Vince Carter is turning back the clock with his recent performances, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com writes. Carter, 39, the oldest player in the league, has averaged 17 points over the Grizzlies’ last four games and is shooting 47.4% from the field this season. The former perennial All-Star is in the final year of a three-year contract. His $4.264MM salary this season becomes fully guaranteed if Memphis retains him through New Year’s Day. Carter undergoes extensive treatment on his right ankle to stay on the court, MacMahon details, but he might have some options next summer if he continues to perform at this level. “The way he’s still playing, retire for what?” Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph told MacMahon. “Give him a two- or three-year deal! That’s what I’d do.”
In other news around the Southwest Division:
- Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes is still adjusting to being a go-to guy, The Vertical’s Michael Lee reports. Barnes is averaging 22.3 points and shooting 49.1% in his first nine games with Dallas after signing a four-year max contract this summer. He never averaged more than 11.7 points in his four seasons with the Warriors. “Coming into this situation, in my four years of being in the NBA, I’ve never been a focal point. So, it’s going to take some time,” Barnes told Lee. “I have to embrace that process.”
- No progress has been made between the Rockets and power forward Donatas Motiejunas, the only unsigned restricted free agent in the league, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Houston reportedly offered Motiejunas is a multiyear contract that started at a fully guaranteed $7MM in year one. Motiejunas’ $4.4MM qualifying offer expired last month. He was traded to the Pistons in February, but Detroit rescinded the deal because of long-range concerns over his surgically-repaired back.
- Dirk Nowitzki must be fully recovered from his right Achilles tendon injury before he returns to action, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. Nowitzki has missed four games with soreness in his Achilles. “He wants to get back, that’s for sure,” Carlisle told Sefko. “But he understands and we understand that he’s got to be right before he comes back. We don’t want him coming back for a game or two, then sitting another week. We’ve got to be vigilant about making sure he’s fully recovered before coming back, even if it takes awhile.”