As Vince Carter, eight-time NBA All-Star and one of only seven players to participate in more than 20 seasons in the NBA, considers his retirement from professional basketball next year, he has weighed in on recent decisions made by the Toronto Raptors, the team that saw him rise to fame over six seasons.
Carter, who was nothing but loyal to the Canadian team, stayed with the Raptors on a contract extension, instead of trading stateside, as many thought he would. The move reinforced Canada’s stature in the NBA after the Grizzlies left Vancouver.
Carter was traded from Toronto to New Jersey 14 years ago. He turns 42 in January and has signed on with the Hawks for next season, his 21st in the league. Though he has said he will probably bow out after next season, he has yet to make a final decision.
"Honestly, I mean, I say this is my last year, and honestly, I fight with it every day," Carter said. "My friends, family, they’re all like, ‘Man, you don't really know.’ And honestly, I don’t think I know. I think this is my last year of playing. I feel great, but sometimes you just know when it’s time.
"But if you asked me this probably last month, I was like, ‘No, man, I can give it another year after this, I know I can.’ I’m pretty much 90 something percent sure this is it... but I’m going to go through this year, and once the season is over, that's kind of when I'll make my decision."
As for his post-NBA career, he is already an active commentator and will be a game analyst for Fox’s broadcasts of the Jr. NBA World Championship next week.
"I enjoy coaching the game, but I don’t want to be a coach," Carter said. "And I think this is another way you can coach the game but to a different crowd, because like everybody watches the game and sometimes they wonder, why do they do this, why do they say this, or they have their opinions.
"So I can now respect it from the inside, if you will, as an NBA player on what they think there, what they’re talking about, what it means or what teams are trying to accomplish while you're watching the game as opposed to playing in it. So I get to do that every night for a couple hours a game, and I think it’s another way to be a coach without having the head coaching position."
He has also toyed with the idea of signing on for a bench role with a struggling team like Atlanta.
Regardless of his decision, Carter's legacy is unquestioned. Only he knows if this will be his last year in the NBA, but no one will blame him if he hangs the shoes up after the 2018-2019 season.