Michael Carter-Williams Rumors
Rumors also persist the Bucks would depart with Michael Carter-Williams as part of a package to acquire a top 10 pick.
One might imagine the Bucks are set at the point guard position, especially after making a midseason trade for Michael Carter-Williams and Tyler Ennis. There are some NBA officials, though, who contend the Bucks aren’t totally sold on Carter-Williams, just like they weren’t completely sold on Brandon Knight, whom they dealt to Phoenix in the deal in February.
Carter-Williams grew up trying to pattern his game after Kidd and the former Oakland prodigy’s mentor — Gary Payton. “He’s certainly in the mold of Jason Kidd,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said of Carter-Williams. “You can see why they tried to acquire him. He has great size at that position, terrific vision, he makes other players better, you can play him in different areas in the court, he can play in the post, he can play in transition. And he’s extremely disruptive defensively with his size and length.”
“He’s one of the most talented basketball players I’ve seen in a while,” said Bucks point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who played with Ledo for a year at St. Andrew’s high school in Rhode Island. “I think it’s been tough on him just because he hasn’t got a chance in the NBA, really. He didn’t get a chance to play in college. I think (the Knicks) see a little bit of his talent, but I think as time goes, you’ll see a lot more.” Ledo and Carter-Williams plan on working out together this summer, just like they have for the past few years. But unlike Carter-Williams, Ledo’s NBA future is uncertain. He needs to get in better shape, improve his defense and learn New York’s triangle offense to remain with the organization.
The 6-foot-6, 195-pounder will return to the Wells Fargo Center for the first time Monday night, eager to face his old team. “I can’t wait to come back to Philly,” he said Friday. “Of course it’s going to be fun because, you know, they traded me, so there’s a little edge there.”
Midseason trades require a multitude of adjustments for an NBA player. New teammates, new coaches and new philosophies must all be adapted to and mastered. And then there are those pesky pronouns. “A lot of things are different,” Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams said Friday after a shootaround at Madison Square Garden. “The dynamic of the team is different. I think we have a few more vet guys than Philly does. It’s just a different coaching staff. Not to say one is better than the other. Things are just different. “Of course, they are,” he added, nodding at teammates seated behind him before quickly realizing his mistake. “We are playing for the playoffs and Philly is looking to rebuild, so it’s just two different styles.”
Coach Brett Brown was not quite on board with the deal that sent away Carter-Williams, and that’s led to rumors of tension between Brown and general manager Sam Hinkie. Sources around the league, though, say such tension has been minimal, and that though Brown would like to start winning sooner rather than later, he understands Hinkie’s focus on the long term. Brown refused to take the job in 2013 without a four-year contract to ensure security as the losses piled up, and it appears he is not going anywhere for now.
Despite rumors that the 76ers had been trying to deal him since the summer, the trade took Carter-Williams by surprise. The 76ers lost 63 games last season, but Carter-Williams, along with Everett native Nerlens Noel, had become potential cornerstones, and Carter-Williams felt comfortable being part of a growing organization. “I didn’t know it was coming,” he said. “But I’m in a good situation now. I’m trying to move on from it. It’s good to be stable and have teammates for more than however time. It’s good to know that I’m going to be here growing with guys and knowing the chemistry, just to build on relationships. [Losing in Philadelphia] was tough, but Philly treated me great. I’ve got nothing really bad to say about them. I’m a Milwaukee Buck now and I hope I’m here for a while.”
Carter-Williams is starting over in his second year in the NBA. The Hamilton native is playing for one of the best point guards of all time in Jason Kidd and is trying to regain his confidence after being unnerved by the trade and thrown into a playoff situation with the emerging Bucks. “It was the first time I’ve ever been traded, I didn’t know how to handle things,” Carter-Williams said. “I was still having some feelings toward me leaving my old teammates. We got a lot of things out on the table. I think the guys here did a great job of helping me feel comfortable. Just talking to coaches and building a relationship with them and the players. It took a little bit, but it’s there now. We just want to win on the court and continue to build relationships.”
Nerlens Noel said that when he called Ish Smith the first “true point guard I ever played with,” it was not a knock on Michael Carter-Williams. “Nah, I’d never do that,” the 76ers rookie said Wednesday about his former point guard. “He’s a playmaker. There are times when you need a scoring point guard that’s going to get in the lane, create and make scoring opportunities.
Nerlens Noel said his comments about Ish Smith being the first “true point guard I ever played with” wasn’t a knock on Michael Carter-Williams. “Nah, I’d never do that,” Noel said Wednesday about the former 76ers point guard. “He’s a playmaker. There are times when you need a scoring point guard that’s going to get in the lane, create and make scoring opportunities. That’s just the way the NBA is when you are that big [6-foot-6]. It’s good that you utilize your length and your ability to get the basket. I would never take a shot at him.”
But Carter-Williams will also acknowledge his mind hasn’t been totally on basketball. His grandfather, Leroy “Mike” Carter died Sunday in Hamilton , Mass. , from an apparent blood clot. He was 86. Carter-Williams said he and his grandfather had a special bond and spent a lot of time together over the years. Leroy was a veteran of the Korean War before becoming the owner of Carter’s Stables in Hamilton . He was an equestrian who trained race and show horses. “When I found out my grandfather had died, it hit me pretty hard,’’ Carter-Williams said. “It still hurts. I was very close to him. He lived next door to my family my whole life. “It was a tough loss for me and my family.’’
Asked about the Knight trade’s impact on the team, Kidd said: “It’s something much bigger than that that you guys are going to have to wait and write about. Right? You guys look at the moment. Sometimes you’ve got to look in front of you. I think the trade was a good thing, a positive thing no matter how our record shakes out. We’re here to build something, not to do something in six months. There’s a bigger picture. We feel we have a core here that will be around for a long time and have success.”
Charles F. Gardner: Jason Kidd made vigorous defense of trade deadline deal in pregame at Barclays Center. “We’re here to build something, not to do something in six months. There’s a bigger picture. I think the trade was a good thing, a positive thing no matter how our record shakes out.”
Bob Cooney: MCW on The Plan: as far as I knew, I was involved in the long term plan, especially with me, Joel and Nerlens. It was really us 3 that were the core group. We were told we were going to be here for a pretty long time. I thought I was a cornerstone for that team. Me, Nerlens and Joel.
“It’s going to be awkward,” Brown said of seeing Carter-Williams in a different uniform. “It’s going to be different. You know it’s part of our jobs. I still communicate with Michael and K.J., and I follow [K.J.] every time K.J. plays.