Atlanta Hawks Vince Carter is all smiles after scoring against the Milwaukee Bucks in a NBA basketball game on Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Vince Carter: ‘Just waiting for the right opportunity’

The plan remains the same.

Vince Carter wants to play another NBA season – what would be a record 22nd year.

Carter is a free agent after playing last season with the Hawks on a one-year deal.

Speaking on a conference call to discuss the upcoming Jr. NBA Global Championship, Carter reiterated his stated desire.

“That’s the same,” Carter said of playing another season in response to a question from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Just waiting for the right opportunity. Nothing has changed as far as that goal and that dream of mine.”

Carter acknowledged the process takes time but hoped to have a final outcome soon.

“It’s a patient thing,” Carter continued. “I get it. I’m older, teams are going younger. You just have to be patient, and hopefully in the coming days we’ll hopefully have something figured out.”

The 42-year-old Carter was more than a role player for the Hawks last season. He appeared in 76 games and averaged 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists. He had a .419 field goal percentage. Early last season, Carter became the 22nd player in NBA history to eclipse the 25,000 career point total. In addition, Carter was every bit the valuable veteran locker room presence the Hawks hoped for when they added him to a young team.

A return to the Hawks remains in question, especially after the team spent much of the offseason adding wing players through the draft, trade and free agency. Currently the Hawks have 13 players under contract. That gives them two open roster spots. However, general manager Travis Schlenk told the AJC last month that he plans to keep an open roster spot going into the season for flexibility.

The Hawks added DeAndre Hunter, Cam Reddish and Bruno Fernando in the draft and Chandler Parsons in a trade. When the Hawks signed Jabari Parker as a free agent in July it left doubt there was a spot to bring back Carter, the future Hall of Famer.

Following his performance last season, Carter figures to want a bigger role than the Hawks have. The desire remains to continue to develop a core of young players, one that got younger in the offseason.

Last month, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce said there is always a spot for a player like Carter. However, he acknowledged that Carter has options.

“It’s on (general manager) Travis (Schlenk) now to figure out from a roster standpoint if it makes sense and how we can make it make sense,” Pierce told the AJC last month. “And Vince knew that all along that it’s going to be tough. But I don’t want to discredit what he was able to do last year. He’s got to make some decisions for himself as well.”

Another possible obstacle in a return to Atlanta is that Carter could also be a distraction for the Hawks should he accept a lesser role. Not that Carter would be disgruntled, but while the team is trying to develop its young players, crowds are certainly going to want to see Carter play during his farewell season. 

In the meantime, Carter will also continue to chase his desire to get into broadcasting

following his player career. He has done work for Fox, TNT and ESPN in the past year.

He will again serve as an analyst for Fox during the Jr. NBA Global Championship. The event features boys and girls divisions, separated into U.S. and international brackets that begin with round-robin play and continue with single elimination competition. The winners of the U.S. and international brackets will play in the Global Championship games on Aug. 11.

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