Trade me now, Carter demands
Frustrated Raptor star goes public
'It's just time for me to look after me'
Vince Carter says it's time to go.
"It's time for the truth: I want to be traded, I'm ready to be traded," the 27-year-old Raptor all-star told the Star last night.
"First and foremost, this has nothing to do with the fans or the city, it's just time for me to look after me."
Carter, who has been the subject of intense trade rumours since the end of the season, said his decision to go public last night is because he's frustrated at the pace of trade talks the Raptors have been pursuing.
He said he's made it known to new general manager Rob Babcock and first-year head coach Sam Mitchell that he wants out of Toronto but he isn't sure they are investigating possible deals as strongly as they could be.
"I want a fair shot at being on the market and being traded and I feel I haven't had that fair shot," Carter said in a telephone interview. "This is about doing what's best for me."
Carter's desire to be dealt stems mainly from increasing frustration regarding the future of the team. If he's not dealt by the beginning of the regular season Nov. 3, he will enter his third straight season with a new head coach and second in a row with a new general manager, playing for a team that has missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons.
"It's been since 2000 when we were on a certain level (the team advanced to the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals that season) and it's been going down since then," said Carter, who averaged more than 24 points a game for the Raptors last season when Toronto finished 33-49 and out of the playoffs.
"It's time to resurrect my career."`I can spend the rest of my career giving guys a chance. It's time to move on.'
Babcock, who took over from the fired Glen Grunwald in early June, has resisted all talk about a Carter trade since assuming his position. While it is hardly a secret that Carter's agents have pushed for a deal, Babcock has said repeatedly he wouldn't make a trade just for the sake of it and would only deal Carter if it made sense for the Raptors.
"Some people might say you're not giving these new guys a chance," Carter said. "I can spend the rest of my career giving guys a chance. It's time to move on."
Carter played in 73 of Toronto's 82 regular-season games last season and there are questions around the NBA about what his status is among the game's elite players. Three seasons ago, he was considered one of the great young players in the NBA but two injury-riddled seasons, where he had to deal with knee injuries, saw his reputation take a huge hit.
"I don't mind taking shots for this team, I know what my (reputation) was and I was the guy everyone was looking to," he said. "But it's time to worry about me. I know that sounds hard but it's how I feel."
Carter is the only high-profile Raptor player to sign a contract extension in Toronto. Unlike Tracy McGrady and Damon Stoudamire before him — two promising players who engineered their own departures — the 6-foot-7 swingman signed a six-year contract extension worth more than $90 million (all figures U.S.) after the 2000-01 season. He still has three years — plus a fourth at his option — to run on that deal and will make more than $12 million this season. The Raptors are scheduled to open training camp on Oct. 5.
Finding fair value for Carter — still considered one of the top half-dozen athletic talents in the league — will be difficult.
"I want them to get someone of fair value. ... but I'm looking for a new start for Vince right now," he said. "I've never been this way, but it's time. I've looked around at so many rosters trying to find what would help this team and it's hard."
Carter said he wouldn't want to get traded to a Western Conference team and he's not adamant about joining a club with a legitimate chance to win the NBA title any time soon.
He conceded it would be interesting to play in New York ("It's the mecca of basketball," he said) despite the presence of ex-Raptor coach Lenny Wilkens, with whom Carter clashed in 2002-03."I would love to play in Florida (where he was born and maintains an off-season home). It's just time to move."
The question I have is, who wants him? What team would want him?