Two veterans of the 1998 draft are still hanging around, and in this year’s round of NBA Free Agency found new homes.
Vince Carter was poised to be the Next Big Thing and it never quite materialized for him, but has spent the last few years being a tent pole role player on the Dallas Mavericks. Even in this last offseason at age 37 he hit a clutch and killer shot in the playoffs to beat the San Antonio Spurs.
Carter signed a 3-year/$12 million dollar contract with the third year being partially guaranteed. The Grizzlies lost last years Free Agent surprise James Johnson to Toronto in the off-season and it appears Mike Miller was going to jet to join LeBron James in Cleveland, so the addition of Vinsanity filled a hole in their perimeter shooting as well as a weakened Small Forward position that has eluded the club last season.
The contract seems friendly for both sides, Vince appears to be off the books the same time as Zach Randolph and with his history of shooting, will draw defenders to him since he still has the ability to knock them down. Vince also joins the distinct fraternity of playing for both of the last expansion teams in the league, the Raptors and now the Grizzlies.
Widely thought to be a Celtic For Life, Paul Pierce couldn’t see himself involved in another rebuilding project in Boston so joined his teammate Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn. The Nets season was iffy from the jump, but they steadied themselves and had a decent run into the playoffs. But a strange off season that saw Jason Kidd leave abruptly and Pierce was on the road again down south. Essentially Pierce is replacing Trevor Ariza, who left in Free Agency to join the Houston Rockets, however, his role will be different. Not the lock down defender, Ariza was, but still a good perimeter shooter, hopefully Pierce will take on a mentor role that guides second-year player Otto Porter into the forward position. Porter struggled in his rookie season recovering from a hip flexor injury and Coach Randy Wittman trying to secure a long term deal, was putting out the best team on the floor instead of developing talent.
However, Porter is rested and ready and having a good Summer League. He may not be able to start, but backing up Pierce and splitting up the time on the floor is not a bad way to get a second start to your NBA career.
It’s exceptionally hard to stay relevent aging in the NBA, but with these two interesting shifts, Vinsanity and The Truth are still ones to watch for next season.