The Bulls’ offseason had been full of good vibes as of Wednesday morning. Their moves have been lauded by local (including myself and Ricky) and national pundits alike, setting up optimism heading into the 2019-20 season.
But the Bulls apparently can’t have nice things for too long, as the team just announced core muscle surgery for Wendell Carter Jr. scheduled for next week. Carter is expected to be back from training camp, but this is clearly a setback and you never know with these timetables:
Had line last month Carter’s offseason workouts had been slowed a bit by back soreness. On draft night, was told Carter was back on track. Minor or not, Bulls/Carter talked about adding strength this offseason after rookie season cut short by thumb surgery. Setback for sure.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 3, 2019
Carter, the No. 7 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, showed promise on both ends of the floor in his rookie season, but it was cut short by a thumb injury that required surgery in January. In 44 appearances, he averaged 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 25.2 minutes per game.
This was set to be a big summer for Carter ahead of a crucial second season in which developing a rapport with Lauri Markkanen is of the utmost importance. Carter and Markkanen were the two players reported as “untouchables” leading up to the NBA Draft, and they need to get more minutes together after that not happening much this past season.
The Bulls now have Thaddeus Young, Luke Kornet, Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio in place as big-man depth, but let’s just hope Carter is indeed able to get healthy for training camp. And once that occurs, let’s hope he can actually stay healthy as he continues to fill out his frame and develop his game. His presence as a defensive anchor and versatile offensive big man are crucial to this rebuild.