NBA Rumors: Atlanta Hawks Saving Roster Spot For Vince Carter If He Wants To Return, Per ‘The Athletic’

Vince Carter of the Atlanta Hawks celebrates his three pointer during a 123-118 win over the LA Clippers at Staples Center in Los Angeles on January 28, 2019.
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At 42-years-old, Vince Carter is the oldest active player in the NBA, but he has yet to sign with a new team in free agency. However, it appears that his most recent team is still holding out hope that he may be back to reprise his role as a veteran mentor in the 2019-20 NBA season.

In a report published Wednesday, Chris Kirschner of subscriber-only publication The Athletic (via Bleacher Report) wrote that the Atlanta Hawks are saving a roster spot for Carter, should he be interested in coming back for a second season. Playing a reserve role for the Hawks in the 2018-19 campaign, the eight-time All-Star shooting guard averaged 7.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 76 games in his 21st season in the league, per Basketball-Reference.

In an NBA career that has seen him play for a total of eight teams, Carter has career averages of 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. His best statistical season came in 2000-01 when he led the Toronto Raptors with 27.6 points per outing and also compiled averages of 5.5 points, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks as he was named to the All-NBA Second Team.

With Carter still unsigned after more than one month since the start of free agency, it appears that the former NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion is still in the process of going through his options and choosing the team that would fit him the best. Per Bleacher Report, Carter was quoted by The Athletic as saying that he’s “waiting for the right opportunity” and still has plans of playing a 22nd NBA season despite his advanced age.

“It’s just a patient thing. I get it. I’m older. Teams are going younger. Hopefully, within the coming days, we’ll have something figured out.”

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As further noted by Bleacher Report, Carter was in a similar situation in the 2018 offseason, as he only signed with Atlanta on August 24, or close to two months after the start of last year’s free agency period. Before joining the Hawks, the veteran guard told reporters that he wanted to sign with a team that would allow him to play meaningful minutes, as opposed to a team that would allow him the best chances of winning his first NBA championship as a player.

Meanwhile, if Vince Carter chooses to re-sign with the Hawks, he will likely continue mentoring the team’s younger players, including rookies De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, who were respectively picked fourth and 10th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, Carter was further quoted by The Athletic as saying that he’s open to mentoring “whatever rookie is there,” regardless of which team he plays for in the 2019-20 season, as he hopes to “help them flourish and become whatever it is they want to become.”