Vince Carter

And-Ones: Carter, Roberts, Hervey, Heat

Longtime NBA forward Vince Carter has already transitioned into a new broadcasting role after calling it a career earlier in 2020, but he received one more honor as a player from the NBA this week. The league announced on Thursday that NBA players voted Carter as the recipient of the NBA Sportsmanship Award for the 2019/20 season.

The aim of the award is to honor the player who “best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court,” the league noted in its press release. Six players – one per division – were nominated as finalists, with Carter beating out Harrison Barnes, Steven Adams, Langston Galloway, Tyus Jones, and Garrett Temple for the honor in his final season.

Carter earned 143 of 266 possible first-place votes and finished with 2,520 total voting points. Temple was the runner-up, with 22 first-place votes and 1,746 total points.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In a conversation with Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said she won’t leave the players’ union until “we’ve returned to some semblance of stability,” but the plan is still for that to happen in 2022, when her current contract ends. “This PA has to have a succession plan,” Roberts said. “Every company does, we need to have one and we need to get about the business of getting somebody in place. … We’re going to get somebody in place and it’s going to be someone fantastic.”
  • Former Thunder two-way player Kevin Hervey spoke to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman about leaving the NBA and G League to play for Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia. “I see it as such an opportunity to grow not only as a basketball player, but as an individual,” Hervey said. “To go experience a different culture, to go see a different side of the world.”
  • Teams around the NBA – especially in smaller markets – should be rooting for the Heat over the Lakers in the NBA Finals, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic, who contends that a Miami win would be a point in favor of patiently building a roster from the ground up, rather than hoping two superstars will choose to join you.

Vince Carter: Nets’ Third Star Can Be DeAndre Jordan

The Nets will enter the 2020/21 season with increased expectations as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are expected to return healthy, led by new head coach Steve Nash.

There has been plenty of speculation about the possibility of the Nets bolstering their already formidable (when healthy) lineup with another All-Star caliber player. After a strong showing in the Orlando campus, Caris LeVert made his case to take on the role of consistent third scoring option.

Former Nets All-Star Vince Carter sees things differently, suggesting that Brooklyn’s other high-profile free agent signing from the summer of 2019 can be that third impact player, Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News writes.

“You’ve gotta be careful. It’s a slippery slope when you’re putting guys together,” Carter said. “I feel like you could have a third star in somebody like DeAndre Jordan who can shine. He’s not somebody who’s gonna get a lot of touches, but what does he do? He puts a lot of pressure on the defense going to the rim.”

Brooklyn inked Jordan to a four-year, $40MM pact, but the former All-Star only started six games as promising youngster Jarrett Allen got the nod. Jordan has historically been a rebounding machine and an intimidating presence under the rim as a defender. However, at 32 years old, it’s fair to wonder if he can play up to the same level as his days with the Clippers.

Carter feels that Jordan’s mere presence opens up looks for the Nets’ best non-Durant options and that not having a third ball-dominant scorer would work better for Brooklyn.

“I just feel like you have to find the right pieces if you’re gonna go get a third scorer,” Carter said. “If you’re gonna go get three guys who really demand the ball, that gets tough after a while. One if not two guys of your big three tend to become unhappy sometimes. If they buy into that, then it’s a possibility. If they don’t, then a big three doesn’t work.

“I feel like a guy like DeAndre Jordan, somebody like that putting pressure on the rim,” Carter continued. “It’s not enough basketballs out there if you put three big names out there on the floor, so it takes a lot to think about.”

Vince Carter To Join ESPN As Analyst

Following his retirement as a player earlier this year, Vince Carter has already lined up his next job, according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, who reports that the veteran forward has agreed to join ESPN as an analyst.

A report last week indicated that Carter and the Hawks had engaged in some preliminary discussions about the possibility of him taking on a role with the franchise. However, the 22-year veteran had spoken frequently in the past about wanting to pursue a broadcasting role when his playing career was over.

Even when he was still playing, Carter made appearances on TNT, ESPN, and FOX Sports, called Summer League games, and hosted his own podcast for The Ringer. According to Marchand, the 43-year-old was viewed as a “top broadcasting free agent” once he finished his career.

It remains to be seen how exactly Carter will be utilized on ESPN, but in the past, the future Hall-of-Famer has expressed a desire to break down the X’s and O’s of the game.

“I wouldn’t go (the) Stephen A. (Smith) route,” Carter previously told The New York Post. “I wouldn’t go the quiet route. … I want to explain the game where you are watching it and say, ‘Ah, that makes sense.'”

Hawks Notes: No. 6 Pick, Draft, Carter, Capela

After landing the No. 6 overall pick in last week’s draft lottery, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is prepared to take the top player on the team’s board at that spot, but will also consider the possibility of trading up, as he did a year ago, or down, as he did in 2018.

“We’ve proven that we’re not afraid to move one direction or the other in the draft, so we’ll see what options are out there on that front,” Schlenk said, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. “If we stay at six, we’re going to take the player we feel like is going to be the best player long-term. If we create competition with some of our other young guys because they play the same position, there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s healthy. You can never have too many good players. That’s not a problem.”

As Kirschner notes, the Hawks have been willing in the last couple years to let their lottery picks to see the court “early and often,” allowing them to play through their mistakes. With expectations increasing for 2020/21, that no longer figures to be the case — newcomers and incumbent players alike will have to show they’re deserving of minutes.

“I think it’ll be more of a situation where you have to earn (playing time) as opposed to be given, which is good,” Schlenk said of the potential No. 6 pick (Twitter link via Sarah Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “And the same for the guys that are on our roster.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • According to Kirschner, Schlenk feels confident that he has spoken to just about every prospect who is likely to be selected between No. 6 and No. 50 (Atlanta’s second-round pick) in the 2020 draft. In a typical year, that wouldn’t be the case, so that has been a silver lining of having to scout via Zoom.
  • The Hawks and Vince Carter have had preliminary talks about him taking on a role with the team, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic. Nothing is imminent, Charania adds. Carter has spoken in the past about wanting to pursue a broadcasting role or to get involved in team ownership, but it’s not clear what sort of role he and the Hawks might have discussed.
  • While the Hawks’ roster remains “unfinished,” the addition of Clint Capela gives the franchise a more promising nucleus heading into the 2020/21 season, according to Mark Bradley of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who says it’s time for the club to start showing the fruits of its rebuilding labors.

Vince Carter Officially Announces Retirement

Veteran NBA forward Vince Carter has officially announced his retirement from basketball, confirming and discussing the decision on the latest episode of his Winging It podcast with Annie Finberg.

“I’m officially done playing basketball professionally,” Carter said.

Carter’s career came to a slightly earlier-than-expected end when the NBA was forced to suspend its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Hawks still had 15 games left at that point, but they won’t be part of the resumption of the season in Orlando this summer.

Atlanta’s last game of 2019/20 against the Knicks was still in progress when the NBA announced the suspension of the season. Recognizing that it might be the Hawks’ – and Carter’s – last game, head coach Lloyd Pierce had the 43-year-old check in with just 19 seconds left in overtime — he knocked down a three-pointer on the last shot of his career before time expired.

The fifth overall pick in the 1998 draft, Carter spent his first six-and-half NBA seasons in Toronto, emerging as a star and helping lead the Raptors to the first three playoff appearances in franchise history, including their first postseason series win in 2001. He earned the nickname “Air Canada” during those years and played a large role in growing basketball’s popularity in the country, contributing in part to the influx of Canadian players we’ve seen enter the NBA in recent years.

Carter played his next four-and-a-half seasons in New Jersey with the Nets, then began bouncing around the league with a little more frequency, spending time with the Magic, Suns, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Kings, and Hawks before retiring this year following his record-setting 22nd NBA season.

For his career, the former UNC standout averaged 16.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 1,541 regular season games (30.1 MPG). He also appeared in another 88 postseason contests, averaging 18.1 PPG.

A two-time All-NBA selection and an eight-time All-Star, the veteran swingman also won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award in 1999 and the Slam Dunk Contests in 2000. He earned a gold medal with Team USA at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, memorably dunking over French center Frederic Weis during those games.

Carter never won a championship, but didn’t prioritize chasing a ring during his final few NBA seasons, opting instead to join young teams like the Kings and Hawks, where he could play regular minutes and impart veteran wisdom upon those clubs’ up-and-coming prospects.

The Hawks issued a statement today congratulating Carter on his retirement and thanking him for the time he spent with the organization, calling it an “honor” to the franchise that “he completed his Hall-of-Fame career wearing Atlanta across his chest and representing our city.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hawks Notes: Carter, Huerter, Practice Facility

With his retirement right around the corner, Hawks forward Vince Carter hopes to stay connected to the NBA even once he’s no involved in the action on the court, as he told T.I. this week on the rapper’s expediTIously Podcast (video link).

Asked about what’s next for him once he officially hangs up his sneakers, Carter pointed to broadcasting and team ownership as two areas he’s interested in, though he admitted he doesn’t have the kind of net worth to become the majority owner of an NBA franchise like Michael Jordan.

“I want to do some broadcasting. I want to stay around the game,” Carter said, per Paul Kasabian of Bleacher Report. “I want to continue to be a mentor in some capacity. I have aspirations of being a part of an ownership group. I don’t make that kind of money to own a team outright like MJ … but at some point, I want to be a part of an ownership group where I can still be that mentor that (players) need, and I want to be the middle man to bridge the gap for the ownership/executive side.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • Second-year Hawks guard Kevin Huerter, who was sidelined for 10 games in the fall with a shoulder injury, tells Chris Kirschner of The Athletic that he played through some “nagging” issues the rest of the year and was proud not to miss any more time. “One thing that bothered me, I would go on Twitter, and you get tagged in every little thing. Everyone’s always like, ‘Kevin is always hurt,'” Huerter said. “From December until when our season stopped, I didn’t miss a single game. I was still getting tagged with always being hurt. I just played 40 or 50 games in a row. What do you mean I’m always hurt? That was a big thing for me. I played through a lot to just be on the court.”
  • Huerter, who told Kirschner that he’s “so sick of losing,” believes the Hawks’ young core players complement one another and is excited to see what they’re capable of as they continue to grow and commit to improving on defense.Trae (Young) is a dynamic scorer,” Huerter said. “I think I’m a facilitator, shot-maker and spacer. Cam (Reddish) can do it all on both ends. De’Andre Hunter is a bigger small forward who can move up position-wise on defense. John (Collins) can shoot and rebound and do everything. I think all of our pieces fit.”
  • The Hawks have yet to announce a specific target date for when they’ll attempt to reopen their practice facility, and it won’t happen on Friday. However, GM Travis Schlenk said the club is looking at the possibility of moving forward with reopening as early as next week, as Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes.

Hawks’ Vince Carter Talks Retirement

When the NBA suspended its season on March 11, Hawks wing Vince Carter recognized immediately that he may have made his last appearance as an NBA player that night, discussing the possibility after the game.

Six weeks later, we don’t have much further clarity on whether or not Carter will get a chance to suit up again for the Hawks this summer before he calls it a career. However, speaking to Chris Mannix of SI.com, Carter said he wouldn’t be upset if that March 11 contest ends up being his farewell from the NBA. He checked into that game vs. New York with 19 seconds left in overtime – after the news of Rudy Gobert‘s positive coronavirus test and the suspension of the season had broken – and knocked down the game’s final shot, a three-pointer.

“I ended on a pretty cool note,” Carter said.

The Hawks’ original schedule called for a home finale in Atlanta on April 15, the last day of the regular season. On April 10, the team had been scheduled to play in Toronto, where Carter started his NBA career in 1998 and blossomed into a star. While the 43-year-old admits it “would have been nice” to face the Raptors in Toronto one last time, he insists he’s “good with it” if that game doesn’t end up happening, Mannix writes.

Carter also explained why he has been happy to spend the final few seasons of a decorated 22-year NBA career playing for lottery teams in Sacramento and Atlanta.

“I had some (contenders) that were offering the opportunities,” Carter said, per Mannix. “They were saying, ‘We can’t guarantee (minutes).’ And I don’t expect anyone to guarantee me minutes. But to say, ‘We don’t think there’s any minutes, but you would help our team as far as just wisdom.’ That’s something I didn’t want to do. I just wanted to play. I could lend my wisdom and be an unbelievable mentor for a guy. But sometimes showing is better than telling.”

As for whether Carter has had any second thoughts about retiring at season’s end, Mannix writes that some doubt crept in for the eight-time All-Star during the first couple months of the season, but his concerns were assuaged by longtime NBA stars Dirk Nowitzki and the late Kobe Bryant, who told him he’d enjoy retirement.

“It was reassuring,” Carter told Mannix. “Comforting. Those are the guys that I wanted to talk to and hear from.”

Texas Notes: Carter, Dirk, H-O-R-S-E, Morey

While Vince Carter will be remembered for many accomplishments, his tenure in Dallas may be his most impressive stint, as I detailed on the Basketball Behind The Scenes podcast. Carter joined the Mavericks prior to the lockout-shortened 2011/12 season as the franchise was looking for another player capable of scoring on his own to pair with Dirk Nowitzki.

The former UNC Tar Heel altered his game during his three years in Dallas, shifting away from the ball-dominant ways of the 2000s scorer. Carter made the three-ball a larger part of his shot portfolio and embraced a willingness to be a contributor off the bench, something that was not as glorified then as it is today. Without the shift in his game, Carter may not have had the opportunity to play a record 22 seasons in the league.

Here are more basketball notes from the state of Texas:

  • Nowitzki said that he would have probably turned down the opportunity to compete in ESPN’s H-O-R-S-E competition if he had been asked, as Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News tweets. The Mavericks‘ legend said he only touched a basketball a few times since retiring and once was for a commercial.
  • Acknowledging that an early playoff exit might raise some eyebrows, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes in a mailbag that Rockets GM Daryl Morey‘s aggressive roster moves in the last year suggest he still has ownership’s trust. Morey has gone in some unconventional directions – such as going completely centerless – that an executive without as much standing in an organization may not have attempted.
  • The Rockets have a few contracts that could be difficult to move in the coming years, including Eric Gordon‘s deal, as John Hollinger tells Iko in a separate piece for The Athletic. The shooting guard inked a four-year, $73MM extension prior to the 2019/20 season.

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Augustin, Hornets, Carter

In an interview with Josh Robbins of The Athletic, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac expressed hope that he can return if the season doesn’t resume for a while. Isaac is working his way back from a severe knee sprain he suffered in early January.

“If I’m ready to play when this thing adjourns, I want to play,” he said. “I can’t really speak for the front office. I can’t speak for everybody as a whole. At the end of the day, it really comes down to them because they want to make sure that everything is good, that I’m preserved and everything. And that’s great. But if I’m in a place where my knee is great, my mental (outlook) is great, my spirit is great and I’m in a place where I can play a game and I have a couple of weeks of conditioning, a couple of weeks of basketball where I’m like, ‘I’m set and I’m ready to play,’ then I’ll go ahead and play.”

This is the second injury-shortened season in three years for Isaac, who was averaging 12.0 PPG in 32 games before getting hurt. He added that his ability to train is limited right now because the team facility is shut down.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Magic guard D.J. Augustin hasn’t lost hope that the season will resume, writes Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “The only hard part if we do come back this season is guys having a rhythm and skills being on point,” Augustin said. “But in terms of being in shape, I will be in shape when we come back. I’m hoping we come back. We’re missing the game, and the fans are missing the game. I feel like we had a lot to prove this season. We were in a good spot. … I’m hearing things may pick up in July and go into September.”
  • To help his young team understand postseason intensity, Hornets coach James Borrego is having players watch old playoff games during the break, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. He picked a seven-game series from 2012 between the Lakers and Nuggets. “Part of this is to show them what physical playoff basketball looks like,” Borrego said. “This is where we want to get to someday. Let’s study it.”
  • In the latest episode of his Winging It podcast with the Ringer, Hawks veteran Vince Carter talks about the possibility that he may have already played his final NBA game.

Vince Carter Discusses Upcoming Retirement

43-year-old Hawks wing Vince Carter chatted about his upcoming retirement after a record-setting 22 NBA seasons, per Chris Kirschner of The Athletic. Kirschner detailed the scene following Carter’s game on Wednesday night, in which Atlanta fell 136-131 to the Knicks in overtime.

The Hawks discovered that the season was going to be at least postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic during the fourth quarter, as big man John Collins attempted free throws. Carter checked in with just 20 seconds left in overtime and knocked down a three-pointer.

“This was fun. If it ended today, this day and the end of the season with these last 16 games will be talked about for a very long time,” Carter said. “That’s something I’ll always remember. At least I scored my last basket. It’s a weird but cool memory.”

While Carter figures to play down the stretch for the Hawks if and when the season resumes, there’s a chance that Wednesday’s game will be the last time he plays in front of fans. If the coronavirus situation worsens and the NBA is forced to cancel its season, it will be the last time Carter plays at all, which prompted his postgame comments.

“I work so hard to be in shape and play this game to compete against young guys half my age, so I wanted to go out and play the game,” Carter said. “When you say, ‘How old is he again? Oh, he looks like he can still play.’ That’s the feeling — that’s like a championship because each and every night you play against another young guy and they say, ‘Man, I don’t see how you’re doing it. You look like you could play a couple of years.’ That’s like winning a championship in my mind.

“Some people probably don’t see it that way. I think sitting on the end of the bench and not being able to be a part of it — that would get me more than anything. It’s been a great ride.”

For the season, the eight-time All-Star is averaging 5.0 PPG and 2.1 RPG. Carter’s career slash line is a more impressive 16.7 PPG/4.3 RPG/3.1 APG. The 6’6″ University of North Carolina alum has scored 25,728 career points, the 22nd-most in league history.

Last night, in light of the league’s indefinite suspension of game play for the 2019/20 season, Carter posted a tweet expressing gratitude to fans for his final season. “If this is really it, I thank everyone for your love and support for all these years,” Carter said in part.