The center position has been limited in the 2023 NBA Free Agency. The big names that were available were signed early. Since then, not much has been available, but now Vernon Carey Jr. is an option. The move has been made official, per NBA.com’s transactions log.
Carey was chosen out of Duke with the 32nd overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft. The now 21-year-old spent his rookie season with the Charlotte Hornets. Though, they shipped him to the Washington Wizards at the 2022 trade deadline. The young big man has not seen much playing time in his first three seasons. He’s appeared in 37 total games for 187 minutes, including 28 minutes over 11 games with Washington last season.
Vernon Carey Jr. was a solid player for the Wizards’ G-League Affiliate, the Capital City Go-Go, last season. He averaged 20.7 PPG 8.3 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.9 BPG in 14 regular season games (27.6 MPG). Though, the Wizards moved off of the big man and waived him at the beginning of March. By the end of the season, he had signed a multi-year deal with the Utah Jazz. The contract was non-guaranteed for the upcoming season, so there won’t be any cap hit.
Teams that may be interested:
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers have been a team to watch this offseason, with Damian Lillard officially requesting a trade. It appears that they may be going young and may be due for a rebuild soon. They also have a brand new G-League Affiliate, the Rip City Remix. They have a young core already once Lillard is moved with Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe and Scoot Henderson. There have been rumors that Jusuf Nurkic may be on the move as well, so Vernon Carey Jr. could see lots of playing time in Portland one way or another.
Oklahoma City Thunder
From what we saw last season, the Thunder are closer to competing now than they are to rebuilding. The lineup still may need some help with their big-man presence.
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