Oh, how dreams can be fleeting. Before the trade deadline, Raptors fans were worked into a froth at the report that Sacramento’s Vince Carter may be a candidate for Toronto in the buyout market. His return would work twofold: to retire as an idyllic legend of the franchise, and to bolster a young bench with shooting for the playoffs.
Unfortunately, it appears Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster would rather do without the distraction of Carter’s return. Rumours coming from TSN’s Josh Lewenberg indicate that the team has moved on from the idea of adding Carter, even if he were to get bought out by the Sacramento Kings.
Still getting lots of questions about Vince Carter. As I reported last week, after some internal debate the Raptors have decided not to bring him back this season, even if he's made available. They're still open to it in the future but consensus was this isn't the right time.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) February 19, 2018
There’s been a lot of thinkpieces about Carter, as there always is when news tying him to the Raptors comes out. I, for one, fall on the side of this being the right decision. While Vince so clearly means a lot to the Raptors franchise, his return now, at the end of February, would undoubtedly become a distraction. Media would lap up the storyline of Carter joining the best ever Raptors team — the poetry of the whole thing is just too tempting. For a team that’s been so synchronized, to add that kind of phenomenon to the locker room — I’m not willing to take the risk that it throws off the equilibrium (especially if it’s for a sub-40% three-point shooter).
Instead, it appears the Raptors will try for a less splashy buyout signing. Lewenberg added that he’s heard Orlando’s Arron Afflalo as a name of interest.
I get the sense the Raptors have a player in mind and Masai Ujiri seems confident that his guy will be out there and would choose Toronto. He had Afflalo in Denver and then there's the Orlando connection with Magic president/former Raps GM Jeff Weltman.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) February 19, 2018
The 32-year-old Afflalo, currently playing 13 minutes a game, is a career 39% three-point shooter who’s tailed off this year. He’s on the downward slide of his career, but can still be a useful piece — just a few years years ago, he was a dynamic two-way wing that teams are clamouring for today.
So, what do you think? Are the Raptors making the right move in punting Vince Carter’s return for another time? Should Afflalo be on the radar? Let’s comment away.