Yesterday was dominated by the news that LeBron James was heading for the happy hunting grounds of the Cuyahoga, but another player also made a decision yesterday. Former North Carolina Tar Heel and Dunk Contest star Vince Carter decided he waited long enough to hear from the Dallas Mavericks and signed a contract from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Carter has proven to be a useful role player in his late thirties, providing shooting and still bringing enough of that brand of athleticism to remind us what Carter used to be. The Grizzlies will be paying him $12 million over three years to do just that.
Memphis had previously been trying to renegotiate a deal with Mike Miller, who had performed the shooter role off the bench last year. Those talks had been based on the idea that LeBron James would ultimately resign with Miami. Miller, who wanted to rejoin James, would have been prohibited from resigning with the Heat due to the fact that Miami had amnestied him the year before. With James on the Cavs, Miller can try to join the party line of folks who will try to end up in Cleveland. This also meant that Memphis needed a new offensive weapon off the bench.
Enter Vince Carter. While Carter had enjoyed his time in Dallas, he had heard little from the team as they pursued James and Carmelo. Carmelo Anthony has still not announced his decision, and the Mavericks offered an offer sheet to Chandler Parsons. Carter likely saw the deal that Memphis put before as the best one he would see. Waiting on Dallas might have made him the odd man out.
Ordinarily, watching a free agent that the Hornets demonstrated little interest in sign with a team in the other Conference would not bother me. However, I think Carter could have been a good mentor for PJ Hairston. The Hornets will be relying on Big Al, Kemba, and Gerald Henderson to keep PJ straight, but Vince has a level of experience they cannot match with a skill set that Hairston could recognize. At the moment, the Hornets are waiting on Gordon Hayward and their cap is stuck until he signs or returns to Utah.