Vince Carter

Eastern Notes: Russell, Carter, Magic, Oladipo

Nets All-Star D’Angelo Russell was cited last week after it was discovered he was hiding marijuana while trying to board at a New York airport, but this distraction won’t prevent him and Brooklyn from coming together on a new deal this summer, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. 

“It’s not an issue,” one league source told Lewis. “I’ve had a cell phone ticket that was more [costly].”

Russell, who’s coming off a career season with the Nets, is scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 1. Brooklyn will likely offer him a lucrative multi-year deal, especially if the team strikes out on recruiting some of the top free-agent players.

Russell won’t be suspended by the NBA for his first-time action, as stated in the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. He’s heading into free agency as one of the most talented backcourt players, coming off a season that saw him average a career-high 21.1 points, seven assists and 1.2 steals in 81 games.

“We got a little lucky: We got him in the right time frame and the point in his maturity,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said of Russell on a Bleacher Report podcast last week. “He never expected anything. When we had our first conversation with him, I was authentic with him and honest that you’re going to have to earn it. And I think that was a continuing conversation. I think our communication helped.

“There was nary a text, never a ‘Hey coach, can I talk to you? I’m not happy.’ There was zero of that. I think he knew he had to earn it, take stock of how he was playing, and was honest with himself. … He tells me that all the time: ‘I really learned how to be a pro here.’ ”

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference today:

  • Matt John of Basketball Insiders examines potential landing spots for veteran guard Vince Carter, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Carter has played for three different teams in the past three seasons, good for eight different teams in his 21-year career. John speculates that Carter could be a good fit on many different clubs, including a potential return in Toronto.
  • Sean Deveney of Sporting News outlines the offseason focus for the Magic, including free agency, the draft and more. Orlando has a major decision to make on whether they want to retain All-Star center Nikola Vucevic on a new deal, with the 28-year-old also set to reach free agency in July.
  • The Pacers need Victor Oladipo to pace himself in order for them to maximize their potential next season, J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star writes. Oladipo suffered a season-ending torn right quad tendon in January and is pushing to get himself ready for next year, though it’s imperative that he doesn’t rush the process and risk suffering a setback. Indiana finished with the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference at 48-34 this season despite Oladipo only appearing in 36 of those games.

Hawks Rumors: Draft, Free Agency, Carter, Prince

If the Mavericks don’t luck out and nab a top-four draft pick via the lottery, the Hawks will own five of the top 44 selections in next month’s NBA draft. Currently, those picks project to land at Nos. 5, 9, 35, 41, and 44.

Speaking today to reporters, including Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, general manager Travis Schlenk acknowledged that the team is unlikely to bring five rookies to camp in the fall. In other words, the Hawks probably won’t use all five of those draft picks.

As Vivlamore notes, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Hawks will trade one or more picks, though that’s certainly an option — the club could package two or three picks to move up, or could surrender one of its 2019 selections for a future pick or two. Another potential scenario for Atlanta would be going the draft-and-stash route, whereby the team drafts an international prospect who won’t be ready to immediately come stateside.

As we wait to see what the Hawks do with all those draft picks, here’s more from Schlenk:

  • The Hawks may have two top-10 picks in the draft, and they sound prepared to simply draft the best player available with those selections, regardless of positional overlap. “We are still in a development stage,” Schlenk said, per Vivlamore. “We feel good about the development we made this year but I think it’s important not to jump steps. We are still going to take the best players we can. You look at the playoffs now, position-less basketball is what is out there. We are going to keep getting the best talent we can, keep adding them to the mix and we’ll figure out how to blend them on the back end.”
  • Although Schlenk says there’s a “buzz” around the NBA about the Hawks’ young core, he doesn’t expect the team to be overly active in free agency this summer. As Vivlamore relays, Atlanta is more likely to wait to see what sort of players slip through the cracks after the initial wave of signings is over. “Once we show we are in contention, playoff contending, that’s when free agents are going to look at this group and say ‘I want to go there because we can take it to the next level,'” Schlenk said.
  • If and when the Hawks do pursue bigger-name free agents, the opportunity to play alongside Trae Young figures to be a selling point, according to Schlenk, who praised Young’s ability to set up his teammates and get them open shots.
  • Vince Carter said this week that he intends to return for his 22nd NBA season, and Schlenk “certainly wouldn’t have a problem” if Carter ends up re-signing with the Hawks, he said today, praising the veteran’s leadership in the locker room (link via Vivlamore).
  • Taurean Prince, considered one of the Hawks’ core players, will be eligible for a rookie scale extension starting in July. According to Vivlamore, Schlenk spoke to Prince’s agent on Thursday and said he expects to resume those discussions later in the offseason once Prince officially becomes extension-eligible.

Vince Carter: “I’m Coming Back” For 22nd Season

Speaking to co-hosts Kent Bazemore and Annie Finberg in the latest episode of his “Winging It” podcast, Vince Carter confirmed that he intends to continue his playing career into the 2019/20 season (hat tip to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

“Yeah, I’m coming back,” Carter said during a discussion about Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki, who each called it a career at the end of the 2018/19 season.

Asked by Finberg if he’ll return to the Hawks, Carter said, “I would like to. We’ll see what happens.”

Assuming Carter re-signs with Atlanta or catches on with a new team and appears in at least one game next season, he’ll become the first player in NBA history to play for 22 seasons, breaking the record that he and Nowitzki tied this season. Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, and Kevin Garnett also had 21-year NBA careers.

Despite turning 42 in January, Carter continued to be a productive rotation player in Atlanta this season, averaging 7.4 PPG and 2.6 RPG with a .419/.389/.712 shooting line in 76 games (17.5 MPG) for the Hawks. Head coach Lloyd Pierce also praised the veteran swingman for helping to create a “different atmosphere” in the Hawks’ locker room.

Carter will be an unrestricted free agent in July.

Hawks Notes: Free Agency, Carter, Pierce

A report from Sam Amick of The Athletic last month indicated that the Hawks intend to be aggressive in free agency this summer, pursuing meetings with “everyone from Kevin Durant on down.” However, head coach Lloyd Pierce and general manager Travis Schlenk tell Robby Kalland of Dime Magazine that the team has no plans to force the issue or spend its cap room irresponsibly.

“I think what’s really important is a lot of times mistakes are made when teams go, ‘We have this cap space, we need to use it,'” Schlenk said. “You can’t spend it on the wrong guy. Right? I say all the time, if you make a mistake in a draft, it doesn’t kill your franchise. Obviously you don’t want to make mistakes, but you’re talking about a two-year guaranteed contract with a small dollar amount. You make mistakes and free agents, and now you’re talking, to today’s world, a four-year contract at $25-30MM. Those can be [killers].”

Schlenk suggested that the Hawks will most likely target players who slip through the cracks and are available on shorter-term or team-friendly deals. A one- or two-year big-money contract – like what the Sixers did with J.J. Redick – could make sense for Atlanta, Kalland notes. Pierce believes the Hawks have taken the steps necessary to receive serious consideration from that sort of veteran free agent.

“We feel like we’re in a position now where we feel like people are going to look at the Atlanta Hawks and say, ‘They’re onto something,'” Pierce said. “Young guys that are really good. Young culture that they’ve established that everyone loves, and that’s what we’re talking about. The arena, ownership, GM, coach are all aligned. They came in at the same time, they’re on the same page, year after year after year. They turned it around, they added these three young guys to it, they’re headed in the right direction. But we can’t skip that step either. I don’t know what the next step is, if there’s a perfect free agent or the perfect locker room guy that can come in and help us, that’s great. But if there isn’t, we can’t force it.”

Here’s more on the Hawks from Kalland’s deep dive:

  • Hawks minority owner Grant Hill and young big man John Collins both spoke to Kalland about being encouraged by the progression of the team’s rebuilding process. “How we approach the game is different from other teams I feel like who are sort of in similar (rebuilding) situations,” Collins said. “And I feel like our situation is we’re light years ahead of where we’re supposed to be and where people think we are regardless of our record. I feel like when you watch us play and you see how we play offensively, defensively, the way we move a ball, the way we run the floor. It paints a pretty bright future. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
  • Although he’s not a long-term building block like Collins or Trae Young, Vince Carter has been an important part of this season’s Hawks team, according to Pierce, who tells Kalland that the 42-year-old swingman has created “a different atmosphere” in Atlanta’s locker room.
  • For his part, Carter says he has tried to impart the lessons he has learned over the course of his career on the Hawks’ young players. “For Trae, he’s one of the faces of this franchise along with John Collins, so there’s more responsibility,” Carter told Kalland. “… There’s a lot of things that come with wanting to be ‘The Man’ of a franchise. I’ve been there for a lot of years, so I’ve seen a lot. So I’m just trying to share my wisdom, both in conversation and on the court, because I feel like in the world today you have to do a little more than just have a conversation. I like to lead by example and by showing the young guys the way.”
  • Speaking about the decision to hire Pierce as Atlanta’s new head coach last year, Schlenk tells Kalland that the former Sixers assistant has “exceeded our expectations.”

Vince Carter Hopes To Play One More Season

Hawks veteran Vince Carter plans to return next season as a player with hopes of extending his career to 22 NBA seasons, he said Thursday night on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption.

Carter, who turned 42 in January, will formally evaluate the situation in the summer but made it clear he wants to return for the 2019/20 season.

“I think I could stretch it out one more [year],” Carter said. “At the end of the year, I usually assess from top to bottom to see how I’m feeling. And, obviously, opportunity — when the phone call rings and teams show interest, that’s a good thing.”

Carter, widely considered to be one of the game’s all-time great dunkers, has averaged 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 16.6 minutes per game, shooting 44% from the floor and a career-high 41% from 3-point range on the season. He’s appeared in 61 of Atlanta’s 66 games.

Carter was selected with the No. 5 pick in the 1998 draft and has made stops with Toronto, New Jersey, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, Memphis, Sacramento and Atlanta across his two-decade journey. For comparison’s sake, future Hall-of-Famer Dwyane Wade — drafted five years after Carter with a long, storied career of his own — is set to retire at season’s end. The same could be said for veteran Channing Frye, who was drafted seven years after Carter.

For the Hawks, Carter will reach free agency on July 1. He signed a deal to join the team last summer, using his veteran leadership and experience to help their young group throughout the season.

“Me, personally, I think I could give it another year, so why not?” Carter said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Vince Carter Undecided On Future Beyond 2018/19

Vince Carter will turn 42 years old later this month and has tied an NBA record by playing in the league for 21 seasons. However, he’s still not sure that the 2018/19 campaign will be his last, as he told reporters – including Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link) – on Tuesday.

“We’ll see what happens at the end of the year. I feel good,” Carter said. “I’ll weigh my options when it’s done. I’d like to come back and play.”

Carter said back in August that he was “90-something per cent sure” that this season with the Hawks would be his last, but he goes back and forth frequently and said on Tuesday that he still can’t picture himself saying, “This is it” (Twitter link via Lewenberg). He has continued to be a productive role player in Atlanta so far in 2018/19, averaging 7.3 PPG on .409/.374/.769 shooting in 37 games (17.4 MPG).

There’s also another interesting factor at play here. Currently, Carter is tied with four other longtime NBA players – Robert Parish, Kevin Willis, Kevin Garnett, and Dirk Nowitzki – for career longevity at 21 seasons. If Nowitzki doesn’t return for another season in 2019/20 and Carter does, the former Slam Dunk champion would become the only player in league history to play for 22 seasons.

Setting that record certainly won’t be the only factor Carter considers as he weighs his future, but it sounds like one he’s very aware of, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca observes (via Twitter). Doug Smith of The Toronto Star has the full quote from Carter on that record.

“The only thing that would be new to accomplish at this point — obviously winning a championship, that’s obvious — (is) just the longest career,” he said. “I know now that I’m tied with a few guys and it’s something I wasn’t aware of prior to some years back. I didn’t think of that coming in, playing this long anyway.”

Whether Carter decides to retire later this year or spends another season or two in the NBA, it sounds like he’s not necessarily eager to announce his decision well in advance and go through a year-long retirement tour, as Smith relays.

“It’s always cool to be acknowledged and I think it’s fun for me to do it for other guys, and then when I put myself in the same situation I say, ‘Hmm, we’ll see,'” Carter said. “I think, when it happens, more so internally and personally, it’s that you can say goodbye that way. It’s cool and all, but sometimes it’s a little much.”

Vince Carter Happy As Part Of Rebuilding Hawks

Unlike many veterans who prioritize winning a championship above all else as they approach retirement, Vince Carter has signed with rebuilding teams in each of the last two summers, joining the Hawks in 2018 after playing for Sacramento in 2017/18. Atlanta is off to a 5-18 start this season, but Carter has no regrets about joining the lottery-bound club, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press details.

“I’m with a great bunch of guys,” Carter said. “I enjoy helping young guys who want to learn, who are willing to be coached and let you coach them and ask questions. It’s a small thing, but it’s a major thing — because if you’re asking questions, that means you’re trying to learn and grow. And these guys are all great.”

Carter, who will turn 42 in January, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of trying to continue his career beyond 2018/19. If this ends up being his final season in the NBA though, he sounds content to finish out the year with the Hawks, rather than being traded to a team that could give him a chance to appear in the NBA Finals for the first time.

Following his signing with the Hawks, Carter explained that he still wanted to earn regular minutes and prove he could be a productive player, rather than sitting on the bench for a contender. So far this season, he has been solid in Atlanta, averaging 6.8 PPG in a part-time role, shooting 36.0% on three-pointers, while also providing guidance for the team’s youngsters.

“It’s easy to go sit on the bench and watch your team win and not really contribute,” Carter told Reynolds. “Yeah, with my voice, I could contribute. But I want to do both (contribute on and off the court).”

Carter will become trade-eligible on December 15, but there have been no indications yet that the Hawks intend to explore moving him.

Southeast Notes: Riley, Whiteside, M. Williams, Carter

Heat president Pat Riley told his players just before the season started that he was pulling out of trade talks with the Timberwolves involving Jimmy Butler, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Riley held a team meeting October 14 in which he acknowledged that negotiations had been going on and apologized to players whose names became public in trade rumors. That was just days after the teams nearly completed a deal that would have sent a package that included Josh Richardson and a protected first-round pick to Minnesota. However, Riley didn’t guarantee that negotiations with the Wolves wouldn’t resume.

Today’s trade that sent Butler to the Sixers eliminates that as a possibility. With about $130MM in salary, Miami is hovering above the $123.7MM luxury tax threshold and would face a $9.7MM tax payment if the team can’t trim $6.3MM by the end of the season. Riley said Thursday that the team isn’t currently active on the trade market, but tax concerns may change that before the February deadline.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who has reportedly been on the trade block for several months, is “changing his mindset to be great,” teammate Bam Adebayo tells Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Whiteside posted his best game in a long time Wednesday with 29 points, 20 rebounds and nine blocked shots. “I think a lot of people had written me off,” Whiteside said. “That’s fine. I don’t need anybody’s justification. But I feel like if I do those things for myself, it’ll put me in the conversation of being an All-Star, being defensive player of the year.”
  • Marvin Williams says the players were thrilled this summer when they learned that Tony Parker was leaving the Spurs to join the Hornets as a free agent, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype. Parker brought championship experience to Charlotte, having won four titles in San Antonio. “He’s so willing to teach everyone and he’s very patient with all of us,” Williams said. “He’s obviously been in certain situations that a lot of us haven’t been able to experience yet, so that knowledge and that wisdom really helps us.”
  • Williams believes the way the game has changed in recent years has helped the HawksVince Carter stay productive at age 41, relays Brendan Marks of The Charlotte Observer. Carter still displays his vertical leap on occasion, but he has prolonged his career with a deadly jump shot. “As the league has evolved, he’s almost benefited from it because he still can guard multiple positions, and he can still really shoot the lights out,” Williams said.

Southeast Notes: Carter, Heat, Winslow, Len

Vince Carter wants to go into broadcasting once his playing days are finished and has no desire to become an NBA coach, he told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. One of the reasons he joined the Hawks is that he’ll be in the same city as the headquarters of TNT.

“I enjoy coaching the game, but I don’t want to be a coach,” Carter said. “I think this is another way you can coach the game, but to a different crowd. Everybody watches the game and wonder why do they do this? I can give the inside look as an NBA player on what they think about, what they’re talking about, what teams are trying to accomplish while you’re watching the game.”

The fact that NBA coaches can get fired even if they’re successful is another reason why Carter would rather be a broadcaster.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Heat are unlikely to trade for a star player during the upcoming season, though they could dump some salary to avoid the luxury tax, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel opines. The current roster doesn’t look strong enough to justify a bold move for a big-time player. Instead, it’s more likely the plan to return to prominence will center around 2020 free agency, Winderman adds.
  • The Heat ought to experiment with Justise Winslow, and Josh Richardson in various situations and positions to find out how they fit into the long-term picture, Winderman argues in another mailbag post. They could look at Winslow anywhere from a backup point to an undersized power forward. They could also take a similar approach with Richardson, even though he’s already signed an extension, Winderman adds.
  • Hawks center Alex Len will play for Ukraine’s national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in September, according to the Ukrainian Federation. The news was tweeted by Olesandr Proshuta. Len hasn’t played for his national team since he left for the United States to play college ball at Maryland in 2011, Proshuta notes.

Southeast Notes: Robinson, Hornets, Wade, Carter

Despite being invited to participate with USA Basketball in its World Cup qualifying round games, Heat swingman Duncan Robinson has opted to remain in Miami for informal team workouts in the hopes of landing a standard NBA contract for the upcoming season, reports Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.

“I’m really proud in the fact that Duncan Robinson has been invited to play in the international series,” said Heat team president Pat Riley“but he decided to stay here because he wanted to make our team, he wants to force us into giving him a real (standard NBA) contract.”

Robinson, 24, signed a two-way contract with the Heat on July 10th that would limit him to 45 days in the NBA this coming season and maximum earnings of about $385K, per Winderman. A standard NBA contract at the rookie minimum would pay Robinson just north of $838K.

Robinson says that his goal in passing over the opportunity to play for Team USA is to maximize his opportunities in the Heat developmental program. “I mean the margin between having this job or being overseas or being in the G League, whatever it might be, is so thin,” Robinson said. “And I understand that. I understand I caught some breaks and was able to put myself in a situation to be successful. I’m certainly thankful for that.”

There’s more today out of the Southeast Division:

  • The Hornets have struggled to attract big name free agents since the franchise returned to North Carolina in 2004, but Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer doesn’t think it has as much to do with the city of Charlotte itself as it has to do with the team’s lack of cap space. Per Bonnell, money is the No. 1 factor in free agency and, unfortunately, the Hornets don’t have significant space under the salary cap now or in the immediate future.
  • In another piece for the Sun-Sentinel, Winderman opines that Riley is fully committed to signing Wade to a free agent contract this summer, luxury tax concerns be darned. Riley’s greater concern would be Wade’s level of commitment. Per Winderman, Riley would likely want a commitment from Wade that this season isn’t simply a retirement tour, but that Wade is seriously interested in making the Heat a better team.
  • While Vince Carter could have spurned the Hawks and signed with a serious title contender this offseason, he tells Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that such a quest is “not his style.” Rather, Carter will be relied upon to be a veteran influence over the youthful roster Atlanta has assembled. “Let them see me and let them see how annoying I can be, but in a good way,” Carter said during an introductory press conference. “I’m going to stay in their ear. At least you know at any time throughout the year, whether it’s practice games, any situation, they will have me to fall back on. Or I’ll come up to them and help them out any way I can.”