It is often said that time heals all wounds and it will be a decade since Vince Carter forced his way out of Toronto this December.
When Carter visited the Air Canada Centre this past season with the Mavericks, for the first time the cheers were louder than the boos and Carter became somewhat nostalgic as he talked about the Raptors and his impact on basketball in Canada.
“It’s a great feeling,” Carter said. “I mean, for someone, the majority I am now playing against to kind of say you were my hero growing up and now you are playing against them – first of all it makes me old and I say it every time. That’s just like me and Dr. J. I couldn’t imagine growing up idolizing Dr. J and then playing against Dr. J.
“I am glad I am still around to play against some of these guys that are now NBA players and future NBA superstars. It was just the groundwork that was laid for the Raptors fans who really weren’t old enough to understand how much fun it was to really come to the games and be a part of it. It was fun. It was fun. Night in and night out packed house – loud as hell.”
Those days of the ACC being ‘loud as hell’ are back and just maybe Carter should be too.
The rumors have already started to fly about the possibility of the 37-year-old soon to be free agent returning to Toronto to finish his career with the franchise that he single-handedly put on the NBA map.
This would be more than just a farewell tour. Carter has lost a step from his prime, but he accepted a role off the bench in Dallas these past two seasons and still averaged double-digit scoring in about 24 minutes per game. Carter also averaged about 40 percent from three point range which fits into Head Coach Dwane Casey’s offense perfectly. Carter can still play.
Also, from a practical side, after earning over $160 million in his NBA career, if Carter is truly interested in returning to Toronto for a season or two, money is not going to be an issue.
Carter could be that veteran wing player off the bench that gives the Raptors some additional scoring punch and in a winning environment, his return could add a very positive vibe to the ACC. It would almost certainly sell truck loads of Raptors jerseys with his name on them again.
It is past time to bury the hatchet with the Raptors most famous player and bring him back to finish his career.