The Toronto Raptors are ready to welcome the best player in franchise history back home. In a recent interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri described the team’s interest in bringing back Vince Carter (at the 33:40 mark of this video):
“Vince, for me, is different. He’s one of the symbols of the Toronto Raptors whether we like it or not…all these young players coming up, they grew up watching Vince Carter. I’m not allowed to talk about other people’s players in that way but in our organization I think we do respect him. Tim Leiweke met with him the last time they came into town, with Mark Cuban‘s permission, and I think it went well. We’re trying to show him that this is new, this is open thinking. In the future we’re definitely going to think openly.”
Carter, who will be a free agent this coming off-season, has made clear his own interest in finishing his career as a Raptor in the past:
“If (Toronto) gave me that opportunity, I don’t even think I’d let them finish the question. Yes, I’m in.
“Could I see it? Absolutely. I’d leave that up to the franchise. It all started in Toronto, I’d be a fool to ever forget that.”
We know this much: Carter is ready to return, and the Raptors’ management is considering it. So what would it take for this sentimental homecoming to actually happen? At this point in his career, Carter contributes to the Dallas Mavericks as a savvy guard who can put up solid numbers off the bench. His All-Star days have come and gone, yet he remains a viable option for young teams in need of consistent production and veteran knowledge. Cue the Raptors. Their current veteran guard, John Salmons, will almost 100% be bought out this offseason (clause in his contract). The team will need someone to fill his role- who better than the very man who established and made Toronto basketball relevant? It’s almost as if this reunion was destined to happen, especially with the purple coming back.
Keep in mind that this is not just speculation. The possibility of Carter’s return is explicitly addressed in the video above. It’s been nearly ten years since the former franchise leader was traded away in the infamous deal that left Toronto in pieces. The wounds have not fully healed. If Carter does indeed return to Toronto to finish full circle, he would definitely see an unusual reception. Would fans finally forgive him and restore their faith in ‘Vinsanity’? Or would the lasting pain overcome the forced nostalgia, and sour Carter’s final playing days? Given the mixed reaction from fans in his most recent visit to Toronto, this remains to be determined. While nothing is certain as of yet, there is an undeniable mutual interest that will serve as an interesting development in the coming months. The door is open for Mr. Air Canada to return, and time will tell if he decides to step back in.
Would you welcome back VC? Let us know down below.