May 4, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green (4) and Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (25) share a laugh in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Is Vince Carter returning to Toronto a real possibility?


May 4, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) gets fouled while shooting against Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter (left) in game seven of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know whether the straws in the wind about Vince Carter coming back to the city where his remarkable NBA career started are genuine, or slow-news-day fantasy. With some reservations, I’ve decided to weigh in, meaning I’m giving the idea some credence.

One is hard pressed to explain to newer Toronto Raptors fans how important Vince (Air Canada) Carter was to this team, city and country, while he was here. He remains the best player in franchise history, although his desire to leave, and his shabby play before he was traded, has stained his legacy. Like Chris Bosh, Vince still attracts boos whenever he’s announced into the game, or touches the ball.

Vince’s Dallas Mavericks have just suffered the same fate as our Toronto Raptors, namely being turfed from the playoffs after 7 tough games. The Mavs gave the heavily favoured San Antonio Spurs all they could handle. Mavs owner Mark Cuban is highly loyal to “his” players, and reportedly wants Vince back. Be that as it may, should Raps GM Masai Ujiri pick up the phone to Vince’s agent or not?

Vince can still play, folks. He may be 37, but he averaged double figures in scoring this season, and in the playoffs. He made 15 of 31 3-ball attempts against the Spurs, grabbed some rebounds, handed out assists – a healthy series for him. Ultimately, signing Vince has to be a basketball decision. Don’t bring him back to appease the fans, or because doing so would be heartwarming and a great return-of-the-prodigal-son story of forgiveness worthy of an ESPN special.

Here are a few questions Masai needs to ask himself:

  1. Does our club need an elder-statesman type of player, one who is happy to contribute off the bench and provide guidance in the locker room to our numerous kids?
  2. If so, is Vince who we should be pursuing?
  3. Can we afford him?

I’m not convinced the answer is a definite Yes for anything of these. Here’s my advice Masai, and it may be worth no more than I’m charging you for it – call the agent and say we’re interested. Put the phone down, and don’t think about the matter again for another 3 months. You’ve got more pressing priorities, like getting the name “Kyle Lowry” on a fresh contract. If Vince and his people are interested, they’ll reach out in good time.

What do you think, Rapture Nation? Should Vince end his career in Toronto? Please drop a Comment.

Tags: Toronto Raptors Vince Carter

  • Jamie P Moon

    Yes. Carter’s pick and roll game with a guy like Jonas would be a great addition for the team.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Jamie:
      It would be interesting to see Vince try to play with all our up-and-coming players, including Jonas. He was the lead dog for many seasons, now he needs to help his teammates. Could he do that?
      Thanks for commenting.

  • AM

    Interesting idea of VC coming back. I’ve heard this from a lot of places and Masai was asked in the final press conference about it too, but like you I don’t know the source.
    To me, ignore the name and ask what he can bring to the team. If he plays the way he did in Dallas I think it would work fine (not the primary player, but there if you need him). He didn’t seem to force his game and accepted that he wasn’t the go-to guy. The Mavs, however, didn’t have the type of younger/developing roster that the Raps have.
    I think what he would bring is half court D, perimeter shooting, and hopefully leadership.
    Another possibility is Deng. How do you think Masai would compare Deng vs Carter. To me, Deng is the better defender.
    And yes, first thing on the offseason list is Lowry.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi AM:
      It’s entirely possible this story has no source at all, but was made up by a writer trying to liven up his blog or column.
      As for Deng vs. Vince: I will take a look at Deng in a week or so, when I get more detailed about next year’s roster. A lot of these back-half-of-the-roser decisions will be financial, and I suspect Deng will be more expensive than VC.
      You say “hopefully leadership”; that’s just it, isn’t it? We don’t know if VC can provide leadership. If he can’t, he shouldn’t be here.
      Kyle’s decision drives all others.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • some random guy

    Yes Carter is coming back. For one, it does make basketball sense, Vince is an upgrade over Salmons, and will come much cheaper. He can be a great vet who can especially get Ross to be more consistent, and have a more explosive game. Secondly, for legacy of both the Raptors, and Vince it makes sense, both need each other, Raptors have no one else to claim as a franchise player (Bosh has all the records, but never felt the same when Vince was here). And lastly, its about money, MLSE would love bringing back Carter jerseys’ and selling them, eventually making Vince an analyst on TSN, and perhaps an office job in the long run, haha. I think its inevitable, he isn’t going to hurt the team, and will provide the vetern leadership the team needs from key role players.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi srg:
      I agree about Vince being an upgrade over Salmons, but you have to move John first. Do you have a trade you’d like to share? Please do.
      Vince becoming a broadcaster is an interesting thought – he’s certainly bright and articulate. And you are correct to note the $$ value to MLSE of his return.
      I echo your last thoughts about Vince’s departure, and wonder if he regrets it as well.
      This is going to be one interesting off-season.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Raptor fan15

    I believe the time is now for the Raptors, Re-signing Lowry, Vasquez and PP are of top priority! This core group is more exciting to watch then was the group of Carter, Davis, Oakley, T-Mac, Williams, JYD. These guys really work hard together and genuinely like each other, this is a brotherhood:) Not something you find in every locker room. In regards to bringing VC back, I do agree that he could help the younger guys like T-Ross, JV, Lowry and Derozan. Demar has said that he idolized Vince growing up, now how cool would it be to play with the guy you idolized for the exact same franchise and learn directly from him. I was a big basketball fan before the Raptor’s inception, you cannot deny the fact that Vince gave kids in Canada something to dream about other than hockey. Wiggins, Thompson, Bennett, Stauskas, Olynyk are all living proof that VC changed the culture of a counrty. The organization needs him to retire as a member of the Raptors. Just one fans opinion:)

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Rap fan15:
      I believe you’re a first-time commenter – welcome!
      I’m intrigued by the number of Raps fans who want to bring Vince back. Clearly time heals all wounds, and that’s goodness.
      I concur with you about Vince’s impact in this country. It can’t be overstated – for a short time, he was bigger than Gretzky, and in a different sport.
      Everything hinges on Lowry’s decision. I bet Masai Ujiri is having trouble sleeping, but until we know if our point guard is coming back, he can’t do a lot. Putting out feelers for free agents, and having potential draft picks come in for closed-door tryouts is all well and good, but feels like running in place.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Frank Rollo

    I believe a lot of raptors fans are too young to remember what exactly happened with Vince. I’ve been a fan since before the expansion draft and the BJ Armstrong snub. I forgive the whole Vince situation and It would be great to see a VC return to Toronto. Imagine he gets another shot at that game 7 game winner and hits it.

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Frank:
      It seems unanimous that we should forgive and forget. Welcome back Vince (if we can get him).
      You are quite right about fans either forgetting or not knowing in the first place about Vince: his impact, his glory years, and his sordid departure. Being a Raps fan in those years sometimes felt like being a member of a cult.
      Thanks for your multiple comments, and please come back.

  • Ednan Ahmed

    He would be a great option off the bench and as an injury replacement should Demar or Terrence get hurt and an upgrade over John Salmons IMO

    He knows Toronto and likes Toronto and if we can bring back Antonio Davis after he talked bad about Canada…ask VC to come back this year or next

    Let’s see if TMAC will come out of retirement as well imagine DD n TRoss go out n Vince n Tracy come in…wishful thinking lol

    • Newmarket_Brian

      Hi Ednan:
      I certainly agree VC would be an upgrade over Salmons, who I think has played his last game in Toronto.
      TMac is playing minor-league baseball, so he’s not fully retired from sports. Wouldn’t that be wild – VC & TMac back together in the NBA, for one last season in T-dot? LOL indeed.
      Thanks for commenting.