Central Notes: Carter, Giannis, Pistons, Pacers

Hoops Rumors

On the morning of the 2020 draft, a report indicated that the Bulls had offered Wendell Carter Jr. to Golden State in a trade to move up from No. 4 to No. 2. After Chicago stayed put on draft night, head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas denied trying to trade up.

Asked this week about those trade rumors, Carter didn’t sound too stressed about the subject of some draft-day speculation, suggesting he “had a lot of faith” that he would stick with the Bulls, as Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes.

“When I first saw it, I kind of knew it was BS,” Carter said. “I didn’t pay much attention to it. Then my family members started hitting me up about it, like, ‘Man, what’s going on?’ You going to Oakland?’ I’m, like, ‘Man, I feel like I’m good.’ … I knew the coaching staff and the front office believed in me from the talks that we’ve had. … It’s always a little anxiety when you see your name floating around as possibly being traded. But deep down in my heart, I knew I was going to be a Bull.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • The Bucks are anxiously waiting to find out whether Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign a five-year super-max extension with the team, but fellow All-Star Khris Middleton and head coach Mike Budenholzer said on Thursday that they’re focusing on supporting the reigning MVP rather than pushing him to sign. “He knows that I deeply want him to return and sign this extension, but at the same time, I know he’s got a big decision that he’s got to work through himself and with his family at home because those are the most important people,” Middleton said, according to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “Whatever he does, he knows that I’ll support him to the fullest.”
  • While the Pistons are no longer carrying as many centers on their roster as it appeared they might early in free agency, general manager Troy Weaver told reporters on Thursday that he didn’t mind the perception that he was stockpiling big men. “Let the record show. I know there was a lot about we were collecting a lot of centers — absolutely!” Weaver said, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “I love bigs. … I believe that’s the way you win, by controlling the backboards. It’s held true. I’ve never seen a team win a championship without controlling the backboard.”
  • The Pacers have officially announced a handful of new additions to Nate Bjorkgren‘s coaching staff, including confirming the previously-reported hiring of assistant coach/player development Calbert Cheaney. Bjorkgren is also bringing Tyler Marsh with him from the Raptors as a player development assistant.

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