He may not be half-man, half-amazing anymore, but Vince Carter hopes that he still has something left in the tank to offer the Memphis Grizzlies, who agreed to terms with Carter on a contract Friday night. The team announced the deal Saturday morning:
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news and provided details on Carter's new deal with Memphis:
Vince Carter has agreed to a three-year, $12M deal with Memphis, league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 12, 2014
Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News provided Mark Cuban's thoughts:
Mark Cuban to reporters in Vegas at the Summer League re: Vince Carter: "Obviously what we could offer changed. We wanted to sign him."— Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) July 13, 2014
In 2013-14, Carter averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game behind 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 39.4 percent shooting from behind the three-point line for the Dallas Mavericks. He's obviously not as dynamic as he once was, but those numbers proved that Carter can still be an asset offensively.
No longer the explosive athlete we saw in Toronto in the early 2000s, Carter has reshaped his game into one that relies on a consistent perimeter jumper. His role on the Grizzlies will likely be defined by how effective he is from behind the three-point line and whether he can hit open shots when the defense collapses on Memphis big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
He still had a flair for the dramatic this past year when he defeated the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs with a buzzer-beating three-pointer in Game 3 of their postseason series.
While Carter was certainly a valuable contributor for Dallas last year, he left his biggest mark on the NBA during his time in Toronto as arguably the league's most explosive dunker of all time. He didn't quite live up to it, but there was a time when Carter was the natural heir to Michael Jordan's throne as the North Carolina playmaker with the shaved head who thrilled fans.
He helped lead the Raptors to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2000-01 and had a game-winning shot attempt against Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 that just rimmed out. It was one in a series of close postseason misses Carter has had in his career, as he has yet to win that elusive ring.
Even without a championship, the will to win is certainly still in place for Carter as he enters the next stage of his career with the Grizzlies. Via Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com, Carter had this to say last season while still in Dallas:
My love for the game hasn't changed since I was a younger guy. I want to win even more now than then, just because I've seen it all and been around it. I enjoy competing and playing with guys who want to win and want to compete.
It is only natural to wonder if this is the last stop in a potential Hall of Fame career. Carter is 37 years old and has a lot of wear and tear on his legs from a lengthy professional tenure that began in 1998. The former Rookie of the Year and eight-time All-Star has played more minutes than all but 33 players in basketball history.
Those heavy minutes have helped him score the 25th-most points in NBA history, and he could climb even higher with a solid season in Memphis.