwaukee?

        The salary tax? So because they didn’t go over to keep Brogdon (that issue has been beaten to death also..) it means they won’t for any player under any circumstances? Hmm, seems I just read a rumor (which many like to consider fact these days) that Milwaukee is considering doing just that to add a player before the deadline…THIS YEAR!
        Maybe they decided to wait to go into tax mode until the Giannis super max is actually in place?

        They might just surprise everyone and win the whole thing this year. I saw a rumor that they have a sorta kinda decent record and might even be winning by more than a point or 2 on average.

      • bdpecore

        As I see it, Giannis is already front and center when it comes to endorsements and if you think he’s the type of guy who likes being in the limelight you are dead wrong. He’s a gym rat who likes his privacy and spending time with his family. Heck, the doesn’t even like dressing up on game days and prefers wearing his track/sweatsuit.

        He is the exact opposite of almost every superstar in the NBA.

  2. Buckman

    I just watched the 4th quarter of Cle@Chi. I can empathize with Love, watching Garland and Sexton make mistake after mistake was frustrating even me. Beinlien didn’t even call TO to stop the bleeding or set up a play.

    • HailRodgers12$

      I don’t. He had to know LeBron was likely to leave (again) and he’d be stuck with a rebuilding team. Still he chose to sign an extension with Cleveland. He’s just trying to force a trade so he can be the 3rd wheel on a contender again.

      • x%sure

        There were veterans left when Lebron left. Players do not have to plan their schedules around him– not when $120MM is on the table to do otherwise.

      • lebuck

        Agreed. Love wants to have his cake and eat it too. He signed for a max deal knowing lebron was gone. What happens to every team after lebron leaves? Yeah some Veterans were left but they clearly weren’t going to move the needle

  3. Buckman

    I agree love made his money grab and is likely going to play for the Cavs due to his own decisions. From basketball strategy standpoint that 4th quarter terrible from both a coaching and playing standpoint and would frustrate experienced players.

  4. All American Johnsonville Dogs

    Rather see the Lakers acquire Valentine and one of the bulls back up pgs like aridiacon or Harrison.

    Something like
    Lakers get Valentine and Harrison
    Bulls get 2 2nd round picks, Horton Tucker, and Troy Daniels

    • Ironmonger835

      It’ll be typical Bulls luck if Valentine goes there and then has a game in the playoffs where he drops like 20 pts off the bench in 15 minutes or something. Boylen is a trash coach

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