Duke basketball: NBA Blue Devil heading to Orlando in giant trade

Duke basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images) /

A recent lottery pick from the Duke basketball program is packing his bags.

As of Thursday’s March trade madness, Duke basketball product Wendell Carter Jr. is no longer with the Chicago Bulls (19-24), the franchise that drafted the 6-foot-10, 270-pound big man at No. 7 overall back in 2018.

Instead, as ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported roughly four hours before the NBA’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline, Carter is off to the Orlando Magic (15-29) as part of a somewhat surprising trade.

In addition to snagging journeyman veteran forward Al-Farouq Aminu from the Magic, the Bulls will receive the highlight of the deal in All-Star giant Nikola Vucevic, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound potent offensive weapon who was averaging 24.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in what is the 30-year-old’s eighth season in Orlando.

In return, along with Carter, the Bulls are sending reserve wing Otto Porter, on top of 2021 and 2023 first-round draft picks, to the Magic.

Will the former Duke basketball one-and-done regain a major role?

Wendell Carter Jr.’s stats have neither improved nor regressed in his third campaign as a pro. No, the oft-injured 21-year-old, who has yet to play more than 44 games in a season, is again showing promise but too often hanging out in the land of relative mediocrity.

The NBA Blue Devil is averaging 10.9 points, 7.8 boards, and 0.8 blocks in 24.8 minutes per game while shooting 51.2 percent from the field.

And ever since the return of Lauri Markkanen to the Chicago Bulls lineup two weeks ago, Carter’s production and playing time have dropped off a bit after losing what had been a full-time starting gig — when healthy, of course — that spanned his entire NBA career.

Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports opined that Carter should now fit in quite well with the Orlando Magic while seeing plenty of minutes given the apparent youth movement:

"“Getting two first-round picks is a bonus, and perhaps a change in scenery — and weather — will positively impact Carter’s career going forward. He’ll be given tons of opportunity down in Orlando on a team that has made it clear that it’s entering rebuild mode, and he has shown flashes of being an impactful player on both ends of the floor.”"

Next. The 100 greatest Blue Devils under Coach K. dark

Yes, the floor is exactly where Wendell Carter Jr. needs to remain these days in order to start taking more significant steps toward reaching the clear potential that he regularly exhibited as a Duke basketball player.