Vince Carter

Vince Carter Plans To Return For 2018/19

Like fellow 1998 draftee Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter intends to return to the NBA for a 21st season in 2018/19, he confirmed today. Writing for The Undefeated along with Marc J. Spears, Carter announced that he plans on coming back for “one more season,” adding that he’s “90% sure” he’ll call it a career a year from now.

[RELATED: Dirk Nowitzki will return for 2018/19 season]

“I just think that after next season it is time,” Carter wrote. “It’s been great … maybe two more years. But, you know, in my mind, I think it’s time for one more. And I think this summer will probably be the toughest summer. Probably just doing what I need to do to be prepared. I know I have to do it to be in the league. When I have to have those conversations with myself, I know it’s getting time.”

Carter, the oldest active player in the NBA at 41 years of age, has seen his role dialed back in recent years for the Grizzlies and now the Kings. In 57 games (five starts) for Sacramento this season, Carter posted 5.3 PPG and 2.5 RPG with a shooting line of .396/.340/.757. All of those numbers are, of course, below his career averages.

Still, the eight-time All-Star has been a valued veteran presence in the locker room, and earned an $8MM contract from the Kings when he entered free agency last summer. Carter is unlikely to get that sort of payday again this time around, admitting in his Undefeated piece that he may “have to be patient” and wait out the first wave of free agent signings while he seeks out an opportunity.

One potential option for Carter next season could be a return to Toronto, where he started his NBA career. The Raptors reportedly mulled the idea of targeting their former star as a buyout candidate this year, but ultimately decided to put the possibility of a reunion on hold. For his part, Carter said back in December that a return to the Raptors “will happen,” though it could just be for a ceremonial one-day contract when he retires.

If Carter does retire as a player at the end of the 2018/19 season, expect him to transition into a role as an analyst or broadcaster — the veteran forward has talked in the past about his interest in that side of the game, and reiterated that interest again in today’s Undefeated piece.

“Once my last days as an NBA player are done, I can transition into phase two, which I definitely would love to be in broadcasting, be a broadcaster or even some sideline reporting,” Carter wrote. “I’ve been doing a little bit of that. Postgame reporting. Just a little bit of everything. I just want to be in the [media] business.”

Pacific Notes: Casspi, Green, Suns’ Coach, Carter

Veteran forward Omri Casspi is the latest addition to the Warriors‘ growing disabled list, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Casspi underwent an MRI today after spraining his right ankle Friday. Doctors are still evaluating the results, but initial reports indicate that he will be out of action for about a week.

Medina notes that Casspi’s production and playing time have been inconsistent since signing with Golden State over the summer. He has appeared in 53 games, but is averaging just 14 minutes and 5.7 points per night.

The timing of the injury is especially unfortunate for Casspi, whose spot on the Warriors’ roster could be in jeopardy. Golden State may decide to give two-way player Quinn Cook an NBA contract before the playoffs, but first must open a roster spot. With an expiring, minimum-salary deal, the Warriors could get rid of Casspi at minimal cost.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • With three All-Star teammates sidelined by injuries, Draymond Green is taking responsibility for holding the Warriors together, writes Logan Murdock of The San Jose Mercury NewsStephen Curry and Klay Thompson are out until at least next week and Kevin Durant will be sitting until April, leaving Green as a leader in lineups where he is surrounded by role players. “I just try to still play my game and not think I’m going to be Stephen, Kevin or Klay,” he said. “I am who I am and bring to this team what I bring so just continue to play my game. It may mean a few more shots here or there. It’s just not my goal to say, ‘I need to jack up my scoring.’ If it happens, it happens – if not, I’m going to try and lead the guys and play the best that we can.”
  • Suns GM Ryan McDonough says the team will conduct a “wide-ranging” search for its next coach once the season ends, relays Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Interim coach Jay Triano will be included in that process, along with former NBA head coaches, current assistants and maybe some college coaches. McDonough indicated the team plans to talk to several candidates before the list is trimmed to ‘two or three” who will receive second interviews.
  • Vince Carter has become a mentor with the Kings in his 20th NBA season and is offering his younger teammates advice on how to lengthen their careers, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Carter, who has a one-year deal with the Kings, may be on the move again this summer as he searches for more playing time. “I’m not going to sit here and deny that I want to play more,” he said. “Things changed. We aren’t winning and the younger guys need to get better. I get that, but at the same time, I try to make the best of it. That way if it doesn’t work out here, I can still play on another team, maybe a contending team, in a lesser role.”

Raptors Notes: Roster, Buyout Targets, Carter

With the NBA schedule set to resume following the All-Star break, the Raptors currently hold the No. 1 spot in the East and this year’s squad looks capable of setting a new franchise record for wins in a regular season. As head coach Dwane Casey tells Shaun Powell of NBA.com, the Raptors have built their roster without luring any big names to Toronto.

“It’s not like we’ve gone outside and got a superstar free agent,” Casey said. “We’ve done it organically by growing our young players and the rewarding part was people questioning what we were trying to do. We’re not there yet. We haven’t arrived. But we’ve done it the traditional way. A lot of guys around the league are partnering up, adding superstars, superstars and superstars. We’ve developed players, starting with DeMar [DeRozan].”

During the past couple postseasons, the Raptors’ lack of starpower has been an issue, with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and the Cavaliers ending the club’s season in back-to-back years. While we wait to see if the Raps can get over the hump this spring, let’s round up a few more notes out of Toronto…

  • Within a piece on the Raptors storylines to watch down the stretch, Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca discusses possible buyout targets for the club, noting that Toronto didn’t have interest in Joe Johnson or Brandan Wright, who landed with the Rockets.
  • The Raps are keeping an eye out for veteran wing insurance, since C.J. Miles and OG Anunoby have both battled minor injuries, according to Lewenberg, who noted earlier this week that Arron Afflalo may be a target for Toronto. Lewenberg adds that stretch fours like Channing Frye and Ersan Ilyasova may also be nice fits, but they probably won’t receive buyouts, and would be long shots to choose Toronto even if they do reach free agency.
  • After an early-February report indicated that the Raptors had interest in Vince Carter, Lewenberg recently suggested that idea is on hold for now. He goes into more detail in his latest article, writing that the club has decided “this is not the right time” for a Carter reunion. The organization doesn’t want the media coverage of such a signing to overshadow the accomplishments of this year’s squad, Lewenberg explains. The Raps haven’t ruled out the idea of an eventual reunion, but it’s “on the back burner for now,” tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca.
  • Earlier this week, we asked whether the Raptors will hold onto the No. 1 seed in the East.

Atlantic Notes: Smart, Carter, Nets

The Celtics would benefit more from a Marcus Smart return than a Gordon Hayward one, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. The scribe suggests that the reserve guard would help the C’s snap out of their recent skid.

For starters, Blakely cites the drop in the Celtics’ defensive rating pre- and post-Smart injury. Boston was second in the NBA with a 99.7 defensive rating before he injured his hand and have been ninth since. Blakely also points to Smart’s effect on team chemistry and the pressure he takes off fellow defenders as reasons why the C’s would be buoyed by his return.

In late December it was announced that Smart would miss two weeks due to a hand laceration that may or may not have been sustained punching a picture frame. The 23-year-old is expected to be back in the lineup after the All-Star Break.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets will need to shore up their defense and rebounding if they want to turn a recent losing skid around after the All-Star Break, Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “We’re trying the best we can to find the right lineups that work out there,” head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “We’ve tried a bunch of stuff. We’ve gone small a ton, we’ve tried bigger lineups, we’ve tried two-guard lineups. We’re still searching.
  • The Raptors have put a possible Vince Carter reunion on hold for at least the rest of this season, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets. Reports last week indicated that Toronto had interest in potentially bringing Carter back, but the Kings prefer not to buy out the veteran forward.
  • The Knicks have limped into the All-Star break on an eight-game losing streak. Rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina, one of the 10 players chosen to represent the World Roster at the NBA Rising Starts Challenge tonight, hopes to take the weekend as an opportunity to take his mind off things and soak in advice, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes.

2017/18 Buyout Market Summary

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, much attention is being paid to what is expected to be several weeks of busy buyout market activity. The last day that a player can be waived from their current team and still be eligible to play in the postseason with a new team is March 1.

Below are a series of lists breaking down the veterans who have already been bought out – or simply waived – by their respective teams since the trade deadline, along with those who are expected to be, and several more who really ought to be considered possible buyout candidates even if no reports have come out explicitly stating as much.

As the weeks unfold, we may see new names surface as buyout candidates, in such cases (and whenever a player is formally bought out) we’ll update the list.

Potential buyout candidates:

Expected to be bought out or released:

  • None

Veterans who have been bought out or released:

Kings Willing To Buy Out Johnson, Prefer To Keep Carter

Joe Johnson, acquired from the Jazz by the Kings in one of Thursday’s three-team trades, will “definitely” get a buyout if he wants one from Sacramento, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. However, according to Stein, the Kings would love to hang onto another veteran – Vince Carter – for the rest of the season.

There’s a sense that the Kings would be open to working with Carter on a buyout if an intriguing landing spot surfaces for him in the weeks leading up to March 1, Stein reports (via Twitter). Still, Sacramento is hoping that he elects to stick around and act as a veteran mentor to the team’s young core.

Carter is on a one-year, $8MM deal with the Kings, and has played a limited role for the club this season. In 34 games, the 41-year-old has averaged 5.0 PPG and 2.1 RPG with a shooting line of .385/.367/.667 in 16.6 minutes per contest. His locker room presence has been important though, as the Kings’ in-season goals have transitioned — the club initially hoped to compete for a playoff spot, but now is focused on developing young players.

If the Kings were to grant Carter a buyout, one scenario could involve a return to his old team in Toronto. Multiple sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca that the Raptors front office has internally discussed the possibility of signing Carter if he reaches free agency, though he’s just one of several possible targets Toronto is keeping an eye on, Grange notes.

As for Johnson, we heard shortly after Thursday’s trade that he was expected to seek a buyout from the Kings, and that Sacramento was expected to be amenable to one. The Warriors and Celtics were mentioned as a pair of early frontrunners for the veteran forward, with the Thunder cited as a potential suitor too, per Kelly Iko of ESPN 97.5 Houston (Twitter link). The Rockets would also have interest in Johnson, according to David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link).

There’s no deadline for teams to finalize buyouts with players, but they have to happen by March 1 in order for those players to retain their postseason eligibility. Players waived after March 1 can’t participate in the playoffs if they sign with a new team.

Trade Deadline Notes: Evans, Hill, Hood, Mavericks

One of the most important deadlines on the NBA calendar is less than 24 hours away, and teams are preparing their best offers as we head for 2:00pm Central. We’ll find out soon if any more franchise-altering moves are in store for this season, but in the meantime here are some Wednesday night trade rumors:

  • The Celtics remain in the running for Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, but there’s a sense that Memphis is getting better offers elsewhere, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. A GM from another team tells Bulpett that Boston is waiting to swoop in if talks with those other clubs fall apart. Evans’ value figures to have increased after Lou Williams agreed to an extension with the Clippers today, taking one high-scoring guard off the market.
  • Multiple teams have shown interest in George Hill, but the Kings don’t want to take on bad contracts, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The Cavaliers have been the team most prominently linked to the veteran guard, but Jones says the Rockets and others have contacted Sacramento about Hill. Houston could match salaries with Ryan Anderson, but he is owed more than $41MM over the next two seasons and the Kings want to avoid cutting into their future cap space. They are seeking young players and draft picks in return for Hill.
  • Teams have also called the Kings about veterans Garrett Temple, Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos, Jones adds in the same story. Both Temple ($8MM) and Koufos ($8.74MM) have player options for next season, while the 41-year-old Carter is on an expiring deal.
  • Jazz swingman Rodney Hood told Shams Charania of The Vertical that he expects to be traded. “I’ve had great times in Utah, but regardless of where I’m playing, whether it’s there or somewhere else, I’m going to stay professional,” Hood said. “I’m going to stick with it. My gut feeling is that I won’t be here by the deadline. I’ve enjoyed my time here, but I’ve felt isolated the past month and I would not be surprised if I was moved.” 
  • The Mavericks are being offered players by teams trying to unload salary, but they aren’t getting enough incentives to make the deals worthwhile, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Sefko lists Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle of the Lakers and J.R. Smith of the Cavaliers as players who would be available if Dallas doesn’t mind committing the cap space.
  • The Knicks may be in the market for more deals after sending Willy Hernangomez to the Hornets, writes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Kyle O’Quinn and Courtney Lee are the most likely players to be moved.

Kings Begin Sitting Veteran Players

With top odds at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft more likely than a playoff berth, the 13-30 Kings will focus more on developing their young players during the second half of the season. As Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes, that means head coach Dave Joerger has begun to remove certain veteran players from the team’s rotation for a game at a time.

According to Jones, the Kings will sit at least two – and perhaps three – of their veterans in each game going forward. That group of vets includes George Hill, Kosta Koufos, Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, and Zach Randolph. Carter and Randolph didn’t get off the bench during Monday night’s loss to Oklahoma City.

“It’s not an easy conversation,” Joerger said. “They’re very professional, they’re competitive. All of them are rotation players on a playoff team. So to ask those guys to step aside at different times is not enjoyable for me. They handled it well, they’ve been pros.”

When the Kings put together their roster for 2017/18, the hope was that the veteran group, led by free agent additions Hill, Carter, and Randolph, would complement young players like De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Willie Cauley-Stein, forming a productive lineup. However, most of Sacramento’s young players aren’t yet ready to be impact players, and the club’s vets – particularly Hill – have been inconsistent.

With Joerger and the Kings focused on determining which young players should be part of the team’s long-term plans, it will be interesting to see if any of the vets are on the move before the February 8 trade deadline. The Hill and Randolph contracts may be tricky to move, but Carter is on an expiring deal, and Koufos and Temple have affordable player options for 2018/19.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Sacramento Kings

The Kings have known they’ll be mired in a years-long rebuild for a while now — and it’s not the fun kind of rebuild in which they can flaunt the potential of their youngsters while showing glimpses of hypothetical future greatness.

Unfortunately, the team sits tied for last in the Western Conference despite some forgettable campaigns from their rookies and sophomores, three of their regular starters coming in north of 30 years old and their most productive of the bunch being a 17-year veteran.

Don’t expect a major depth chart overhaul next summer when the team hits free agency. The club’s hands are somewhat tied in terms of roster flexibility, leaving the Kings little choice but to wait on the development of their in-house assets.

Vince Carter, SF, 41 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $8MM deal in 2017Vince Carter of the Sacramento Kings vertical
The Kings threw a pile of money at Carter last summer to clog their depth chart and offer the occasional nugget of sage advice to the youth around him. By all accounts, they’ve gotten just what anyone might have expected. While it’s admirable that the former All-Star is still capable of dropping 20-plus points and dragging his team to random unexpected victories, such performances are of little consequence to a franchise that should be focusing on getting more out of its prospects. Carter supposedly remains intent on playing in 2018/19, but it’s rather anticlimactic to picture his 21st season coming in Sacramento.

Kosta Koufos, C, 29 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $33MM deal in 2015
Koufos, a moderately efficient career backup, finessed a substantial long-term contract out of the Kings back in 2015, but few players have seen the value of their skillsets deflate more than Koufos. Suddenly a nine-year veteran, Koufos would be wise to accept his player option for $8.4MM.

Garrett Temple, SG, 32 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $24MM deal in 2016
Temple has carved out a role for himself as a versatile veteran swingman. This is the type of vet that the Kings should be committing to rather than paying top dollar for novelty greybeards. The market will be squeezed next summer, so expect Temple back on board for his $8MM player option. Still, if next offseason’s economy looks similar to last year’s, he could benefit from testing the waters.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Notes: Carter, Labissiere, Veterans, Fox

Forty-year-old Vince Carter is sticking to his plan to play one more season after this one, he tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Carter had his best game since joining the Kings with 24 points Wednesday against the Cavaliers, the most points scored by someone 40 or older in less than 30 minutes since 1988.

The performance stood out for Carter, who is playing less than 15 minutes a night after leaving a playoff team in Memphis to sign with Sacramento. He understands that he doesn’t fit well with a rebuilding organization and isn’t surprised to hear his name mentioned in trade rumors.

“It’s a business. … I just have to do my job for what it says on the front of my jersey,” Carter said. “I kind of go from there. I am still going to be me. I am still going to play my best game within the confines of what the coach wants and asks from me. You’ll stress yourself out worrying about what is being said. There are always going to be rumors out there. That’s just how it goes in the league and it’s more prevalent now, whether it’s a superstar, two-way player or you’re a guy that has been around five years.”

There’s more news out of Sacramento:

  • Coach Dave Joerger is ignoring criticism of the way he has juggled the lineup as he searches for the right combinations, relays Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Joerger has used 14 starting lineups in 35 games and occasionally makes changes right before tip-off. Among the players affected is Skal Labissiere, who sat out three straight games before starting Friday night. The second-year power forward scored 10 points in the first quarter, but didn’t re-enter the game until the second half and played just 16 minutes total.
  • Of the Kings’ veterans, Zach Randolph and George Hill are most likely to remain with the team next season, Jones writes in a question-and-answer column. Both players signed as free agents over the summer and have contracts that run though the end of 2018/19. Randolph will make nearly $11.7MM next season before heading into free agency, while Hill will earn $19MM with a non-guaranteed $18MM for the following season. Jones expects Garrett Temple and Kosta Koufos to exercise their player options and try to join a contender, while Carter’s contract expires after this season.
  • Rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox, out since December 14 with a partial tear in his right quadriceps muscle, was a limited participant in practice today, tweets Sean Cunningham of KXTV in Sacramento. Fox was shooting and running at full speed, but is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game.