by Sam Riches / @sam_riches
The myriad of nicknames Vince Carter has been labeled over his 12-year career produce a winding narrative. When he burst onto the scene during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 NBA season, he was known as “Vinsanity,” an ode to his gravity-defying and incomprehensible athleticism.
After his magnum opus performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, Shaquille O’Neal crowned him “Half-Man, Half-Amazing.”
Four years later, as a dejected Carter fell from his Jordan-like status, hobbled by injuries and his own apathy, Toronto Raptors fans dubbed him, “Half-Man, Half-Season.”
Now in the closing moments of his career, Carter has a chance to finally silence the critics who have remained adamant and unwavering throughout his NBA tenure.
“The Suns have long been expected to buy out Vince Carter’s $18.3 million final season for $4 million. Which could give Carter the chance to answer the question of whether he ever really wanted to try to be a winner. Or just score points. The Bulls will be one of the teams likely interested in Carter if he is bought out — similarly with Richard Hamilton, who is less likely to be bought out because he has two years left on his contract. The Bulls will be over the salary cap, so they cannot offer Carter more than a minimum deal. Currently, there is a mid level exception, which most don’t expect to survive the new collective bargaining agreement. So would Carter come to the Bulls for a minimum when he can make much more, though with a lesser team? The advantage the Bulls have is they can offer a starting job. Of course, Dallas likely could, as well, on a minimum deal. The Heat could not. Would Carter like to play in New York with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire for the same minimum and probably start there as well? Or just collect as much money as he can and maybe go play somewhere like Denver or the Clippers?”
His best days are far behind him, but if his knees and attitude allow, Carter could still receive the one label he has yet to obtain: NBA champion.