I can remember trying to rationalize things.
I knew he had to go, and the one-time franchise superstar wasn't exactly increasing his trade value of late so the longer the team held onto him...
Hell, he hadn't played since a 90 to 86 overtime loss to the Detroit Pistons a few days before, a game where he had taken eight shots before exiting with a strained Achilles tendon.
This wasn't Air Canada anymore and we all knew it.
But nine years ago today, when it was announced that the Toronto Raptors were trading Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, an Alonzo Mourning that you knew would never play here, and two middling first-round draft picks (one of which thank god turned into Joey Graham...wait...), try as you may, you just couldn't come up with much in terms of a positive spin on the deal.
Nine years later it still hurts to re-read that trade offer over, and the team and its fans have never found that emotional attachment with another player.
Try as we did, over-stuffing ourselves on Chris Bosh never filled the void left by Carter.
DeMar DeRozan hasn't come close.
And Jonas Valanciunas has a ways to go.
The best bet may indeed be Andrew Wiggins although Wiggins has yet to carry that same aura as the man once dubbed half-man, half-amazing.
In that last game of Carter's, Rafer "Skip to My Lou" Alston attempted 17 shots.
It was a fitting way to usher in the post-Carter era, a manifestation of what the next near decade would bring for fans.