HoopsHype Vince Carter rumors

March 13, 2014 Updates
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February 26, 2014 Updates

Vince Carter was a little surprised when New York's J.R. Smith tugged at Carter's headband and pulled it over his ear. Surprised, but not upset about it. Carter said Wednesday that he thought Smith's action in the fourth quarter of the Dallas Mavericks' 110-108 victory over the Knicks on Monday was all in good fun. "It didn't bother me," Carter said after the Mavericks' shootaround. "I hear everybody making a big deal about it, but he didn't pull it over my eyes where I couldn't see or play the game, so it wasn't a big deal. But I know because it's him, it's an issue. He didn't want me to make any more shots. It was just funny to me." Dallas Morning News

Carter said he considers Smith a good friend and realizes that, because of Smith's past, that's why the headband issue has been such a hot topic. "I didn't argue with the refs or anything like that," he said. "It wasn't a big deal to me." Dallas Morning News

February 25, 2014 Updates
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Standing in a tunnel at American Airlines Center in Dallas earlier this season, Cuban gushed describing an athlete of such talent and grit that the Basketball Hall of Fame should induct him now, rather than waiting for retirement. “He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer,” says Cuban. “People around here say we have to get Dirk another title. I want to get Vince a title as bad as I want to get Dirk another one. He’s made us a smarter, better organization. He comes to play. He takes charges—he takes pride in taking charges. Like all of us, he’s grown up. I want him to stay here the rest of his career.” SportsNet

And somewhere along the way, the franchise seemed to lose faith in its star. “When coach O’Neill came and [later] coach Mitchell came, to me, they were making a point that this ship is going to move without you. We don’t need you,” says Alvin Williams of the attitude toward Carter, his one-time teammate. “Both of those coaches came into the situation with the idea of: ‘Vince who?’ And I think Vince wasn’t used to that, and it was an unfortunate situation because he was still our best player, by far, but he wasn’t treated like our best player. You could tell something was going on.” SportsNet

For his part, Babcock claims to have been blindsided by Carter’s frustrations with the club, but if that’s true, he wasn’t paying attention, as they began to bubble late in O’Neill’s failed tenure with the Raptors. The team went 33-49 despite Carter playing 73 games, and the lost season begat the firing of Grunwald, whose relationship with his franchise player never wavered. With Grunwald and Wilkens gone, Carter began to feel isolated and expressed his concerns to Tanenbaum in April. SportsNet

Both Tanenbaum and Peddie, the president of MLSE at the time, assured their star he’d be kept in the loop on the hiring of the new GM, but all Carter heard were crickets, and it stung. Then, when Julius Erving reached out to Carter about joining the Raptors in some capacity, Carter made the introductions. But Peddie gave the NBA legend only a cursory interview at the airport, and published reports indicated Erving wasn’t really in the running. Peddie admitted he screwed that up: “I give myself low marks for keeping [Carter] informed, even by my own expectations,” he said at the time. SportsNet

Meanwhile, as the GM of the New Jersey Nets, Ed Stefanski was trying to help team president Rod Thorn solve a problem. Two years after making the NBA Finals, the Nets were crumbling, and Stefanski (who later worked for the Raptors) looked north and saw an opportunity. “You hear or read that he and the coach aren’t eye-to-eye, and you pick up the phone,” he says. “There’s nothing I did that was special. You call 30 teams, but we were fortunate.” The deal went down in 24 hours. “When I mentioned the two first-round picks, they got real excited,” says Stefanski. “I got off the phone, and the next day we completed the deal.” SportsNet

Carter didn’t always do himself favours. Being the face of the franchise suited him when he and the Raptors were ascendant and he could share the load with a veteran locker room, but the burden of it when things levelled off and the team got younger suggested he wasn’t a perfect match for the job. There were other complications: His younger brother was struggling with drug addiction and was in and out of trouble with the law; his first agent, Tank Black, ended up being convicted of fraud, and while there is no evidence he stole from Carter, each sued the other over their dealings. Carter got engaged and was divorced after barely a year of marriage. SportsNet

Life was happening—he was injured and the team was struggling. Carter retreated into himself: “I used to say, ‘[How do I] map out a way to get through that and still do the things I’m doing—and still be a professional athlete? Who can give me that advice? I can’t go sit on the beach somewhere—I have to go to practice.’ It just didn’t fit. I would try to take the advice I was getting and mould it so it would suit me, but it wasn’t much.” SportsNet

Oh, and it’s also worth noting, the subject of all that scorn? His arms are wide open. Mention the possibility of the franchise honouring his jersey or even retiring his number and his face lights up. The Raptors’ 20th anniversary is approaching and the team’s newly appointed global ambassador, Drake, is both an acquaintance of Carter’s and, at 27, was a huge fan in his teenage years. “That’s definitely up to the organization,” Carter says of the Raptors making a formal recognition of his time in Toronto. “But I would be honoured. It would be one of the best moments of my life next to my degree and my child.” SportsNet

January 22, 2014 Updates

Should the Raptors retire Carter’s No. 15? Should they at least hang a banner to honour him, as the Maple Leafs have done with several players? This conversation will happen every year until Carter decides he is done with playing. “You guys are retiring me before I’m ready to retire,” Carter said Wednesday morning. His Mavericks make their only appearance in Toronto on Wednesday night. “No, I’m not ready for that, yet.” National Post

“It was just a thing that happened,” Carter said of his breakup with the Raptors on Wednesday. “Some people feel like it was my fault. Some people feel like it was the organization. I hate that it happened for numerous … reasons. The franchise was on the rise there. At the same time they were trying to go in a different direction, I think. … As we’ve moved forward, a lot of things have come out and we kind of see what’s going on. It was just an ugly situation that happened that you can’t change now. As you move forward, you try to change it and try to make it right. … I don’t really like to quote the Bible and stuff because some people don’t believe in it — you’re taught to forgive and move on. It’s been a long time. Everybody’s grown up. Everybody’s moving forward. The organization has changed here. I’ve gotten older and moved on. It’s just like, hey, let’s remember what was important at the time: winning basketball and really striking the mood here and understanding that this a fun place to be, a fun place to play. A lot of people didn’t know it. Once the boom happened, meaning that wonderful night in February [the 2000 slam dunk contest], the recognition began. I think everywhere, it runs its course; time runs its course.” National Post

December 28, 2013 Updates
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