Lenny Wilkens is likely to resign this week as head coach of the New York Knicks. The Knicks have lost nine of their last ten games to drop to third place in our awful Atlantic Division.
I hated Wilkens when he was coaching the Raptors. I was shocked when the Knicks hired him a year ago and wrote this entry in which I openly laughed at Knicks fans. I was 100% certain that this hiring was a huge mistake and I couldn't wait until he was run out of town.
In every sport there is a home field advantage, but nowhere is it greater than in the NBA. In the NBA, it's not unusual for a team to dominate at home and stink on the road. Take my Toronto Raptors, for instance.
Yesterday the Raptors trailed the New Orleans Hornets by as much as 16 points in the third quarter, but came back to win 102-99. It was their ninth win in their past ten games at the ACC. At home, the Raptors are a sweet 13-5. On the road, it's a different story all together. We've lost 11 straight and are a dismal 2-18.
If the Raps manage to win even 30% of their road games they'll win the Atlantic division. All I care is that they beat New Jersey.
Since being traded by my Toronto Raptors to the New Jersey Nets, Vince Carter is averaging 22.5 points per game. He's playing hard, taking it to the hoop and putting up points. Those are three things he didn't do before the trade.
TNT broadcast an interview with Carter yesterday in which he was asked if he pushed himself as hard as he should have in Toronto. Below was his response.
"In years past, no. I was fortunate to have the talent ... you get spoiled when you're able to do a lot of things. You see that you don't have to work at it. Now, with the all the injuries, I have to work harder. I'm a little hungrier. Getting a fresh start has made me want to attack the basket."
What an ass. He's essentially admitting he didn't try his best with Toronto. This explains why he looks like a different player in New Jersey. I used to defend Vince Carter when others wanted to get rid of him. Now, I wish him nothing but the worst. F him.
Now that it's happened, I thought I'd delve into the vault and reexamine the entries I wrote about Vince Carter. They say a great deal about my conflicted feelings about him and what he brings brought to my Toronto Raptors. Lets take a look, shall we? Fittingly, there are fifteen.
- The EA Sports Jinx - October 2, 2003 / 12:53 EST: I'm concerned that Carter is on the cover of EA's NBA Live 2004. There is that jinx and I want Carter to stay healthy.
- Mike's Mailbag - October 29, 2003 / 15:03 EST: I inaccurately predict the Raptors will make the playoffs in 2003/2004. I add a caveat that Carter must remain healthy for this to happen.
- Vintage Vincent - November 27, 2003 / 08:04 EST: I'm gushing over the great Vince Carter after he scores 43 and carries the Raps on his back. I also reminisce about the 51 point game of his I attended.
- Not In-Vince-able - January 17, 2004 / 14:00 EST: Carter injures himself once again and I brace for the worst. I even compare him to Wendel Clark.
- Mr. Popular - January 30, 2003 / 11:09 EST: Carter leads the league in all-star votes for the fourth time and I try to figure out why he's so damn popular.
- Guest Blog Entry - January 30, 2004 / 15:45 EST: For the first time, I publicly admit in this space that Vince could be traded. I also admit that he's not the second coming of Michael Jordon. "If you had brought up the subject of trading Vince Carter a couple of years ago, I would have laughed in your face."
- It. Is. Over. - March 27, 2004 / 11:04 EST: I was pissed when I wrote this entry. The Raptors were going to miss the playoffs yet again and I knew something had to give.
- Vin-sane - July 2, 2004 / 09:04 EST: ESPN reports that Carter wants to be traded and I try to digest the news. "Vince is our star and it will hurt to watch him suit up for another team."
- The End of an Era? - July 14, 2004 / 10:55 EST: Rumours were swirling that Carter was on his way out and I thought we were in the final hours of the Vince Carter era in Toronto. "The writing's on the wall and we have to accept it."
- Carlos and Vince - July 16, 2004 / 21:37 EST: I found it interesting that it was becoming incredibly likely that both Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter would be leaving Toronto. Still, I held on to a semblance of hope that Carter could stay. "It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between."
- Guest Blog Entry - July 20, 2004 / 14:48 EST: I admit I'm completely torn about the whole Vince Carter saga. "I'd like him to stay, play hard and lead us back to the playoffs where he can shine on a bigger stage."
- My Sports Wishlist - September 22, 2004 / 08:23 EST: Carter makes my sports wishlist as I wish he'd stop being such a suck, rescind his trade demand and play his ass off.
- 41 Reasons to Kick Ass - November 3, 2004 / 13:11 EST: The Sporting News ranks Carter the 41st best player in the NBA and I see this as a positive, potentially lighting a much needed fire under Carter's butt. "This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season."
- More Than 41 - November 23, 2004 / 07:56 EST: It didn't take long to realize that Vince Carter wasn't going to perform for the Raptors the way Vince Carter can. "When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team."
- The Vince Carter Era Ends - December 17, 2004 / 17:36 EST: Vince Carter is traded to the New Jersey Nets. "It's time to move on my friends."
That last line of #14 says it all. I have no doubt that Carter will be awesome for the Nets. He lost all motivation here in Toronto and put it in auto pilot a long, long time ago. It's a damn shame because he had so much upside and could have been the man to lead us to the championship. Could have been, should have been, would have been...
Farewell #15. Thanks for the memories. 51 against the Suns, baby.
I'm flooded with mixed emotions now that it's finally happened. The Toronto Raptors have traded Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for center Alonzo Mourning, forward Eric Williams, center/forward Aaron Williams and two conditional first-round draft picks.
It wasn't that long ago that Carter owned this city. He was the rookie of the year, the slam dunk king and the next Michael Jordon. He had us within a 3-point shot of the Eastern Finals and the best was yet to come. He was Air Canada and the best show in town.
I'll never forget the day I spent at the ACC watching him pour in 51. The Raptor victory was broadcast nationally in the USA and the 51 was and still is a Raptor record. There wasn't a basketball fan in this city who didn't think Carter was awesome and only going to get better.
As quickly as he rose to prominence in the big smoke, he plummetted back to the soil at Bay and York. Frequently injured, no longer as consistent and one hell of a whiner, almost everybody wanted him out of town. Personally, I swung up and down on this issue like a yo-yo, wishing he'd stay and return to his form of old one day and wishing we'd trade him and build for the future the next. This season, the writing was on the wall and I knew it was only a matter of time. Now that it's happened, I'm sad to see our perrenial all-star go but I realize it's for the best.
It's time to move on my friends. We have our closure, let the healing begin.
Apparently, Vince Carter needs more than 41 reasons to kick ass this season. A player who is averaging 24.1 points for his career is only averaging 14.5 points per game thus far this year. Carter scored just four points on 2-for-9 shooting and didn't play in the fourth quarter while his team mates overcame a 20-point deficit in the second half to beat the San Antonio Spurs 96-91 Sunday. He's not contributing and others are picking up the slack.
Now comes word the "Half-man, half-amazing" doesn't want to dunk anymore. He'll leave the dunking to others and opt for a lay up instead. He's as whiny about the pressue to dunk as he is about the league's decision to strip him of his iPod during warmups. It's been a tough week for the $12 million man.
I've been rather vocal in my support of Vince Carter. I want him to play like he can and be a super star once more for my Raptors. Sadly, it's becoming abundantly clear that he's doing everything in his power to reduce his trade value. He's averaging 14.5 ppg, refusing to dunk and sitting for most fourth quarters. When we finally do trade this major disappointment, we'll likely get little of value in return. Then, without a doubt, Carter will kick it up a notch and shoot the lights out for his new team. I'll bet he even dunks for them.
What a shame.
I just finished watching the Raptors game. I watched the whole thing, in fact, I've seen all three games this season except for a bit of Friday's game when I was watching the Argos.
I'm extremely impressed thus far. All three games have been extremely entertaining victories for the Raps. I don't remember three games as exciting as these three all of last season.
It's early, but if we keep this intensity up and Vince keeps doin' what he's doin' with this awesome support, we'll be back in the playoffs for sure.
With the first 3-0 start in franchise history, the Raptors are helping to ease the pain of the NHL lockout. Bless those boys.
The Sporting News recently released its subjective list of the top 50 players in the NBA, and Vince Carter ranked a disappointing 41st. As a Raptor fan, this pleases me. This gives Carter 41 reasons to kick ass this season.
Things can only get better this season, which tips off tonight against the Houston Rockets at the ACC. Now that Carter has something to prove, I suspect he'll put forward a more consistent effort. We need him and I'm glad he's back with a slice of humble pie. With Chris Bosh emerging as an excellent supporting player, and Donyell Marshall and Jalen Rose back, I think we'll put up the points and finish 8th in the East. In the NBA, eight is enough.
Now that Vince Carter has essentially come clean with his desire to play elsewhere, it's looking more and more likely that the Raptors will trade him. As I've said before, I'd rather see #15 in the line up for the Raptors season opener, but if he's got to go there's an interesting possibility emerging.
Ray Allen of the Seattle Sonics is reportedly interested in playing for the Toronto Raptors. He's making similar money to Carter, so that takes care of the salary cap issues. He also plays a similar game. As Doug Smith writes in today's Toronto Star, "He has the type of up-tempo game that would fit perfectly with the style new coach Sam Mitchell wants the Raptors to play and he could share the court with Jalen Rose and Rafer Alston in a high-powered backcourt".
My biggest fear is we'll trade Vince Carter for a bunch of B-list players. Ray Allen is at least a star. This would make the pain a little more bearable methinks.
Here in the capital of the world (Toronto, in case you didn't know), all the sports talk has been about the "imminent" trade of our two biggest stars. If you excuse Mats, Ed and the gang on skates, Toronto's biggest sports stars are Carlos Delgado and Vince Carter.
Already this month I've written two entries essentially saying goodbye to Vince. The rumour mill was working overtime and it looked like he was on his way to Dallas. Now, nobody is sure of anything. It's entirely possible we're cheering Carter's name on opening night as he stays with the Raps. I'm hoping he does because players with his talent are few and far between.
Then, there's Carlos Delgado of my Toronto Blue Jays. Unlike Vince, there's no rumblings about how Carlos would like a trade and isn't happy. The problem here is strict economics. Delgado makes about 40% of the Blue Jays payroll and with our current budget we'll likely never compete with the Yankees and Red Sox of the world. Trading Carlos will free up some cash for some badly needed starting pitching. Still, I don't want him to go either as he's a fantastic ball player.
Here's my proposal to Rob Babcock and J.P. Ricciardi. Lets keep superstars like Vince Carter and Carlos Delgado in Toronto. Both have a number of good years ahead of them and both are assets to their respective clubs. Why would we want to see them play anywhere else? Keep 'em and sign Delgado again when his contract expires at the end of the season.
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