Jevon Carter

Central Notes: Pistons, Lillard, Portis, Pacers, Carter

No matter what happens in today’s game vs. San Antonio, the Pistons will finish with the worst record in franchise history in a season that featured a record-breaking 28-game losing streak.

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic takes a look at Detroit’s disastrous 2023/24 campaign, writing that there is plenty of blame to go around. Changes could be on the horizon, however.

League sources tell Edwards that owner Tom Gores is considering hiring a president of basketball operations who would potentially become general manager Troy Weaver‘s new boss.

While Edwards suggests that Weaver and head coach Monty Williams seem likely to return in ’24/25, the situation appears to be “fluid,” since a new top decision-maker might want to overhaul the staff.

Here are a few more notes from the Central Division:

  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard, who was sidelined for Friday’s loss to Oklahoma City, is probable for Sunday’s regular season finale in Orlando, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. As Chiang notes, the Heat need Milwaukee to beat the Magic to have a chance of moving out of the play-in tournament. If the Bucks win, Milwaukee would secure the East’s No. 2 seed.
  • Bucks forward/center Bobby Portis believes he should be the frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award and his teammates agree with that assessment, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “We’ve played together four years now,” two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “I think every single year he’s been the Sixth Man of the Year, hands down.” The award typically favors high-usage guards, not big men whose offensive roles are limited by the team’s roster construction, Nehm observes, but Portis has put together a strong season, averaging 13.7 PPG and 7.4 RPG on .506/.401/.787 shooting while appearing in every game (24.4 MPG).
  • Pacers forward Obi Toppin sustained a left ankle sprain in Friday’s close loss to Cleveland, as Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files relays (via Twitter). Toppin is questionable for today’s game vs. Atlanta, as are reserve big men Isaiah Jackson (left hamstring strain) and Jalen Smith (left ankle sprain), per the league’s latest injury report. If the Pacers beat the Hawks and the Bucks defeat the Magic, Indiana would move up to the No. 5 seed in the East.
    [Update: Head coach Rick Carlisle says all three players will be active today, tweets Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star].
  • While Jevon Carter‘s first NBA season in his hometown hasn’t gone the way he envisioned when he signed with the Bulls in free agency, he has been a positive voice in the locker room and has stayed professional even when he hasn’t been part of the rotation, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “I’ve been here before,” Carter said. “This is my sixth year in the league. Every year, I’ve had to prove myself. But I never lose that confidence. I work too hard.”

Eastern Notes: Wagner, Carter, Cunningham, Middleton

The Magic have a major injury concern as the playoffs approach. Franz Wagner, who is averaging 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists, suffered a sprained right ankle during the third quarter tonight against Chicago, the team’s PR department tweets.

Initial X-rays were negative, but Wagner didn’t return to the contest. The Magic are battling for home court advantage in the opening round.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Bulls signed Jevon Carter to a three-year, $19.5MM contract last summer to fortify their backcourt. Carter hasn’t played nearly much as he anticipated, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times notes, and hopes to get a better idea this offseason what the organization plans to do with him next season. “I just want to hear something that makes sense. That’s all,” Carter said. “That’s all I’m looking for, just clarity.” Carter played in 81 games for Milwaukee last season and averaged 22.4 minutes per night. He has appeared in 68 games this season, averaging 13.6 minutes.
  • Pistons star Cade Cunningham missed his third consecutive game on Saturday against Brooklyn due to knee soreness. However, he hasn’t been ruled out for the season, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press tweets. “We do expect him back (this season). He’s working his tail off to get back on the floor,” coach Monty Williams said.
  • Bucks wing Khris Middleton departed early from his team’s game against the Knicks on Sunday. Middleton had a tooth knocked out, Newsday’s Steve Popper tweets. Donte DiVincenzo inadvertently hit him in the face and Isaiah Hartenstein fell on top of him on the play. Middleton has appeared in just 51 games this season, including a 16-game absence due to a right ankle sprain.

Central Notes: Fournier, Grimes, Bucks, Carter

Evan Fournier is glad for the change of scenery, even though he isn’t sure whether he’ll have a role with the Pistons. Fournier was languishing on the Knicks‘ bench before getting dealt to Detroit a week ago.

“I’m really excited to finally be out of New York,” he said (video link from James Edwards III of The Athletic). “As soon as I got traded they called me and said they’ve been trying to have me for the last couple of seasons now, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Fournier’s contract includes a $19MM club option for next season, which almost certainly will be declined. He hopes to show what he has to offer before the end of this season.

“I don’t know what my role is, but I’m just going to be myself and prepare as if I’m going to play,” he said. “I have to get to know the guys still, but if I can help them with what I see then I’ll gladly do it.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • There’s little doubt that Quentin Grimes, who was also included in the same trade, will have a rotation role with the Pistons, though he’s dealing with a knee sprain and won’t make his Detroit debut until after the All-Star break. “I’ve always felt like he’s one of those guys who’s trying to find that consistent path, but he has a skill set and body type that fits the way we want to play,” coach Monty Williams said, per Mike Curtis of the Detroit News. “He can shoot the ball. He’s got a big body, so defensively, he can switch and guard the way that we like to. I think there’s a lot more in his game. We want to try to figure that out.”
  • The Bucks defeated the Nuggets 112-95 on Monday, marking the second consecutive game they have held an opponent under 100 points. It’s the first time the Bucks have pulled that off in the regular season since November 2021. Giannis Antetokounmpo said the coaching change from Adrian Griffin to Doc Rivers has made a difference. “Coach Doc is holding us to a high standard,” the Bucks superstar said. “He wants us to defend. He doesn’t take lack of effort as an excuse. If you’re on the floor, you’ve got to do your best.”
  • The Bulls signed guard Jevon Carter to a three-year, $19.5MM contract last summer but he’s played a much smaller role than anticipated, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. “They don’t really have too much to say about it,” Carter said of the coaching staff’s reasons for not playing him more often. “It’s just the NBA. That’s how it goes. All I can do is keep working and be ready for whenever my name is called. And that’s what I’m going to do.” Carter has appeared in 51 games off the bench, averaging 13.8 minutes per night. He averaged 22.4 MPG while playing 81 regular season games with Milwaukee last season.

Bulls Notes: Williams, Terry, Carter, Phillips, LaVine

The right ankle pain that has been affecting Bulls forward Patrick Williams might linger for the rest of the season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Soreness in the ankle has forced Williams to sit out a couple of recent games, and there’s no indication that it’s getting better. Williams talked to Cowley about his condition after playing nearly 27 minutes in tonight’s win over Memphis.

‘‘To be honest, I haven’t had many good days,’’ Williams said. ‘‘It’s just more of, ‘Can I play through it? Is this a feeling that I can play through or not? Can I cut? Can I jump?’ That’s pretty much the feel I’m trying to get, whether it’s pregame, practice or whatever the case may be. ‘Can I cut? Can I move?’ Hopefully the answer is always yes, but there’s times where [it’s], ‘Ah, I can’t really move and cut and jump the way I’m used to.’’’

Williams is getting used to managing an injury again after playing in all 82 games last season. Cowley observes that Williams sometimes doesn’t have his usual explosiveness, which is the result of limitations from the ankle. Cowley adds that next month’s All-Star break should provide some relief, but the ankle pain could be something Williams will have to deal with as long as the Bulls’ season lasts.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • With Zach LaVine sidelined for another week or two with an ankle sprain, Dalen Terry and Jevon Carter both saw an increased role in Saturday’s game, Cowley adds. Terry recently surpassed Carter in the rotation, but it appears coach Billy Donovan will be leaning on both of them until LaVine returns. ‘‘During the course of an NBA season, you’re going to have guys out,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘It gives an opportunity for someone that hadn’t had those number of minutes. The injuries are just a part of it. I think our guys should have confidence. Not every guy is going to be in the rotation when we’re whole. I’m pleased with the way the group has responded with injuries. I think we’ve responded well. It’s not to say we’ve always won, but I think the guys that have gotten the opportunity have kept themselves ready when it was time to play.’’ Rookie forward Julian Phillips was recalled from the G League and could join the rotation if Donovan wants to expand it to 10 players, Cowley notes.
  • Imaging on LaVine’s right ankle revealed swelling, but he will accompany the team on a three-game Western trip next week, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • Tonight’s win improved the Bulls to 11-7 without LaVine in the lineup as they’re learning to adjust without one of their main offensive weapons, Cowley states in a separate story. “I think naturally it’s a next-guy-up mentality with this team,” Williams said. “We’ve shown that really over the years, but especially this year. We’ve done a good job of knowing what works, and I think that’s the sign of a good team.”

Central Notes: DeRozan, J. Carter, Garland, Giannis, J. Walker

It has been up-and-down season so far for the Bulls, who got off to a 5-14 start and have gone 14-9 since then to move into a play-in spot in the East. Viewed back in the fall as a candidate to blow up their roster prior to the trade deadline, the Bulls no longer have a clear path at the deadline, especially with Zach LaVine generating little interest.

While fans and league observing will be keeping a close eye on the Bulls in the coming weeks to see which direction they go, DeMar DeRozan – a possible trade or extension candidate – made it clear he won’t be checking Hoops Rumors for updates.

“I don’t sit up here refreshing my apps in the morning to see what’s what, rumors or anything,” DeRozan said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Should we, shouldn’t we . . . it’s a tough question for me because being in the league so long, I can really be at a point where that [expletive] doesn’t bother me.

“… My focus is making sure we’re trending in the right direction, no matter what happens. … For me, I just have learned not to carry that emotion with me because it will drive you crazy, constantly worrying about what somebody else is going to do, blah, blah, blah. I really don’t worry about it. I can’t.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • A regular contributor off the Bulls‘ bench for most of the season, guard Jevon Carter was a DNP-CD twice last week before returning to the team’s rotation for the past two games. He’s unfazed by his inconsistent role, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter link). “In and out of the rotation, that don’t really mean nothing to me,” Carter said. “I’m in the NBA. I’m blessed to be here. I’m ready whenever my name is called. Whether that’s for 82 games or 2 games, I’m ready whenever.”
  • As expected, Cavaliers guard Darius Garland was cleared this week to resume basketball activities, according to Chris Fedor of (subscription required). The former All-Star, who has been out for over a month due to a fractured jaw, will need some time to get back into game shape, but the hope is that he’ll be back on the court before the end of the month.
  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will be sidelined for Wednesday’s contest in Cleveland due to a right shoulder contusion, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The two-time MVP was not previously listed on the injury report. There’s no indication yet of how long he might be out.
  • After being drafted eighth overall last June, Pacers forward Jarace Walker hasn’t played regular minutes as a rookie, but he logged a season-high 26 minutes in Monday’s loss to Utah. As Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star writes, Walker showed signs of promise, racking up four steals and two blocks, but also showed why the team has been reluctant to feature him more consistently — he made just 3-of-11 shots from the floor and Indiana was outscored by 17 points while he was on the court. With the Pacers poised to acquire Pascal Siakam, Walker will likely remain out of the rotation for the foreseeable future.

Central Notes: Bulls Fans, Carter, Nesmith, Bolden

The Bulls intended to honor their history Friday night as they welcomed the inaugural class for their new Ring of Honor, but the ceremony was overshadowed by the fans’ reaction toward late general manager Jerry Krause, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Many fans at the United Center loudly booed at the mention of Krause, sparking an emotional reaction from his widow, Thelma, who was there to represent him.

“I’m telling you what, Chicago is a sports town, and what we witnessed today when Jerry Krause’s name was called and the people that booed Jerry Krause and his widow, who was accepting this honor for him, it was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” said former Bulls player Stacey King, who is now an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago. “I hurt for that lady. Brought her to tears, and whoever booed her in this arena should be ashamed of themselves.”

The first Ring of Honor class included 13 former players, coaches and executives, along with the entire 1995/96 team. Ex-coach Phil Jackson received the loudest cheers of the night, while franchise legend Michael Jordan didn’t attend the event but submitted a video message. Krause is blamed for breaking up the 1990s Bulls, who won six titles during the decade, a point that was emphasized in “The Last Dance” documentary.

“I’m devastated for Thelma and for the Krause family,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who was part of those title teams. “I cannot believe that the fans — and you have to understand, when you hear boos, it’s not all of them. The fans who booed, they know who they are. To me, it’s absolutely shameful, and I’m devastated by that. Whether people liked Jerry or not … we’re here to celebrate that team. Jerry did an amazing job building that team. … And I’m so disappointed in the fans — and I want to be specific because there were lots of fans who I’m sure did not boo. But those who booed, they should be ashamed.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Jevon Carter, a free agent addition last summer, appears to have fallen out of the Bulls‘ rotation, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Carter got his second straight DNP-CD against Golden State on Friday as second-year guard Dalen Terry was used ahead of him.
  • Pacers forward Aaron Nesmith was able to play after being listed as questionable Friday night, but he will miss Sunday’s game at Denver due to bilateral shin soreness, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Nesmith has started the last 10 games at small forward, and Dopirak notes that Indiana’s defense has improved since his move into the starting lineup.
  • After waiving Marques Bolden from their NBA roster last weekend, the Bucks have acquired his G League rights in a trade, the Wisconsin Herd announced (via Twitter). The Herd sent the rights to Gary Clark and a pair of 2024 G League draft picks to Salt Lake City in exchange for the 25-year-old center.

Bulls Notes: Dosunmu, Caruso, Lillard, Craig, Trade Values

Third-year guard Ayo Dosunmu gave the Bulls a much-needed lift during Sunday’s victory over Detroit, according to Kyle Williams of The Chicago Sun-Times. After a sluggish first quarter that saw the Bulls down nine points, Dosunmu helped swing the momentum in their favor in the second period, spearheading a 22-4 run with his energy and defense.

First thing I told him coming out was, ‘That quarter was because of you,’” forward DeMar DeRozan said. “The energy he brought, getting out in transition, the layups and getting those steals. I let him know that without him, that quarter would not have happened.”

Dosunmu finished with 13 points (on 6-of-7 shooting), three assists and three steals and was a game-high plus-19 in 27 minutes on the court, which was a season high. As Williams writes, Dosunmu also helped limit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham — Detroit’s leading scorer — to just 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

I closed with [Dosunmu] today,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “You could have closed with Torrey [Craig]; you could have closed with Patrick [Williams]. I just elected to go with him because I thought he was playing really well on both ends of the floor. He was playing well defensively, in particular guarding Cunningham.”

Here’s more on the Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso, who missed Sunday’s game, is considered day-to-day due to a toe injury he sustained in practice, Williams adds in another story. As K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago tweets, Caruso is doubtful for Monday’s contest vs. Milwaukee, while Bucks star Damian Lillard, who has missed the past two games with calf soreness, is probable.
  • Pistons head coach Monty Williams spoke glowingly of Craig prior to Sunday’s matchup, Kyle Williams of The Sun-Times notes. Craig, who signed with Chicago as a free agent in the offseason, played under Monty Williams in Phoenix. “He’s just an everyday guy and has a great attitude,” he said of Craig. “You could coach him; you could talk to him about other stuff outside of basketball. He just became one of my favorite players. You can play him at any wing spot, and you can play a number of defenses with him, whether it’s switching, zone or man coverage.”
  • After 10 games, the Bulls sit at 4-6. That prompted Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic to list 10 observations from the early portion of the 2023/24 season. After the team brought back most of the same group, many of the same issues from last season are still present, according to Mayberry, including a sluggish offense and the poor fit of Chicago’s “big three.” Jevon Carter, who signed with his hometown team as a free agent over the summer, has been a bright spot. But the Bulls need to shake things up and trades should be coming at some point, says Mayberry.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype projects the trade values of DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams and Caruso, writing that Caruso might fetch the most in return due to his “elite defense” and “relatively small annual salary.” Caruso is under contract for $19.4MM over the next two seasons.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, DeRozan, Caruso, Terry, Phillips, Carter

Rival teams are keeping an eye on the Bulls amid their slow start, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said Friday on “NBA Today” (hat tip to Bleacher Report). Chicago is 13th in the East with a 3-6 record, leading to speculation that changes could be coming soon.

“In talking to some people around the league, the scouts are jamming themselves into Bulls games because they realize that at some point, the Bulls may break this team up,” Windhorst said. “And they’re all gathering intelligence like, ‘What’s gonna happen with the Bulls?'”

Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan are expected to be in demand if Chicago decides to shake up its roster. There has been speculation that the Sixers may pursue LaVine with the assets they got in the James Harden deal, although one subsequent report said the Bulls have “no intention” of trading the high-scoring guard. DeRozan is playing on an expiring $28.6MM contract and hasn’t been able to work out an extension, so the team may be more inclined to part with him if it becomes a seller.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • Alex Caruso would be a valuable trade chip if the Bulls decided to move him, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Even though he comes off the bench and his value is primarily on defense, Caruso has been the team’s most valuable player so far this season, according to Mayberry. Caruso would be a valuable addition for anyone aiming to win right away and he’s signed for one more year at a team-friendly $9.9MM, Mayberry adds. A Caruso deal could help the Bulls replenish their depleted draft capital.
  • Dalen Terry, a first-round pick in 2022, has been assigned to the G League several times already this season while rookie Julian Phillips has remained with the Bulls, but coach Billy Donovan said that’s not reflective of their standing on the team, Mayberry states in the same piece. “Dalen had a whole year last year with the group,” Donovan said. “He was down in the G League some but not necessarily a lot. I think getting Julian acclimated to NBA life, around our team, practices, the flow, those kinds of things, is important. There will be a time when he’ll end up going down there and playing in games.”
  • DeRozan said he never liked Jevon Carter as an opponent because of his tenacity on defense and his mismatched shoes. Carter explained to Mayberry that the different-color sneakers were a way to get attention for the AND1 brand when he wasn’t playing regularly.

Bulls Notes: White, Williams, Grades, Phillips, Preseason

Bulls guard Coby White and forward Patrick Williams are going to be a part of Chicago’s starting lineup barring something unforeseen, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

White, in particular, impressed in the preseason and during training camp, averaging 13.2 points and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 54.3% from the field. He beat out Ayo Dosunmu and Jevon Carter for the starting job.

I haven’t done nothing yet,” White said. “If I am the starting point guard, I have to keep growing obviously. I want to be a leader of this team. Being vocal, controlling the team, getting teammates in spots where they like the ball and picking my times to be aggressive and get to the paint and force kick outs and just continue to create. I feel like the main thing for me coming into training camp was expanding on my leadership role.

Williams averaged 11.0 points in five preseason games and while he didn’t shoot well (38.5% from the floor), he finished the preseason on a strong note by playing aggressively, Johnson notes.

I think Patrick continues to evolve. He has played well,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “I think you also look at a fact of bringing Jevon, Alex [Caruso] and Torrey [Craig], there’s a good defensive mentality and energy there.

We have more Bulls-related notes:

  • White is among the biggest winners of the preseason, earning a ‘B’ grade from The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry, who says the 23-year-old looked comfortable in the lead guard role and could be a breakout player this season. Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine, Dosunmu, Torrey Craig and Carter joined White in earning ‘B’ grades while Williams and Dalen Terry both earned a ‘D,’ the lowest grade Mayberry gave out. Mayberry explains that Williams needs to become more consistent and Terry may need more time in the G League.
  • Every NBA team develops its own version of small-ball lineups built on defense that can take advantage of slower teams, and rookie Julian Phillips may be able to find a role in such a lineup, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Phillips is is incredibly bouncy and could take over the small-ball five role left vacated by the departure of Derrick Jones Jr., Cowley adds. “That’s definitely something we harp on a lot – defense,” Phillips said. “You get that shot … you have to have that mentality that all five guys are going to stay connected. You get that opportunity, you need to be ready to defend at that level, lock down somebody.
  • Even though the Bulls figured out their regular season starting lineup early in the preseason, they left plenty of boxes on their camp to-do list unchecked, Cowley opines in another piece. Those unchecked boxes include utilizing Vucevic as a passing hub, which the big man says is “still a work in progress,” their play on the defensive end of the ball, and what the rotation will look like. K.C. Johnson agreed the Bulls have a long way to go on defense and will need to improve in that area.

Alex Caruso Discusses Starting Role, DPOY Dreams, Play-In Finish, More

Bulls guard Alex Caruso offered some clarity about which position he prefers to play in an extensive conversation with K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.

“The power forward one is not my favorite,” Caruso, who started at both the point guard and power forward positions at various points last year, told Johnson. “It took a toll on me the second half. It was rough. That’s one of the added benefits I think I bring to a team. I feel I’m pretty unselfish.”

Caruso addressed the possibility that he may not start games with the club this year.

“I’ve talked to (head coach) Billy (Donovan) and some of the assistants about being more selfish at times,” Caruso said. “It’s almost putting a burden on the team when I’m not selfish at times, when I pass up shots or pass up opportunities to be aggressive or to speak up. So this starting stuff is what it is. I’d rather play late in the game than early in the game. When it counts, I want to be on the court.”

Caruso, who made an All-Defensive First Team for the first time in his career last season, did not start in Chicago’s first preseason game on Sunday, a 105-102 loss to a Bucks team missing stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton.

Their entire chat is well worth reading in full. Here are some highlights:

Caruso on his next goals for end-of-season hardware:

“The way [Defensive Player of the Year] is kind of voted on and based off of now is the interior has the upper hand on that just because of blocks and rebounds. I probably don’t have enough of those to be under consideration. But you never know. I might have an incredible year.”

On how the Bulls’ two big new signings, Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig, can positively impact the team:

“We’ve already seen it. There was one play in practice today where me and Ayo (Dosunmu) got a stop and then Torrey got a block and Jevon got a strip and we got another stop. If we have me and Ayo and Drum (Andre Drummond) on that second unit and we add those two pieces, it’s going to be hard to get a good shot off against that second unit if we’re locked in. Once we do, we have multiple ball-handlers and can break out and run a little bit. I’m excited. They fit really well for the mentality that me and Ayo and Drum have played with the last couple years.”

On how he felt watching the Heat advance to the NBA Finals after narrowly beating Chicago during their play-in game:

“The playoffs are so matchup-based and Jimmy (Butler) was going crazy in that first round against the Bucks. That propelled them. Who knows what would’ve happened if we had won that game? I thought we played so well. It was almost the opposite of Toronto where I thought Toronto played better than us for two-and-a-half, three quarters and then we kind of won the game late. I thought we played better than Miami for the majority of that game and it was a better matchup for us. We had won the season series. And then they just made more plays and more shots down the stretch.

“Basketball is a make-or-miss league. But I don’t think back to that game as much as I do to four or five games during the season that we should’ve won. We should beat the teams that are under .500, definitely at home. And then you’re not even in the play-in game. And that didn’t sit well with me as I tried to sleep at night.”