Vince Carter Thrilled to Come Home
ORLANDO -- Vince Carter didn't have to travel very far to shake hands with his new coach or general manager.
He was in town before the trade was even completed.
Carter, the eight-time All-Star, was traded Thursday from the New Jersey Nets to the Orlando Magic, whose practice facilities and offices were only a few miles away from where he was holding one of his summer basketball camps earlier in the day.
Carter grew up in nearby Daytona Beach, where much of his family still lives. He already has a home in Orlando. And he was a regular at Amway Arena watching the Magic through the playoffs.
"This is like a dream come true for me,'' Carter said Thursday at a press conference at the Magic's practice facility. "Playing in my home town is a big deal. It kind of blows my mind.''
Carter never has been past the second round of the playoffs during his career in Toronto and New Jersey, and the thought of joining a contender is expected to revitalize him.
"Every player in the league hopes for an opportunity like this, to get a chance at least once to compete for an NBA championship,'' Carter said. "I've never had a dominating big man to play with before. My job will be to try and make it easier on him, to make plays for him.''
To get Carter and power forward Ryan Anderson from New Jersey, the Magic gave up point guard Rafer Alston, center/forward Tony Battie, and guard Courtney Lee, who showed considerable promise in his rookie season.
Carter, 32, played 80 games last season, averaging 20.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 36.8 minutes. He has two guaranteed years left on his contract, paying him $16.3 and $17.3 million annually.
The trade for Carter was done in part because the Magic had decided not to re-sign free agent Hedo Turkoglu, who is expected to get a five-year, $50 million contract that would have killed all future roster flexibility.
Carter will make considerably more next season than Turkoglu, but he allows them future flexibility.
Carter should give the Magic even better late-game playmaking ability than Turkoglu did the last two years.
"You can give Vince the ball anywhere on the floor, and he'll create a shot from himself or for someone else,'' said Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. "We didn't have that before. He's also one of the best at end at fourth-quarter, late-game situations.''