Eastern Notes: Carter, George, Ibaka

Vince Carter, who will be a free agent this summer, can still be a contributor on a contending team despite his age, Benny Nadeau of Basketball Insiders contends.

Carter will turn 41 in January, though he recently said he would like to play two more seasons. He played in 73 games for Memphis this past season, scoring 8.0 points per game while making 37.8% of his 3-point shots.

Nadeau names the Celtics as a potential fit based on Carter’s ability to make shots from behind the arc. The scribe also wonders if the veteran would be open to a reunion with the Raptors, something that may help to heal wounds with Toronto fans who never forgave him for pushing his way out of town back in 2004.

As we await Carter’s decision in free agency, check out some notes from the Eastern Conference:

  • Larry Bird decided to step down as the Indiana’s team president and A. Sherrod Blakely of Comcast Sportsnet wonders how that impacts the Celtics chances of landing Paul George. Kevin Pritchard, who took over Bird’s role, previously worked in Portland and has a history of making deals with GM Danny Ainge. Blakely believes Boston is in a great position to make a competitive offer for the small forward should the Pacers look to trade him.
  • The Cavaliers handily beat the Raptors last postseason, but coach Tyronn Lue believes Toronto’s midseason trade acquisitions will make the team tougher to beat this time around, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes.  ” You get a guy who is a great shot blocker, a great defender,” Lue said of  Serge Ibaka. “A great one-on-one defender and he can also make a shot. He can make a 3-point shot now. His mid-range game is very nice also, so he adds a different dimension to their team and I know they was talking about being better defensively, so adding Ibaka and adding P.J. Tucker really helps that for them.
  • Kevin Love agrees with Lue’s assessment of Ibaka and the Raptors, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com relays. “Just a different dynamic,” Love said of Ibaka. “Definitely shooters with both him and [Patrick] Patterson out there. He brings a ton of energy. Played really well in Round 1, so he just gives them a whole different look and a guy who has a ton of playoff experience coming from Oklahoma City. Obviously getting traded from Orlando, but all his playoff experience being there and playing in a lot of big games. He really helps them.”
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