Vince Carter is currently under contract with the Grizzlies, and while his salary is only partially guaranteed for now, he’s expected to stick with the team and continue his career as he enters his 19th NBA season. Speaking to ESPN at the Alcorn State/Bethune Cookman game in Daytona Beach this weekend, Carter said his “love for the game” is what keeps him going at age 39, adding that he hopes to put off retirement for at least a couple more years.
“I just love to play,” Carter said. “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’ll step away from the game, but right now I still love it. … [Year] 19 is definitely going down and I’m shooting for 20. We’ll go from there after that.”
The fifth overall pick way back in 1998, Carter has seen his production dip significantly during his last couple years with the Grizzlies. After never averaging less than 10.1 PPG in his first 16 seasons, he has scored just 6.2 PPG in 126 regular-season contests in Memphis. However, he’s also only playing 16.6 minutes per game (a career low), and he has still been somewhat effective in that part-time role.
Only $2MM of Carter’s $4.264MM salary for 2016/17 is currently guaranteed, but if the Grizzlies wanted to move on from him, they likely would have done so by now. New coach David Fizdale recently admitted that he didn’t want to take on a rebuilding project when he accepted a head coaching job, so he’ll likely value Carter’s experience and veteran leadership this year.
Carter’s contract will expire in 2017, so if he wants to play for a 20th season – as he stated earlier this summer as well – he’ll have to sign a new deal next year.