Thursday, June 25, 2009

Carter Goes Home

In my years as a Nets fan, it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve been with them since 1997, and I’ve seen Jayson Williams go from a rebounding madman, to a…. well, a madman. I’ve seen Stephon Marbury as a Net, paired with then Sixer Allen Iverson, winning one of the best All-Star games in recent history in 2001. I’ve seen Jason Kidd joining the Nets, leading them to the Finals twice, and getting triple-doubles like it was nothing. Kenyon Martin, our last power forward: from rim-rocking dunks in The Meadowlands, to going all the way to the Western Conference Finals with the Nuggets only a few weeks ago. And of course Richard Jefferson. When Kidd left, I understood. It’s a business, and both player and team were ready to move on. And we got Devin Harris in return, so I couldn’t complain anyway. But trading a 20 ppg player like Jefferson for two forwards who didn’t average 20 ppg together, broke my heart. A lot of people dislike RJ, but I’m not one of them. Is he overpaid? Could be. Should he always be a sidekick to some star? I don’t know. All I know is that he’s been traded to the Spurs this week, so I’m happy he doesn’t spend the prime of his career in basketball purgatory. One final thing I want to mention about Jefferson: he really was bummed when he was traded by the Nets after spending his first seven years there. He wanted stay in New Jersey for the rest of his career, and that doesn’t happen very often when a player says that about a team like the Nets (before RJ, I think the last one to do so was Buck Williams).

After RJ was gone, luckily we still had Vince Carter, and it was time for him to show if he’s able to lead a young team, to see if he could go through a season of what some people would call “a rebuilding year”. And VC just did that without complaining, teaching the young guys, playing at least three positions throughout the season, and oh yeah, averaging 20, 5 and 5 along the way. Sure, he wanted to win a championship, but he emphasized that he was content with his current situation, and enjoyed the process of building a team, making the rookies better; doing whatever that was needed to be done to help the organization during this tough process of being perceived as mediocre.

They called him Wince Carter, but in his last four full seasons, he only missed 11 games. He’s not getting any younger, he has a huge contract, but he is also capable of making huge baskets, or making the right pass when needed, as we could state that VC is one of the best passing shooting guards in the League, and maybe one of the most unselfish players in the NBA. Sure, Vince is a great actor, limping, grimacing, staying down for a while, the man has a flair for the dramatic, just ask Toronto when he killed them by scoring a reverse alley-oop in the buzzer with 18.000 people booing him. About the incoming players: I like Courtney Lee, I don’t know how Rafer Alston will fit in coming off the bench, and Tony Battie is a nice veteran addition (however, the contracts of those two are coming off the books in 2010, so that’s why they're now with the Nets). But I really don’t know how the Nets are planning to score 85 points in a game next season.

Rod Thorn will probably draft Terrance Williams or Gerald Henderson tonight, and might do some additional dealing this summer (speaking of that: Ryan Anderson is joining VC to Orlando, which gives the Nets the Magic’s trade exception). But Vince Carter’s scoring, passing, and leadership will be missed by us Nets fans. Vince Carter will finish his career in the state he was born in, and where he also starred as a high school phenomenon. He might be a nice guy, but in Orlando he will show that nice guys don’t always finish last.


Anonymous said...

I hope Carter wins a championship with Orlando. Who knows?

Melvin said...

It makes Orlando a lot more competitive.. As for the Nets, the only valuable person they get is Courtney Lee. I guess they should've had tried to get more...

-Gerard Himself- said...

Nice, I got mentioned on yahoo!,173119

Melvin: I like Courtney Lee, absolutely. And Battie and Alston's contracts are off the books in 2010. So from a financial standpoint I can understand this trade. (and it's nice have Lee since the guy can really play, and defend!)
BUT: how in the world will my beloved Nets score even 80ppg? I mean, Harris will get his 20, but defenders will get on him since Carter is no longer there. And Lopez will make his buckets, but it's unfair to ask him to be the second scorer on the team. The problem is: Thorn and Vandeweghe are counting on Yi to be that guy, and I can't see it happening.... as a Nets fan, I expect a very difficult season coming up.