“Jevon Carter has agreed on a three-year, $20 million deal with the Chicago Bulls,” tweeted Wojnarowski on June 30. Carter leaves the Bucks to bring Bulls his perimeter toughness.”
Carter, 27, is coming off a season in which he averaged career-highs of 8.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while shooting 42.1% from beyond the arc on a career-high 7.0 threes per game for the Bucks. His arrival in Chicago – and departure from the Milwaukee Bucks – got this response from former teammate and former Bull, Bobby Portis.
“My dog,” Portis tweeted in the wake of Carter’s signing.
Portis was drafted by the Bulls with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and spent the first three-plus seasons of his career in Chicago before they traded him to the Washington Wizards. He spent a season with the New York Knicks and helped the Bucks win the championship in 2020-21.
Carter, who began his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, drew a career-high 39 starts and made 81 total appearances in the regular season in 2022-23. He averaged 9.4 points on 56.5% true shooting and hit 42.6% of his triples with 3.1 assists, and 3.1 rebounds in those starts.
The 6-foot Chicago-area native, Carter, a former second-round pick (No. 32 overall in 2018) also comes with 22 games of playoff experience over the last three seasons to his credit.
That includes an NBA Finals run with the Phoenix Suns team that lost to the Bucks in 2020-21.
“One of the better POA defenders in the sport who .. became .. a really good pull-[up shooter almost randomly,” tweeted Nekias Duncan of ‘The Dunker Spot’ podcast in the aftermath of the deal. “We’ll see if it holds, but the defense alone makes him worthwhile for CHI. This could end up looking cheap.”
The Bulls got an up close and personal look at what Carter could do when he was on this past season when they hosted the Bucks at the United Center on February 16, a game the Bucks won 112-100 thanks in no small part to Carter’s efforts.
He finished that contest with 22 points, six assists, six rebounds, and one steal while turning the ball over just two times.
Carter declined the $2.2 million option on his two-year, $4.3 million pact to enter free agency.
Bulls Lock Up Coby White
Even before landing Carter, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas was aggressive in addressing his backcourt, locking up Coby White on a three-year contract that maxes out a $40 million, per Johnson.
“He’s got better in every aspect of his game,” Karnisovas said during his exit interview on the Bulls’ YouTube channel on April 15. “I think that’s a good example of a player that is developing and taking strides from decision-making to defense to three-point shooting…He’s been really good for us and has been key in a lot of wins so he’s gotten really better.”
Karnisovas suggested fans should hold off on judging the Bulls’ offseason until free agency and, so far, he has locked up White and center Nikola Vucevic (three years, $60 million) while bringing in Carter to shore up the point guard position.
How that will all be judged by fans remains to be seen and will likely change depending on what else the Bulls do.
They are faced with a similar lack of size as they were coming into last season.
White spent much of the last two seasons on the trading block and seemingly fell out of Donovan’s rotation at times. But, despite that and not having his best statistical season, he improved enough in several other areas to possibly even make things interesting with Carter heading into training camp.
Ayo Dosunmu Could Be Odd Man Out
The Bulls’ use of the mid-level exception to bring in Carter hard caps them when they reach the $172 million luxury tax apron, meaning they would not be able to add any more salary without cutting or trading someone.
That does not apply to Ayo Dosunmu, who is a restricted free agent after the Bulls extended a qualifying offer to him.
Since they own Dosunmu’s bird rights, they can go over the salary cap to re-sign him.
Dosunmu was projected to get a three-year deal, similar to what White received, though the dollar amount was unclear.
Karnisovas said that they would go into the tax if need be to retain their players during his exit interview. They currently sit $11.3 million below the luxury tax threshold, per Spotrac, and could always get out of it by the trade deadline in February to avoid paying which team governor Jerry Reinsdorf has done once since it was introduced in 2001.