Houston Rockets trade Michael Carter-Williams to Chicago Bulls

By Tevin Williams
Michael Carter-Williams #1 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Michael Carter-Williams #1 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets have traded Michael Carter-Williams to the Chicago Bulls in an effort to ease their large luxury tax bill.

As a backup point guard, Michael Carter-Williams didn’t contribute as well as the Rockets hoped. The team signed MCW to a one-year, $1.76 million contract back on July 6, 2018.

Carter-Williams struggled to fit in Houston’s offense and quickly fell out of the rotation. On Monday, the Rockets traded MCW and cash to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for a heavily protected future second-round pick, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Bulls plan to waive Carter-Williams on Monday before 5 PM, when his contract will be fully guaranteed for the season, making him a free agent.

As a result of the deal, Houston’s luxury tax bill will drop from $16.3 million to $13.7 million, saving ownership $2.6 million. It will also create an open roster spot on the team, which the Rockets could use to sign Danuel House Jr. to a regular contract from a two-way contract. House is starting for the Rockets with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon injured and he is averaging 13.8 points and is shooting 58.8 percent from 3-point range over his last four games.

Carter-Williams was signed by Houston in an effort to add more back court depth. MCW played well in the preseason, but he averaged just 4.3 points in 9.1 minutes per game in the regular season for Houston. He has also appeared in just 16 games this season and most of his minutes recently came exclusively in garbage time.

A former Rookie of the Year, Carter-Williams’ scoring has dropped in every year since the 2013-14 season. The Rockets were out scored by 19.7 points per 100 possessions when MCW was on the floor, giving him the worst net rating on the team of any player that has played at least 100 minutes. The team’s offensive and defensive rating plummeted whenever Carter-Williams was on the floor, which quickly made him unplayable in the eyes of Mike D’Antoni.

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Carter-Williams’ minutes and production continue to decrease as the years go on and it looks like his time in the NBA could come to an end sooner rather than later.