This past summer, Vince Carter said he was “90-something percent” certain he would retire at season’s end, but when the 42-year-old’s first year as the Atlanta Hawks’ veteran mentor came to a close, he changed his tune: “I’m going to prepare as if I’m coming back, and we’ll go from there, but I do want to play another year.”
Now, the eight-time NBA All-Star has made it officially official.
“I’m coming back,” he told teammate Kent Bazemore on their “Winging It” podcast.
Asked if he will stay in Atlanta, he added, “I would like to. We’ll see what happens.”
Carter has played 21 seasons for eight different teams, the last two with the Hawks and Sacramento Kings as an honorary assistant coach and 12th man for rebuilding lottery teams — a role he has embraced in the late stages of a Hall of Fame career.
That career’s one glaring omission is a championship ring, and Carter has insisted he has no interest in chasing one now. Still, it will be interesting to see where he ends up, or if teams outside the lottery will value his services at all, because it does seem like his greatest value now is offering veteran guidance to a young roster.
Carter played this past season on a veteran minimum contract for $2.39 million. He averaged 7.4 points on 38.9 percent from 3-point range and 2.6 rebounds in 17.5 minutes over 76 games, all but nine of which came as a reserve. Those numbers are up across the board from his previous season’s production on the Kings and fairly consistent with his last season as a contributor to a playoff team in Memphis.
He surpassed 25,000 career points this season and little more to prove in terms of his credentials, outside of climbing a couple more spots from his current position at 20th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. It is all about the love of the game now.
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