In a story that should surprise no one, Vince Carter has been a complete disappointment since arriving in Orlando this offseason. Carter arrived from New Jersey in a June trade that sent Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston and Tony Battie out of Orlando and brought in Carter and Ryan Anderson.
The addition of Carter was expected to offset the loss of Hedo Turkoglu to free agency. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way.
So far the 32-year-old Carter is posting career lows in scoring (16.5 ppg), field goal percentage (38.4) and rebounds (4.4 rpg). He’s also shooting just 30.4 percent from behind the 3-point line, while his career average is 37.4 percent.
The Magic are still one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, but they’ve lost seven of their last 10 games and are currently a half-game behind Atlanta for the top spot in the Southeast division. That puts Orlando in fourth in the Eastern Conference, four and a half games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On top of all that, Carter is currently battling through a shoulder injury that will likely further diminish his statistics and playing time. When Orlando made the deal they thought they were getting a veteran who could fill it up and provide some occasional explosiveness. What they got was an aging, expensive, formerly explosive driver who has been reduced to a jump-shooter who can’t hit his jump shots. Carter is making $16.3 million this season and is scheduled to haul in $17.3 million next year.
Meanwhile, Courtney Lee – the centerpiece of the deal for the Nets – is a cheap, second-year player showing promise and some serious upside. Lee has started 29 games for the Nets and is averaging 11.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Those numbers are up from last year when he posted 8.4/2.3/1.2/1.0 averages in 77 games (42 starts). The Nets also saved $40 million by dumping Carter and both Alston and Battie – and their combined $16.5 million in contracts – will be off the books this coming summer.
The Magic are reportedly interested in swapping Carter for Houston’s Tracy McGrady but the likelihood of such a deal is remote at best. The Rockets don’t want to take on Carter’s deal, especially if they’d be getting a this version of Vince for their money.