There is no No. 15 controversy for the Hawks.
Vince Carter will wear the uniform number after he signed a one-year contract with the team on Friday. The free-agent deal was agreed upon last month and the veteran is scheduled to play a record-tying 21st NBA season.
The number was last worn by Al Horford. The franchise staple spent nine seasons with the Hawks after he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft. The four-time all-star was allowed to leave for the Celtics in free agency in 2016 after helping the Hawks to the postseason each of his seasons in Atlanta, the first nine of the franchise’s 10-year run.
Many consider Horford a player deserving to have his number retired by the Hawks. Joe Johnson’s No. 2 or Horford’s No. 15 could be the next so honored.
“Vince is someone I look up to and I’m glad he’s wearing the number!” Horford told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Hawks have not given No. 15 to any player in the two seasons since Horford left.
Carter has worn the number in most of his 20 seasons, including his first 12-plus seasons with the Raptors, Nets and Magic. He switched to No. 25 for a half season after a trade to the Suns (worn by Robin Lopez) and two seasons with the Mavericks. He returned to No. 15 with the Grizzlies, Kings and now Hawks. Carter also wore the number during his collegiate career at North Carolina.
The Hawks acquired Carmelo Anthony as part of a three-team trade this summer with the intention of a buyout for the veteran. Anthony wore No. 15 to start his 15-year career before he switched to No. 7. Although he never was to play for the Hawks, he requested a jersey of the team through social media. The team had a No. 15 Hawks jersey made and presumably sent to Anthony.
Horford had to change to No. 42 with the Celtics. The No. 15 was retired by the franchise so Horford returned to his collegiate number.