Vince Carter just wrapped up his 19th season of NBA basketball of his career and third with the Memphis Grizzlies. Despite being the league’s oldest player at 40 this season, Carter insists that he’s not ready to retire just yet.
Carter averaged 8.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in 24.6 minutes per game – all the highest of his tenure in Memphis. The veteran has carved out a comfortable role with the Grizzlies, and has no plans on hanging up his hoops shoes despite entering this offseason as a free agent, as he told RealGM.
“I said to myself ‘I want to play 15 years’. I don’t know where I got that from. And the I got to 15 years and I kept going. I never capped it, but at the same time I’ve had a lot of players remind me of things I’ve said,” said Carter about how he kept telling fellow players he would retire after two more years.
“I’m still saying ‘two more years and I’m done,'” Carter said. “I sit here today and I think of when I was younger, at that 25 and the season was over, I felt awful. I could play three more rounds of basketball right now.”
Watching Carter play this year, it’s been clear that the veteran still has plenty left in the tank. His pre-game warmup routine showed his legs still have lots of bounce, and by playing 75 games he proved he’s in great shape to handle the grind of the season. It will be interesting to see what the market is for Carter this offseason. He’s relatively cheap – his deal with the Grizzlies was three years, $12 million – is comfortable with a reduced role, and can provide legitimate production along with veteran leadership.
The Grizzlies would certainly seem like they would be an interested party, but other contenders looking to add wing help could very well come calling Carter as well. Carter has accomplished a lot as an NBA player, but he’s never been particularly close to a championship, so this next deal could be his chance to go after a ring.