Posts Tagged ‘Vince Carter’

TORONTO – Although he turns 41 in January, Vince Carter isn’t closing the door on another NBA season after this one. And on Sunday, after what could have been his final game in Toronto as a member of the visiting Sacramento Kings, he left the door open in a broad way, teasing a potential reunion with the franchise he launched his career with.

“It’ll happen I’m sure,” Carter said when asked about the Raptors‘ reported free agency interest last summer. “Somehow, whether it’s one day or something, it’ll happen. It’s supposed to happen I think. I can say that now.”

There lies the hook. The “one day” could mean a single-day contract, the kind that many pro sports teams have honoured some of their best players with before retirement.

One thing is for certain: Raptors fans as a collective have softened their stance on Carter in the last few years. When he returned as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2014-15, the majority of fans cheered Toronto’s former franchise player following a video tribute. That continued Sunday when fans cheered his surprise inclusion in the Kings’ starting lineup and then gave him a standing ovation after he exited with 11 seconds remaining.

“I still don’t know,” Carter said about whether he’d play next season. “If you’re asking me today, I’ll say I have one more in me.”

Carter finished Sunday’s loss to the Raptors with four points, three blocks, two assists, a rebound, and a steal in 25 minutes of action.

Advertisements

Half-man, half-amazing. Air Canada. Vinsanity.

Vince Carter is still playing basketball at 40 years old and hasn’t been a member of the Raptors since his trade to the New Jersey Nets on Dec. 17, 2004. Regardless, he still feels a strong bond with the city of Toronto.

“Of course, I’d like for (the Raptors) to retire my jersey,” Carter told Marc J. Spears of ESPN. “You’d always like your jersey retired. That is where it’s started.”

Carter was a fan favorite throughout most of his tenure in Toronto. After being drafted in 1998, he played six-and-a-half seasons with the Raptors and made the All-Star team every year after his rookie campaign. He took the team to the second round in 2001, before missing the final shot in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers.

However, things turned sour and Carter’s relationship with the Raptors disintegrated before he was traded to the Nets early in the 2004-05 season. He was booed for years each time he returned to Toronto as a visiting player, although his relationship with the team and its fans has improved greatly in recent seasons.

Overall, Carter averaged 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game in 383 total appearances with the Raptors.

His next game in Toronto is coincidentally on the same day he was traded 13 years ago. Carter’s current team, the Sacramento Kings, visits Air Canada Centre on Dec. 17 for what could potentially be his last trip as an opponent.

 Vince Carter #15
 

With Hollywood power players descending on Toronto for the city’s annual film festival, one documentary of local interest has been “The Carter Effect”, chronicling Vince Carter‘s impact more than a decade ago on the Raptors franchise and basketball in Canada.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri attended the premiere Saturday, and during a Q&A alongside the film’s producers, offered a somewhat unclear statement. “Vince Carter will be home in Toronto,” Ujiri said, according to Sportsnet’s Michael Grange.

Carter signed with the Sacramento Kings as a free agent in July. There’s been speculation for a few years now that the Raptors could have an interest in bringing the onetime face of the franchise back, but it hasn’t happened – even though Carter could have filled a Toronto roster need this summer.

Turning 41 in January, time is running out on the playing career of the man once known as “Air Canada”, who since carved out a niche as an effective role player after his superstar days ended.

It’s quite possible, however, that Ujiri was also hinting at the chances of the Raptors organization one day retiring Carter’s number. While some Toronto fans still hold the circumstances around his controversial 2004 trade against him, there’s little doubt about Carter’s impact on the NBA in Canada.

Though his peak playing performance with the Raptors only lasted from 1999 to 2001, the Floridian was also responsible for capturing the hearts and minds of a generation of young Canadian basketball enthusiasts. Toronto NBA products such as Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph, and Andrew Wiggins have all pointed to Carter’s presence during their childhoods as some level of inspiration.

The Raptors have retired no player numbers in their 22-year history. Carter wore No. 15 with the team from 1998-2004.

vince-carter-memphis-grizzlies

Vince Carter won’t call it quits just yet.

The 40-year-old swingman revealed after the Memphis Grizzlies‘ first-round defeat to the San Antonio Spurs that he has no plans to retire, and aims to play another two seasons before ending his career.

“I said to myself ‘I want to play 15 years.’ I don’t know where I got that from. And then I got to 15 years and I kept going. I never capped it, but at the same time I’ve had a lot of players remind me of things I’ve said. I’m still saying ‘two more years and I’m done,'” Carter said, according to RealGM.com.

Despite never winning a championship throughout his 19-year career, Carter says he isn’t looking to latch onto a contender, and will consider re-signing with the Grizzlies this offseason.

“I hear people say all the time, ‘Go chase the ring.’ That word ‘chase’ is tough for me,” Carter told Geoff Calkins of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I’m comfortable here, my family is comfortable here, we’re building something exciting and great and I enjoy going to work with these guys every day.”

Carter averaged eight points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists on 39.4 percent shooting for Memphis this season.

img_7998

LeBron James is just 31, but he’s already played more total NBA minutes than all but 26 people in history. He’s far closer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning, and nothing has snapped that into focus with greater clarity than the recent retirements of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett.

James told reporters Tuesday that he knows his generation of stars – which is largely comprised of close friends Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul – will be the next to say goodbye.

“We’re on deck,” he said.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be walking away any time soon. James put forth arguably his most transcendent stretch of play in the Finals less than four months ago, Paul was an All-NBA second teamer and All-Defensive first teamer, and Anthony and Wade both put up All-Star seasons with PERs over 20. They may be on the back nine, but they still have a lot of fairway in front of them.

Still, this year’s departure of a triumvirate of generational stars that first came to prominence in the late 90s clearly has James feeling his NBA mortality.

There’s a tiny remnant of active stars and ex-stars who came into the league before him and his famed 2003 draft cohorts. There’s Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce,Vince Carter, and … that’s about it. Few others stand between James and elder statesmanship, between him and the black void of retirement. Father time spares no one.

when-vince-carter-broke-the-dunk
 

Asked Sunday by ESPN what keeps bringing him back to the court, the 39-year-old replied: “Love for the game. Nothing else.

“I just love to play. It’s not out of me yet. When I don’t want to play and don’t want to put the work in, that’s when I step away from the game, but right now I still love it.”

The legendary dunker, who was taking in the Alcorn State-Bethune Cookman college football game, also shed some light on when he’s thinking about hanging up his sneakers.

“Not right now,” Carter said. “We know No. 19 is definitely going to go down. I’m shooting for 20, and we’ll go from there after that.”

If he does manage to play for 20 seasons, he’ll become only the second guard in league history to do so, after Kobe Bryant.

The eight-time All-Star averaged 6.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and an assist over 60 games for the 55-win Grizzlies last season. He’ll earn $4.3 million in 2016-17, which marks the third and final year on the deal he signed with Memphis.

8adc2f86b6eb87b2e2322872c8e3fbfb_crop_north

Former seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady has been open with how he regrets leaving the Toronto Raptors after just three seasons to sign a big contract with the Orlando Magic, knowing that if he had stayed north of the border, he and his cousin, Vince Carter, could have created something truly special.

Now working as both an analyst and ambassador for the game, McGrady gets to watch from afar as some of today’s biggest names dictate their own futures through free agency.

The biggest move of the offseason saw four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant join the 73-win Golden State Warriors, which T-Mac hardly approves of.

“I was disappointed in the move to Golden State,” McGrady said in a phone interview with Complex Sports’ Chris Gaine. “I wasn’t disappointed that he left, I mean he’s a free agent, he’s able to go wherever he wants. But I just think having a team now coming off a championship run and you have the champs down 3-1, and they come back and defeat you. I just think as a competitor, you would come back and try to dethrone them with the same team.”

After nine seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and just one Finals appearance, Durant decided to take his talents to the Bay Area on a two-year, $54.2-million contract, joining forces with back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry, as well as fellow U.S. men’s Olympic team members Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. By doing so, the 27-year-old left behind a roster that not only won at least 55 games four of the last six seasons, but featured a fellow top-5 talent in Russell Westbrook.

“You’re playing with a top-five point guard in Russell Westbrook. I mean to me, I think OKC is a championship-caliber team. They displayed that; they just had a major collapse in the Western Conference Finals against Golden State,” McGrady said. “But I was highly disappointed that he chose Golden State to go and play for the other team. I wanted him to stay in OKC.”

The makeup of the league has undoubtedly changed since McGrady called it a career. The salary cap has hit record heights, providing teams the financial freedom to put together rosters the way Golden State has. If McGrady had things his way, the NBA’s biggest stars would be more evenly distributed to level the playing field.

“They’re awful,” he said of superteams. “I think it’s bad considering they tried to change things in the (collective bargaining agreement) to stop all of the superteams. And with the $93-million salary cap, you’re not going to be able to stop that. Teams have so much money to spend on players, it’s like AAU basketball nowadays in the league. Whereas when I was playing you had a superstar on the Orlando Magic. You had a superstar in Boston in Paul Pierce. You had a superstar in Philadelphia in Allen Iverson. You had a superstar in Toronto in Vince Carter. You had Ray Allen, a superstar in Milwaukee. That made it such a competitive league and the guys I was with, everybody didn’t team up. We were all trying to beat each other’s a**.”