Coming into the season we knew what to expect from Vince Carter. He already established himself as the Mavs' sixth man the prior season, after the departure of Jason Terry. With Devin Harris and DeJuan Blair joining the team and the return of Brandan Wright, Carter was expected to once again be the lead catalyst to one of the better benches in the league.
Due to Harris and Wright being sidelined with injuries and Jae Crowder and Blair not assuming prominent roles in the offense, Carter's season didn't start as smoothly as expected. He averaged just 10.5 points and shot an ugly 37.6% from the field during the fist 22 games of the season due to increased responsibilities and pressure to be the Mavs lone scoring punch off of the bench. He saw his numbers improve with Wright's return mid-December, averaging 12.5 points and shooting 44.3% from the field during the 18 game stretch.
From January 17 forward, we saw Carter play the role he now thrives in. With Harris healthy, Carter became a spot up 3-point threat as Harris took over the playmaking duties. For the final 41 games of the season, he averaged 12.5 points and shot a scorching 42.3% from three. As a whole, he played 81 games this season and averaged 11.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 39.8% from three.
In the seven game playoff series against the Spurs, Carter averaged 12.6 points and shot 48.4% from three. And of course, he'll always be remembered for hitting one of the biggest shots in Mavericks playoff history:
Like Shawn Marion and his fellow free agents (outside of Dirk Nowitzki), there is no clear guarantee that Carter will be back. That said, Dallas would have a hard time finding a capable replacement for their sixth man if they were to let him sign elsewhere.
With his ability to knock down the 3-point shot at a high clip, create for his teammates, and -- most importantly at his age -- stay healthy, he still can be a key piece to a contending team. But as we saw early this season, to expect him to be your lone bench threat isn't ideal due to his age and loss of explosiveness.
It won't come as a surprise to see plenty of contending teams lining up for his services, such as the Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and even the Miami Heat. But Vince has expressed an interest in staying in Dallas and it seems the feeling is mutual, so even if these great teams come calling, expect him to either end his career in Big-D or perhaps in Toronto, where Vinsanity began.
- Potential deal: 2 years, $6-8 million
- Chance he remains a Maverick: 80%