Report: Wendell Carter Jr. is player to monitor ahead of NBA trade deadline

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Magic big man Wendell Carter Jr. is reportedly a player to monitor ahead of the trade deadline.

“Orlando’s frontcourt depth (via Paolo Banchero, brothers Franz and Moritz Wagner, frequent starter Goga Bitadze and Jonathan Isaac) and the eventual need to sign Banchero and Franz Wagner to lucrative extensions has led to the belief in some rival front offices that Carter is available in this trade window,” Marc Stein wrote.

“As the league’s Feb. 8 trade deadline approaches, I keep hearing that Carter is a player to monitor.”

Most of Carter’s numbers are down compared to a season ago when he averaged a career-high 15.2 points per game. He is averaging 8.1 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 42.5 percent from the floor and 40.6 percent from 3-point range in 13 appearances (10 starts) with Orlando during the 2023-24 regular season.

He has appeared in just 13 games so far this season because he broke his hand back in November, which kept him sidelined for a substantial period of time.

Arguably Carter’s best performance of the past few weeks came when the Magic took on the Phoenix Suns on New Year’s Eve. In 24 minutes of playing time off the Orlando bench, he accumulated 17 points, five rebounds and two assists while shooting 6-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from behind the 3-point arc.

The 24-year-old also came off the bench in the Magic’s most recent game against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 3. Across 21 minutes of action, Carter racked up nine points, seven rebounds and three assists in a game the Magic went on to lose in double overtime by a final score of 138-135.

The Magic’s loss to the Kings marked the team’s third straight defeat. After a hot start to the season, the Magic have cooled down as of late, as evidenced by their 3-7 record over their past 10 games.

Orlando now sits as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference at 19-15 and owns an identical record to the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks, who are the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in the conference.

The Magic are scheduled to play a formidable opponent in the next game on their regular-season schedule. Carter is questionable for the team’s road game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.

The Nuggets, led by Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, are winners of eight out of their last 10 games and picked up a three-point road victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.

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Jesse is an aspiring sports journalist that has previously worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.