Last season for the Atlanta Hawks, Carter shot 38.9% from downtown and averaged a robust 15.2 points per 36 minutes, proving he can still be a useful player even in his 21st season. Carter’s game has evolved as he’s aged, and he’s now something of a 3-and-D wing role player.
Carter spent one season with the Hawks after a one-year stint in Sacramento. At both stops, he played bench minutes while mentoring young players and instilling team culture for franchises that sorely needed it. Carter previously spent time with the Raptors, Nets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks, and Grizzlies.
Though he remains unsigned as July nears a close, Carter is set on playing an NBA-record 22nd season. But who will Carter play for? Bovada released odds on where Carter will play game one of the 2019–20 NBA season. Let’s find the best bet.
Atlanta Hawks +1100
The Hawks are the incumbent choice, and Atlanta still has a roster spot open and a need for a veteran. What they may not have to offer is real minutes, or any real chance at winning this season. The Hawks are a long shot for the playoffs, even in the East, and they’re suddenly loaded on the wing.
Even after moving on from Kent Bazemore, Atlanta drafted both De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish in the top 10, and sophomore Kevin Huerter is ready for a bigger role. New arrivals Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner will also soak up some wing minutes, and the team hasn’t given up on DeAndre’ Bembry yet either. Carter has played on three teams the last three years, and it looks likely he’ll find a new home this fall yet again.
Toronto Raptors -210
The Raptors are the heavy betting favorite and would represent a return home to the team where it all began for Carter. Toronto drafted Vince with the #5 pick way back in 1998, and he played six and a half seasons with the Raptors until he was traded in December 2004, averaging 23.4 points a game.
Both the team and player have come a long ways. Carter only made the playoffs once as a Raptor but has played in 85 playoff games in his career, and his former franchise just won their first championship. They’ll have to defend their title without Kawhi Leonard, and that’s where bettors may expect Carter to come in. But Toronto signed a number of wing options in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Matt Thomas, Stanley Johnson, and undrafted rookie Terence Davis, and they also return OG Anunoby from a topsy-turvy sophomore season. A return to Toronto would be quite the feel good story, but there may not be enough minutes for Air Canada.
New York Knicks +200
The Knicks are the second betting favorite, and the fit makes sense. New York apparently loves to splash money on short-term veteran contracts, and they could use a grown-up in the room. The Knicks will certainly want to give plenty of minutes to young wings R.J. Barrett, Kevin Knox, Allonzo Trier, and Iggy Brazdeikis, but they could use Carter to soak up early minutes and mentor their youngsters as the season progresses.
Carter could see a similar role in New York to the one he filled in Sacramento and Atlanta the last two seasons, and he could bring his showtime dunking to Madison Square Garden. But would he really subject himself to James Dolan and one of the worst franchises in modern sports?
New Orleans Pelicans +650
The Pelicans were intentional about bringing in a couple veterans to lead the team this summer, adding J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors. They also added a slew of talent in the Anthony Davis trade, getting Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart from the Lakers and then drafting Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil-Alexander Walker, and Didi Louzada Silva. Oh, and they also drafted Zion Williamson at #1.
The Pelicans are suddenly deep, but they could use another veteran with so many young players in tow. Would Carter accept a lower minutes role to come into a revitalized New Orleans culture? One clue this may not be the perfect fit: Albert Nahmad reports that the Pelicans used all but $18 of their cap room this summer. Teams are rarely that exact with their money unless they knew exactly where every penny was heading. There might not be any pennies left.
Golden State Warriors +1600
The Warriors make a ton of sense in theory. There’s a lot of playing time available with Kevin Durant departed and Klay Thompson presumably out much of the season, rehabbing his knee injury. The Warriors are very weak at wing, with one of Alfonzo McKinnie, Alec Burks, and Glenn Robinson Jr. set to start at small forward. Carter’s best ability these days is his three pointer, and Golden State could use his shooting in a bad way. There won’t be any mentoring to do, but Carter would know he’s walking into a great team culture and one of the league’s top franchises.
It’s a different role for Carter but a real chance at winning, something none of the other teams on this list can offer him. But would VC live with the optics of joining the Warriors? He openly criticized Kevin Durant on ESPN’s The Jump and recently told The New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand he has no intention of chasing a ring. But if the Warriors actually need Vince to stay in contention, is it really ring chasing?
Charlotte Hornets +1600
The Hornets make Bovada’s bet list but it’s not totally certain why. Perhaps bettors will hope for a different sort of return home for Carter, heading back to his college days in North Carolina and joining forces with another of the greatest dunkers all time in Michael Jordan.
But the Hornets already have a bunch of veterans and don’t have many youngsters to mentor or much playing time to offer since players like Nic Batum, Malik Monk, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Miles Bridges should take most of the wing minutes. Charlotte doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Orlando Magic +1600
Orlando fits a lot of things Carter is looking for. It’s a young team in need of veteran leadership, with D.J. Augustin the only name on the roster over age 30. The Magic are still waiting for young players like Aaron Gordon (still only 23), Jonathan Isaac, Mo Bamba, Markelle Fultz, and Chuma Okeke to find their way. They could use Carter’s leadership, especially for a franchise that hasn’t had much direction over the past decade.
There’s also room for Carter to play. Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross are the only true wings on the roster deserving of playing time, with Gordon better off at the four. In Orlando, Carter can get real playing time and contribute useful minutes to a young team that should be fighting to get back to the playoffs in 2020 after a great finish to last season.
There’s one other factor that could seal the deal for Carter. Orlando is its own return home for Vince – his childhood home, that is. Carter was born and raised in Daytona Beach, Florida, not even an hour’s drive from Orlando. He also played for the Magic in 2009 and 2010, where he made his only deep playoff run to the Conference Finals. Perhaps nostalgia will bring Vince Carter home for one final season. Perhaps it will win you some cash, too.
(written by Brandon Anderson)