Vince Carter will play one more NBA season – and it will be with the Hawks.
Just days after Carter hinted there would be resolution with his free agency “in the coming days,” the veteran forward agreed to a deal to return to the Hawks, according to several people familiar with the situation. He will play his record 22nd season, his second with the Hawks, and has stated that he plans to retire following this one last year.
The Hawks have not announced the deal. The deal was first reported by ESPN.
“That’s the same,” Carter said on Thursday of playing another season in response to a question from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on a conference call before the Jr. NBA Global Championship. “Just waiting for the right opportunity. Nothing has changed as far as that goal and that dream of mine.
“It’s a patient thing. 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.
Carter will be the 14th player on the Hawks’ roster. General manager Travis Schlenk told the AJC last month that he plans to keep a 15th roster spot open to provide flexibility.
A return to the Hawks appeared in question, especially after the team spent much of the offseason adding wing players through the draft, trade and free agency. 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.
Now, Carter is back to again provide veteran leadership to a young team.
“There is always a place for Vince in terms of that leadership and what he brings,” head coach Lloyd Pierce said in June. “Vince his role this next year wherever he ends up, is not about being the guy. It's still the same role. It's being able to show he's got a little left in the tank. But more importantly when he came here last year it was 'what do I do, how can I help?' He understands how he has transitioned into that role.
"It's on Travis now to figure out from a roster standpoint if it makes sense and how we can make it make sense. 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.”
Schlenk said last month that he would like to have Carter back if the right deal could be worked out.
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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