The Orlando Magic acquired big man Wendell Carter Jr. at the trade deadline in the 2020-21 season, trading away franchise cornerstone Nikola Vucevic to the Chicago Bulls in the process.
Following the 2021-22 season, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman joined Mike Bianchi on FM 96.9 The Game’s Open Mike to give his thoughts on the trade and Carter’s development.
“Listen, I’m happy for Vooch,” Weltman said. “Chicago had a good year and obviously, they’ll be in the playoffs. I always wish Vooch luck. But that said, obviously, I’m very pleased with the way that things worked out. I think that Wendell has already established himself this season as a top 10 center. Wendell’s numbers reflect tremendous growth, but his game isn’t reflected by his numbers. This is a guy, who everything that he does is about winning – on the court, off the court. Tremendous young guy. Just turned 23. His future is entirely in front of him and all that he does is lift his teammates up, on the court (and) off the court.”
The Magic finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference in the 2021-22 season, as they went just 22-60, but that isn’t reflective of Carter’s season.
Carter had by far his best season in the NBA, as the 23-year old appeared in 62 games and averaged 15.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Carter also shot 52.5 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from beyond the arc this season.
The 3-point numbers are impressive for a big man, as Carter averaged 1.1 3-pointers made per game in the 2021-22 campaign.
The Magic clearly feel like he can be a big part of their future alongside guards like Jalen Suggs, Cole Anthony and Markelle Fultz.
This may be one of the times that a trade worked out for both parties, as the Magic were able to jump-start their rebuild with a solid young player while the Bulls made the playoffs this season.
Weltman and the Magic certainly hope that Carter continues to develop into one of the better big men in the game over the next few seasons.