HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Has it come to this for Vince Carter?
The one-time heir to Michael Jordan‘s throne (one of many proposed successors) could find himself on the move come Thursday night, when the wheeling and dealing of for the 2011 Draft kicks into high gear.
Actually, Carter could simply be moved off of the Suns’ roster, bought out of the remainder of his contract for $4 million, per my main man Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Carter would be a Draft night footnote for the Suns in their quest to get younger:
“We are in constant conversation all day, every day with virtually every team in the league, trying to see if there’s anything we need to get an additional pick or if there are other ways to improve our team,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “Like most of the conversations in the NBA, they usually don’t come to fruition. We’re trying to take everyone’s temperature.”
Since 2004, the Suns have traded or sold five first-round picks. Of the three first-round picks they kept, Alando Tucker and Earl Clark are gone and Robin Lopez no longer is considered unavailable on the trade market. This 13th pick would be their highest selection they kept since drafting Amar’e Stoudemire ninth in 2002.
“At some point, we have to get younger,” Babby said. “We want to begin with the draft to infuse younger players into our team.”
It would be yet another sad twist in the cruel ending to the career of one of the most exciting players the league has seen and easily one of the most talented players of his era.
Watching past drafts on NBA TV the last few days was a reminder of just how much promise is heaped upon the shoulders of some of these prospects as they enter the league. Carter’s arrival was one of the most anticipated I can remember, not that he was the No. 1 pick or anything (he went fifth overall in 1998 behind Michael Olowokandi, Mike Bibby, Raef LaFrentz and his North Carolina teammate, Antawn Jamison), but because he offered that rare, above-the-rim ability that so few of his contemporaries then or since could match.
To see him tossed aside like he could be in the coming days, after all these years, is just a reminder that Father Time remains the only true undefeated champion in all of sports.