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Wish List For Vince Carter

By Stacey Razputin

“Turmoil in Raptorland” – that is what the Toronto press has labeled the initial start of the Toronto Raptor’s season to date…. after 19 games.  Yes, the Raptors could be playing better, but their current record of 7 wins and 12 losses puts them only 2 and a half games from first place in the weak Atlantic Division which is led by the 8-8 New York Knicks.  It must also be remembered that the Raptors have been enduring the hardest opening schedule in the league, where 12 of there 19 games have been on the road.  At home, they have a very respectable 5 wins and 2 losses.  So Turmoil?  Maybe perhaps some domestic issues…. but it is way too early for any kind of panic.  This leads me to a side note on the Toronto media coverage of the Raptors.    

I would just like to express my dissatisfaction with the Toronto media’s coverage on the Raptors.  First of all, these reporters don’t really seem that knowledgeable about the game of basketball and lack any fresh insight into the Raptors.  I understand that they are there to report to the “common masses” about the Raptor’s doings but their penchant for sensationalist headlines (i.e. “Vince Vows Not To Dunk”) can’t be healthy for a Raptor fan-base that is although, passionate, prone to quickly jumping on OR off the bandwagon depending on the outcome of each game.  I do understand that selling papers are the bottom line, but it just pisses me off when the press exaggerates a quote from the players of the coach – which happens quite a bit.  Anyways, I will digress and focus on the issue at hand – my rant, if you will; the topic – What the Raptors could get for Vince Carter.          

We all know that the Raptor’s star player, Vince Carter, had publicly stated a trade demand prior to the start of the season.  He has since not said anything else pertaining to this demand, deferring to his ready-quick mantra that goes something like, “I’m here to play, I’m a professional, I get played to play, Why wouldn’t I play?”  So he has played, and for the most part, he has played relatively well in new coach, Sam Mitchell’s, new system.  Conversely, many basketball pundits don’t believe that Vince is playing well.  But of course, they will refer to his career-low numbers.  Vince is averaging only 16.1 points a game, and his team is perpetually losing.  But lets put this in perspective.  Yes, his scoring is down, but so is his number of shot attempts.  He is playing on a team with many scorers, and spreading the scoring wealth can only help team unity.  He is also averaging only 1.1 turnovers a game, down from the 3.1 he averaged the season before.  And although he still lapses some times, Vince has been playing fairly solid defense. 

I believe that many General Managers in the league do realize these points, which is what makes Vince Carter very attractive on the trade market.  His trade value is the lowest it has ever been – the numbers are down and his popularity in the city that once worshipped him, is severely waning.  However, the flip side is that Carter still is one of the best athletes in the game, and many believe that his struggles are mainly psychological where a change in scenery may stimulate him to revert back to the fearless, jaw-droppingly spectacular player he once was.  Also, despite his unpopularity in Toronto, he still remains quite popular everywhere else in the league.    

Complicating a potential Vince trade, is the fact that Raptor’s management would like to also trade their other underachieving all-star guard, Jalen Rose.  Together, these two players account for about $27-million in salaries for the year – understandably, something the Raptors would like to get rid off.  So far, General Manager Rob Babcock have had one serious offer on the table with the Portland Trailblazers that would have seen Rose and Carter (and perhaps others) go to the Blazers for Shareef Abdul-Rahim, Nick Van Exel, Derek Anderson, and perhaps others.  The Raptors apparently did not pull the trigger on the deal because they wanted more, reported Portland sources.

So I’m going to play the role of a fantasy General Manager and go through the league to scour out some potential trade scenarios.  Lets see…

New York Knicks – It is no secret that Isiah Thomas covets Vince, and Vince covets New York, but the personal on both teams make any trade unlikely, unless a third team was involved.  The Raptors would like to have the interior toughness of Kurt Thomas, Mike Sweetney, or Nazr Mohammed, but can’t offer any useful big men in return except for maybe Donyell Marshall (Chris Bosh is considered untouchable).  Also, the Knicks do not want to add more to their league-leading highest payroll.

Vince Carter and Donyell Marshall FOR Allan Houston and Mike Sweetney

Chicago Bulls – The Bulls have been interested in Carter for some time now and have their own disgruntled “trade-me” player in Eddy Curry.  Would a Curry for Vince swap be fair?  From a Raptor perspective – emphatically no.  Carter has proven himself while Curry remains a “has plenty of potential” guy.  Throw in Andres Nocioni, now maybe we have a deal.  

Vince Carter FOR Eddy Curry and Andres Nocioni

Philadelphia 76ers – There once was a time where an Iverson for Carter swap for fair value.  Not these days however, as the best the Raps could hope for from the Sixers are disgruntled, past his prime forward, Glenn Robinson, and perhaps underachieving center, Samuel Dalembert.  I could only imagine the highest of highs and lowest of lows for an Iverson-Carter backcourt.  Not sure if Vince is even a player that Philly wants. 

Vince Carter FOR Glenn Robinson and Samuel Dalembert

Denver Nuggets – The Nuggets have two talented big men that they seldom use in Nene Hilario and Nikoloz Tskitishvili.  They already have a formidable frontcourt of Carmelo Anthony, Kenyon Martin, and Marcus Camby, so they could give up one of these guys.  Also Earl Boykins would be a great addition to Sam Mitchell’s running offense, although Andre Miller would most likely have to go to match salaries.  Carter could thrive in Denver where the focus would not be on him all the time. 

Vince Carter and Rafer Alston FOR Nene Hilario and Andre Miller

Washington Wizards – Besides New York, Vince would probably prefer playing in Washington the most, to be reunited with friends and fellow Tar Heel teammates, Antawn Jamison and Brendan Haywood.  However one of Larry Hughes or Gilbert Arenas would have to go, and I don’t think the Raps could succeed in having such shot-happy players.  Besides, the Raps would probably be more interested in the Wizards’s hidden gems, Jarvis Hayes, Juan Dixon, and Jared Jefferies.

Vince Carter, Morris Peterson, Milt Palacio, and Rafael Arujuo FOR Jarvis Hayes, Jared Jefferies, Juan Dixon, and Gilbert Arenas  

New Orleans Hornets – Whenever the Raptors feel bad, they can just look at the Hornets to make themselves feel better.  The Hornets are off to a disastrous start and may even be too far behind to contend for a playoff spot in the talented West (barring a miracle of course).  The Raptors would love to have Jamal Magloire, although he’ll be out for a couple of months with a broken finger.  How about this blockbuster:

Vince Carter, Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall, Rafael Arujuo, and Morris Peterson FOR Jamal Magloire, Baron Davis, PJ Brown

Phoenix Suns – The Suns probably don’t want to ruin a good thing right now but I see a great one for one opportunity that would work great for both teams.  Carter would thrive being one of the recipient on the Suns fast-break with Steve Nash leading.  And the Suns could give up one of its gluttony of scorers – although I’m sure they will argue that they are all more valuable than Carter. 

Vince Carter FOR Joe Johnson or Shawn Marion

Memphis Grizzlies – The Grizz has been mentioned in trade rumors with Carter.  They, like the Raptors, are off to a disappointing start, but they remain much more combustible with respected coach Hubie Brown recently retiring.  The Grizz could benefit from a major shakeup. 

Vince Carter, Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall, and Rafael Arujuo FOR Mike Miller, Stromile Swift, Brian Cardinal, and James Posey    

Whatever the case may be, it appears that Vince will be on his way out before the February 24th trade deadline.  Raptors general manager, Rob Babcock will have his hands full trying to find likely suitors.  Trading Vince Carter will also likely characterize his tenure in Toronto, which is probably why he has been cautious and patient in negotiations. 

In any case, the majority of Toronto fans are just waiting to see Vince leave for whatever turns up their way.  A small minority of fans are hoping that Vince leaves but only if there is fair trade value.  A very, very small cluster of devoted Vince fans hope that he doesn’t get traded.  Whatever the case may be, all these fans likely realize that Vince will most likely return to his “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” form AFTER he leaves, which will forever haunt and taunt Toronto fans for the rest of his career.  But it has gotten to the point, where he still has to go. 

 

ABOUT THE FAN

Name: Stacey Razputin

Age: 30

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Occupation: Press Brake Operator 

Favorite Team: Toronto Raptors

Favorite Former Player: Sidney Moncrief

Favorite Current Player: Lebron James

Most Hated Team: Philadelphia 76ers

Most Hated Player: Shaquille O’Neal

Prediction for Eastern Champs: Detroit Pistons

Prediction for Western Champs: Minnesota Timberwolves

Prediction for NBA Champs: Minnesota Timberwolves     

 

 

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